Category:Species at Risk
This loss of Ontario's biodiversity is part of a global environmental crisis. The most significant causes for the loss of biodiversity are habitat alteration and loss, climate change, invasive alien species, overexploitation, and pollution. In Ontario, scores of species are in jeopardy and face imminent extinction or extirpation.
The state of Ontario’s species at risk has worsened in recent decades. Increases in the number of species at risk are based on observable declines in population levels, and a more thorough understanding of the actual state of species. There are now more than 200 species designated as extirpated, endangered, threatened, or of special concern. At least six species native to Ontario are known to have become in modern times. Further, there are more than 1,500 species being tracked by MNR’s Natural Heritage Information Centre that have not yet been formally assessed for their at-risk status in Ontario.
The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has the lead role in protecting and recovering Ontario’s species at risk. The ministry also manages the province’s protected areas, forests, fisheries, wildlife, and the 87 per cent of the province that consists of Crown lands. MNR’s strategic mission is “to manage our natural resources in an ecologically sustainable way to ensure that they are available for the enjoyment and use of future generations. The ministry is committed to conserving biodiversity and using natural resources in a sustainable manner.”
The Ontario government enacted its original Endangered Species Act in 1971. This law was ground-breaking in its day, but failed to keep pace with advancements in public policy and science. This statute was barely over a page long and contained only six sections. The old law initially regulated only four species, and by 2008 just 42 species were covered.
The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) has long called for stronger legal protection and better conservation measures for Ontario’s species at risk. The need for reforming the Endangered Species Act has been covered in six separate Annual Reports tabled before the Ontario Legislature. It has been the subject of three separate applications under the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993, each of which was denied by the government of the day. Based on these concerns, the ECO recommended in our 2002/2003 Annual Report that “the Ministry of Natural Resources create a new legislative, regulatory and policy framework to better protect Ontario’s species at risk and to conform with federal legislation.”
In June 2008, Ontario’s new Endangered Species Act, 2007 came into force. The Ontario government introduced this new law with the goal of becoming a world leader in the protection and recovery of species at risk. The ECO assessed this new law, concluding that the province’s new framework for protecting at-risk species is a vast improvement over the previous law and related policies. However, the new framework contains provisions that, if inappropriately exercised, could lead to the continued imperilment of many of Ontario’s most vulnerable species.
In March 2009, the ECO tabled a Special Report to the Ontario legislature assessing the government’s actions related to species at risk: The Last Line of Defence: A Review of Ontario’s New Protections for Species at Risk.
Overview of the Endangered Species Act
Listing and Classifying Species at Risk
Recovery Planning and Government Response Statements
Protections, Prohibitions, and Habitat Regulation
Permits, Agreements, and Instruments
Pages in category "Species at Risk"
The following 54 pages are in this category, out of 54 total.