No time for delay amid mass extinction
‘Ford’s Ontario government is now proposing to further delay protections for another two years. During this time, activities harmful to the species and its habitat would be allowed to occur, without legal repercussions.’
A Call-Out to All of Us from Ontario Nature, a province-wide public advocacy group for our natural heritage
Posted October 28th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
A year ago, in October 2020, the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) determined that black ash was endangered in Ontario.
Yet the species and its habitat are not yet protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act (ESA). Worse, the provincial government is now proposing to further delay protections for another two years. During this time, activities harmful to the species and its habitat would be allowed to occur, without legal repercussions.
Contrary to the claims of the (Ontario) Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) the delay is not needed to gather more information about threats to the species. In fact, these threats are already well understood and documented by scientific bodies such as COSSARO and the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
MECP’s pretence that more time is needed to consider the “significant” social and economic impacts of protecting Black Ash is also unfounded. Overall benefit permits, agreements and regulatory exemptions already provide ample flexibility. Forestry operations in managed Crown forests are entirely exempt from ESA requirements.
Black ash should benefit from the full protection of the law, without further delay. Here are some reasons why:
- Globally, black ash is critically endangered. Since at least 25 percent of the species’ global range is in Ontario, we have a significant conservation responsibility (COSSARO, p.3).
- Black ash is a culturally significant species for many Indigenous Peoples.
- Delay would create a perverse incentive for destruction: development proponents wishing to avoid meeting ESA requirements would have two more years to cut down trees and destroy habitats (primarily in wetlands) with impunity.
We invite you to join Ontario Nature in urging MECP to fully protect black ash and its habitat without further delay. Please sign and, if possible, personalize the letter provided to Minister Piccini, your local MPP and the Public Input Coordinator at MECP. The deadline for comment is November 7, 2020 (ERO # 019-4278).
Sincerely, Ontario Nature
To find out more about sending a letter of concern to representatives of the Ford government, click on – https://ontarionature.good.do/blackashprotection/email/
About Ontario Nature – Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Ontario Nature is a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members and supporters, and 155 member groups across Ontario.
For more information about Ontario Nature, visit ontarionature.org.
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