Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Ontario Forest Industry Association, Ontario Fur Managers

April 03, 2007 15:14 ET


Attention: Environment Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor, Science Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor ONTARIO: JOINT MEDIA RELEASE/--(CCNMatthews - April 3, 2007) - Resource groups across Ontario are warning that the provincial Liberal government is carelessly fast-tracking Endangered Species legislation that it knows will be a bureaucratic nightmare, expensive to implement and unlikely to result in the recovery of species at risk. In doing so, they are poised to duplicate mistakes made by the Chretien government by ignoring the results of an independent audit of the national Species at Risk Act (SARA). The significant findings of the audit appear not to have informed the development of the provincial legislation despite years of experience with the federal Act. This is compounded by the apparent failure to provide the Minister of Natural Resources, with a copy of the audit, by a failure to share the audit with major stakeholders and by the very fact that it was the stakeholders themselves who unearthed the audit.

The independent audit, conducted by Stratos Inc. for the federal Department of the Environment, criticized the federal government for passing a bill that is chronically under funded, overly prescriptive and badly misdirected. By emulating the federal act, the province is set to compound federal mistakes, using the same flawed principles identified by the audit and magnifying these mistakes by adding additional layers to their legislation.

Other flaws identified in the federal legislation include insufficient science and monitoring; significant delays in developing policy to support implementation of the Act; limited aboriginal involvement; a lack of awareness of species of risk by key operational staff and managers, and a critical lack of funding. By failing to correct federal mistakes, adding additional requirements not covered by SARA and failing to listen to concerns raised by major stakeholders in all resource sectors, the province is setting itself up for failure.

From 2000 through 2005, the federal government spent over $200 million on their National Strategy on Species at Risk. The recent budget added an additional $110 million over two years, but the total funding is still less than 60 per cent of the minimum needed by core departments. In contrast, the province only allocated $4.5 million per year for the next four years in support of the 184 species named under the Act.

As a result of the audit, the federal government has acted to address the recommendations. Key among their responses is acknowledgement that the "species-by-species" approach must be changed to incorporate a systematic ecosystem approach and that socio-economic factors must be incorporated into the listing and recovery planning process. Despite this, the province has failed to consider the findings and federal response into their planning process, threatening to replicate mistakes already made and identified.

The questions remain: Why has the McGuinty government ignored the conclusions and recommendations of the independent audit of SARA? Why won't the McGuinty government stop trying to ram through the legislation instead of slowing down the process and listening to constructive suggestions for change from major stakeholders through extensive consultation and a full slate of committee hearings? Why is the McGuinty government ignoring numerous municipalities who are demanding that the legislation be stopped until they have been consulted?

For more information on the independent audit of the federal act go to: www.ec.gc.ca/ae-ve.

Michael A. Reader, Executive Director
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Jamie Lim, President
Ontario Forest Industries Association

Conrad Morin, President
Ontario Fur Managers Federation

Adrianna Stech, Manager
Environment and Sustainability
Ontario Mining Association

Neil Rodgers, Vice-President
Toronto Home Builders Association
Urban Development Institute

Paul Norris, President
Ontario Waterpower Association

-30- /For further information: Greg Farrant
O.F.A.H. Government Relations Manager
(705) 748-6324

Contact Information

  • Dr. Terry Quinney, O.F.A.H. Provincial Manager Fish and Wildlife Services, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
    Primary Phone: 705-748-6324
    Secondary Phone: 705-748-6324 ext. 242
    E-mail: terry_quinney@ofah.org