This website uses cookies. If you continue to use the site you accept their use. Learn more ×

Protect species at risk while strengthening the forest industry

Protect species at risk while strengthening the forest industry

During the slowdown associated with COVID-19 restrictions, we have seen many species re-inhabiting spaces from which people thought they had disappeared. Nature’s adaptation to a world where humans have taken our collective foot off the pedal for a few months has been astonishing. As Ontario rises out of this crisis, all levels of government must put the health of the planet, people and the economy at the forefront.

In January, we reached out to our Nature Network of more than 150 groups asking them to reject the Government of Ontario’s proposal to permanently exempt the forestry industry from ...

During the slowdown associated with COVID-19 restrictions, we have seen many species re-inhabiting spaces from which people thought they had disappeared. Nature’s adaptation to a world where humans have taken our collective foot off the pedal for a few months has been astonishing. As Ontario rises out of this crisis, all levels of government must put the health of the planet, people and the economy at the forefront.

In January, we reached out to our Nature Network of more than 150 groups asking them to reject the Government of Ontario’s proposal to permanently exempt the forestry industry from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). At that time, the Province proposed a ‘long-term’ approach to ‘cut red tape’, claiming that the Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA) – the law that governs industrial logging – provided all that was needed to protect species at risk from the negative impacts of forestry.

Ontario Nature disagrees. By not requiring that forest management provide an overall benefit for species at risk, the CFSA fails to support species’ recovery. In contrast, the ESA provides a much higher level of protection for species at risk and their habitats as well as the highest level of certainty for the forestry sector – with the least amount of duplication.

The proposal to use the CFSA instead of the ESA to protect species at risk has not yet passed, and the details about this long-term approach have not been released. In the interim, the government is proposing to extend the existing regulation that exempts forestry operations from ESA requirements. If it so chose, the government could use the proposed extension to do better and actually ensure that its “long-term approach”, including amendments to the CFSA and its regulations, supports the recovery of species at risk.

The opportunity is there. The government has acknowledged that there is a massive surplus in wood supply. Only about half of the forest that can be cut is being logged, and the level of harvest has been that low for over a decade. This means there is plenty of room to both better protect and recover species at risk, and strengthen the forest industry.

With the support of all political parties, the Government of Ontario passed the ESA in 2007 to protect species at risk and advance their recovery. We must not abandon this goal. Please join us in envisioning and demanding an approach to forestry that adequately addresses the crisis of ongoing biodiversity loss.

Together let’s call on the Government of Ontario to use this time wisely by meaningfully consulting with scientific and Indigenous knowledge experts and making amendments to the CFSA that support the recovery of species at risk.

Speak up for at-risk plants and animals by signing our Action Alert by June 18, 2020.

+

Call on the Government of Ontario to meaningfully consult with scientific and Indigenous knowledge experts to support the recovery of species at risk

  • Hon. Jeff Yurek, Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
  • Hon. John Yakabuski, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • Fiona McGuiness, Senior Policy Advisor, Species Conservation Policy Branch, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • Your local MPP

Compose your email

Email Tips +

Please personalize your email with any anecdotes or other information that you think will be impactful.