Proposed Changes to the Endangered Species Act
The Ontario Farmland Trust is proud to support healthy habitats, biodiversity, and species at risk by permanently protecting farmland and associated natural features, including woodlots, wetlands, grasslands, and rivers. Our properties provide habitat for more than 17 species at risk.
We work hard to protect individual properties using Farmland Easement Agreements, but Ontario also needs strong policies to protect species at risk and their habitats throughout the province. Unfortunately, currently proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act could place these habitats at risk. Some of the proposed changes could:
- • Allow developers, municipalities, and industry to pay into a ‘Conservation Trust’ instead of fulfilling the requirements set out by the Act. This has been called a “pay to slay” proposal by many critics.
- • Open the species at risk assessment process for non-science-based decision making.
- • Suspend species at risk protection if the species is common outside of Ontario. This opens the door for extirpation within Ontario and the disruption of local ecosystems.
- • Introduce longer delays for the protection of new species. This includes increasing the length of time it takes for a new addition to the Species at Risk list to be protected from 3 months to 12 months.
Many of these changes could make it easier for development to occur on fragile and ecologically sensitive habitats. This includes areas that also provide other important services like flood management and carbon storage. That’s why protecting these habitats and the Endangered Species Act isn’t just important for species at risk, but all Ontarians.
If this issue is important to you, we encourage you to:
- • learn more from other conservation organizations. For example, Ontario Nature has a great summary of their specific concerns: https://ontarionature.org/endangered-species-act-review-top-ten/
- • call your MPP
- • provide commentary about these proposed changes at: https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/013-5033 – commentary is due by May 18th