Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

September 11, 2007 10:25 ET

Union Urges Politicians to "Save the MNR" as Stats Show Collapse of Fish and Game Enforcement

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 11, 2007) - The union representing most staff at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is urging politicians to "Save the MNR" following the release of statistics that show enforcement of fish and game laws collapsed last year.

"The sharp drop in fish and game enforcement last year is symptomatic of a larger funding crisis that extends right across the MNR," said Smokey Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. "With the meager budget it has, the ministry can no longer perform its core functions of protecting and managing the lands, forests, and lakes that make up most of Ontario.

"We're calling on politicians of every stripe to make serious, specific, long-term funding commitments so the MNR can do what Ontarians expect it to do."

Figures obtained through Freedom of Information show a 30 per cent reduction in the number of fish and wildlife charges laid, a 36 per cent reduction in the number of convictions, and a 39 per cent reduction in the dollar value of fines paid for fish and game violations.

The statistics also show a 40 per cent drop in the number of completed charges as more and more cases become backlogged.

"Last year was basically a field day for poachers," said Thomas. "In most districts Conservation Officers didn't even have enough money to buy gas to do regular patrols."

To view the MNR enforcement statistics, visit www.opseu.org/campaign/savemnr/stats.pdf. For more information on the union's campaign to rebuild the Ministry of Natural Resources, visit www.savethemnr.ca. To read Doing Less with Less, the Environment Commissioner of Ontario's 2007 report on MNR and Ministry of Environment funding, visit www.eco.on.ca.

Contact Information

    Randy Robinson
    (416) 448-7441 or cell (416) 788-9134