TORONTO – Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) will begin providing public updates on progress made in developing recovery strategies for dozens of at-risk species, the Ministry announced alongside Ecojustice and Animal Justice today.
The quarterly updates will be made publicly available on the Ontario.ca website and will provide information on progress towards developing recovery strategies for 37 at-risk species, including the northern bobwhite, black redhorse, gypsy cuckoo bumble bee, Kentucky coffee-tree, and other mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and plants.
The move comes as a result of settlement negotiations between Animal Justice (represented by lawyers from Ecojustice) and the Ministry, arising out of an application for judicial review brought by Animal Justice.
The application sought to ensure that the Ministry created and released recovery strategies for at-risk species, as called for by Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007.
Pursuant to the settlement, Animal Justice and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have agreed that the Ministry will create and release a timetable forecasting steps for the development of recovery strategies for the 37 species at risk named in the application.
The timetable will be updated every calendar quarter with information reflecting the latest progress made in developing recovery strategies for the 37 species at risk.
Recovery strategies provide scientific advice on how to ensure that healthy numbers of each species return to Ontario.
Animal Justice and the MNRF share a commitment to the effective implementation of the Endangered Species Act, 2007.
- Coming into force in 2008, Ontario’s Endangered Species Act will mark its 10th anniversary this year
- Under the Act, species can be listed as “endangered, threatened, special concern or extirpated”
- Under section 11 of the Act, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry shall ensure that recovery strategies are prepared within one year from the time of listing for an endangered species, and within two years for threatened species, except as provided for under the Act
- There is on-going collaboration between Ontario and the federal government in the development of recovery strategies
- To-date, Ontario has published recovery strategies for 127 species at risk. 37 recovery strategies remained to be published at the time of the application
- Recovery Strategy development progress tracking table: www.ontario.ca/page/how-species-risk-are-protected#progress
- Ontario Species at Risk website: www.ontario.ca/speciesatrisk
- The Endangered Species Act, 2007: www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_07e06_e.htm
Nathalie Des Rosiers, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry said:
“I am pleased that Ontario will be enhancing transparency and sharing public updates on our collaboration with federal partners to complete recovery strategies for these 37 species. I am proud of my ministry’s ongoing commitment to protecting species at risk, and the many accomplishments that it has made in implementing the Endangered Species Act, 2007 including completing recovery strategies for 127 species at risk.”
Camille Labchuk, Animal Justice executive director said:
“As the Endangered Species Act itself recognizes, species of animals, plants and other organisms are being lost throughout the world at an alarming rate due to human activities. Animal Justice applauds the Ministry’s commitment to transparency in the development of recovery strategies, which are critical to healthy wild animal and plant populations in Ontario. It is more important than ever before for Ontario to do our part to protect vulnerable animals and other species from disappearing forever.”
Amir Attaran and Josh Ginsberg, lawyers with Ecojustice’s Law Clinic at the University of Ottawa said:
“We applaud the Ministry’s move towards greater transparency in its efforts to protect species in Ontario. The quarterly updates will be an important tool for the public, organizations like Ecojustice and Animal Justice, and for the Ministry to continue working collaboratively to ensure the recovery of these 37 species.”