Ford Government Giving Developers Free Pass to Exterminate Wildlife in Ontario

“This move is regressive and dangerous. The world is in a biodiversity crisis, and the Ontario government has proposed to gut one of the most comprehensive endangered species laws in the world.” – from a statement by three of Canada’s leading environmental organizations

Ontario Nature file photo

A Statement from Ontario Nature , Environmental Defence of Canada and the David Suzuki Foundation

Posted April 19th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Nature file photo

Toronto, Ontario – The Ontario government’s shocking and irresponsible proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act will effectively remove all safety nets for species at risk in this province. The proposal will give industry a free pass to exterminate species in Ontario.

This move is regressive and dangerous. The world is in a biodiversity crisis, and the Ontario government has proposed to gut one of the most comprehensive endangered species laws in the world. The province is bending to pressure from industry and sprawl developers when they should be working to restore and protect vulnerable habitats.

These changes propose to gut the cornerstones of the law that made species recovery and survival possible. Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature and the David Suzuki Foundation condemn these changes in the strongest possible terms, and call for the Government to reconsider immediately.

We are especially concerned about the proposed changes following:

  • Species listed as threatened or endangered may no longer be automatically protected
  • Changes to “edge of range” species means considering populations outside of Ontario when listing a species at risk. This includes many Southern Ontarian species, allowing Ontario to simply opt out of protecting species at home.
  • Introducing pay-to-proceed system on harmful activities. Developers and proponents should not be allowed to pay their way out of protecting endangered species’ habitats.
  • Opening the scientific committee to non-scientist members. This change could allow people with no knowledge or scientific background to be involved in decisions for species.
  • Giving the Minister the discretion to interfere with the listing of at risk species, bringing politics into the protection of endangered species.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

About ONTARIO NATURE (www.ontarionature.org): Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces across the province through conservation, education and public engagement.

About DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION: The David Suzuki Foundation (www.davidsuzuki.org) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, collaborating with all people in Canada, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through evidence-based research, public engagement and policy work. The Foundation operates in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

To read another statement that Niagara At Large posted on this move to weak endangered species protection in Ontario, click on https://niagaraatlarge.com/2019/04/19/ford-government-moving-to-wave-ontarios-endangered-species-protection-laws-for-developers/ .

The Waverly Woods in Fort Erie, where there are plans for urban development, hosts a diversity of wildlife, including redheaded woodpeckers which are struggling to hang on in Ontario.

To read and sign a recent appeal and petition from Fort Erie residents to save endangered species in the Waverly Beach and Forest area (an area now targetted for development) in that Niagara municipality, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2019/04/12/sign-a-petition-to-save-threatened-wildlife-and-waverly-woods-in-fort-erie-niagara/ .

For more on this issue, click on – https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/04/18/news/ontario-may-let-developers-pay-fee-lieu-onerous-endangered-species-act-protections

For information on species at risk in Ontario, click on – https://www.ontario.ca/page/species-risk-ontario .

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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