Read the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s full report or executive summary
Everyone should know about, and at least occasionally refer to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s annual report.
This year she touches on eight main topics, all of which are important. Among them are the following:
The Ministry of Natural Resources and forestry’s rating is unacceptable or deficient in 5 of 8 categories. Do not our readers think that the Ministry should achieve better?
Much is made of deplorable conditions often endured by indigenous communities: “Governments and industry have long failed to remedy environmental issues that adversely affect the health, ecology and economies of Indigenous communities across Ontario.” Recommendations are made.
“Algae blooms – thick, soupy scums of algae – are becoming much more frequent and wide-spread, and are imposing serious costs on Ontario communities.” Again, recommendations are made.
“Protected areas, like provincial parks, are one of the most important tools for safeguarding nature. They conserve biodiversity, help us mitigate and adapt to climate change, provide ecosystem services that humans rely on, and offer social, economic and cultural benefits. Because of their critical role in combatting global biodiversity loss, almost all countries in the world, including Canada, have committed to protect 17% of lands and inland waters by 2020. Ontario still has a long way to go to reach this goal; protected areas currently cover only 10.7% of the province.” Read more about this shortfall and the need to correct it.”
The province is failing its legal requirement to protect endangered species: “The MNRF has never denied a permit to harm a threatened or endangered species. And, the permit-by-rule system only requires proponents to minimize (not eliminate or compensate for) harm to affected species at risk; the MNRF also turns a blind eye to whether proponents comply with these weakened rules.”
The Algonquin Wolf is one of these species: “The Algonquin wolf is a distinct species native to Ontario, listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. There may be as few as 250 mature Algonquin wolves (also known as eastern wolves) remaining, with about two-thirds living within our province. Although the law prohibits killing or harming the Algonquin wolf, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry allows hunting and trapping of this threatened species to continue throughout much of its range; the ministry decided to only protect Algonquin wolves from hunting and trapping in and around a few isolated provincial parks. The Algonquin wolf stands little chance of recovery unless it is better protected.”