Another Appeal to Save Our Conservation Authorities from a Group of Canada’s Top Environmental Lawyers

“We hope (the Ford Government) will listen to the chorus of voices asking them to protect the vital role of conservation authorities in Ontario”                                                                                     – April Weppler, Canadian Environmental Law Association

A Message from the Canadian Environmental Law Association

Posted November 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Dear Fellow Ontarians

Thank you for your continued support for conservation authorities. We promised you an update on the province’s omnibus budget measures Bill 229 that is threatening Conservation Authorities, and here it is – the government is fast-tracking passage of Bill 229.

The Ford government’s legislation would purge Conservation Authorities across the province, including our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in this region, of citizen voices on its board of directors. Ford is moving to block citizens from sitting on these boards. His pals in the development community don’t want citizens to have a say.

Through a time-allocation motion that passed Monday, the government has sent the Bill to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs for an expedited review (https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/committees/finance-economic-affairs/parliament-42/notice-hearings/2020-nov-23-notice-hearings-standing-committee-finance-economic-affairs) .  While the timelines are very tight, there is a small window for public comment, through both in-person presentations and written submissions.

Public hearings will take place from November 30 – Dec 2. CELA, along with a number of other environmental organizations, have requested and been granted the opportunity to speak to the Standing Committee.

Written comments can be submitted to, click on –  (https://www.ola.org/en/apply-committeesup until 7pm on Wednesday, December 2.

(For the most impact, send a copy of your completed written submission by email to Minister Phillips (mailto:rod.phillipsco@pc.ola.org) and Premier Ford (mailto:doug.fordco@pc.ola.org) )

CELA has prepared a written submission (https://cela.ca/bill-229-written-submission/) , and we encourage you to use it and share it.

In our submission, we strongly recommend that Schedule 6 (proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and consequential amendments) and Schedule 8 (proposed changes to the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994) be withdrawn in their entirety from Bill 229.

Following the public hearings next week, the Standing Committee will report the bill back, with any amendments, to the Legislature for third reading.  We hope they will listen to the chorus of voices asking them to protect the vital role of conservation authorities in Ontario.

  • Sincerely, April Weppler,Engagement Coordinator, Healthy Great Lakes, Canadian Environmental Law Association

P.S.  If you haven’t already, it is critically important that you get in touch with your local MPP and voice your objection to this Bill.  You can do so through the action tools on Environmental Defence’s website (https://environmentaldefence.ca/newmode/conservation-authorities-need-help/)  or Ontario Nature’s action page (https://ontarionature.good.do/conservationauthorities/send/) .

** Twitter (https://twitter.com/CanEnvLawAssn)

** Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/CanadianEnvironmentalLawAssociation)

** Website (http://www.cela.ca/)

About the Canadian Environmental Laow Association – CELA is a specialty legal clinic within the Ontario-wide network of clinics funded by Legal Aid Ontario. We provide free legal services to people and groups across Ontario that qualify for legal aid.

We work to protect human health and our environment by seeking justice for those harmed by pollution and by working to change policies to prevent such problems in the first place.  As a Legal Aid Clinic our top priority is to represent low income individuals and communities and to speak out for those with less influence and who receive less of a say in decision-making.

Through landmark legal cases CELA has helped shape government and industry approaches to pollution and other environmental threats and has forced polluters to clean up their act. Our Public Legal Education efforts help to explain the law and citizen environmental rights in Ontario.

To learn  more about  this issue, from news and commentary posted on Niagara At Large over the past number of days and weeks, here are some links you can click on – 

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/18/auditor-generals-report-confirms-ford-toies-will-to-destroy-climate-as-a-favour-to-their-insiders/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/13/action-alert-we-need-our-conservation-authorities/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/14/changes-to-ontarios-conservation-authority-act-will-impact-npca-watershed-protection-programs-in-niagara/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/16/niagara-centre-mpp-expresses-outrage-over-ford-tories-plans-to-gut-ontarios-conservation-authorities/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/12/ontarios-ford-government-is-moving-to-gut-conservation-authorities/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/10/ford-governments-changes-to-conservation-authorities-act-trigger-red-flags-for-conservation-ontario/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/09/ontarios-ford-government-making-disastrous-changes-to-provinces-conservation-act/

For more on the Canadian Environmental Law Association and its environmental protection work, click on – https://cela.ca/ .

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 Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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