Selected Recommendations of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Relevant to Biodiversity Protection

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In January, 2012, the ECO released this special report, Biodiversity: A Nation’s Commitment, an Obligation for Ontario.. Click here for more information or to download this report.
Ontario's Duty to Conserve Biodiversity

Where we Stand in 2012
Ontario’s Biodiversity and the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993

The Role of Provincial Ministries
Conclusion

Appendix 1: Strategic Goals and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets
Appendix 2: The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s Reporting on Biodiversity
Appendix 3: Selected Recommendations of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Relevant to Biodiversity Protection



In every Annual Report, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) makes several recommendations to ministries based on that year’s content. Government ministries have taken action on some of the following ECO recommendations. For more information, please see the ECO’s annual and special reports, available on this site or at www.eco.on.ca.

Government Responsibility & Funding
2009/2010 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) lead the development of a new and reconceived biodiversity strategy for the Ontario government.
2007/2008 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that all prescribed ministries develop detailed action plans that specify the measures to conserve biodiversity that they will undertake.
2007 ECO Special Report In consultation with the ministries and the public, the Ontario government should:
  1. Undertake a step-wise, strategic rebuilding of capacity at the Ministry of the Environment (MOE and MNR, to ensure that the ministries can fulfill their mandates.
  2. Develop planning, priority-setting and budgeting processes to ensure that MOE and MNR are adequately equipped to:
      • know the overall state/health of Ontario’s natural environment;
      • know when degradation or impairment of the environment is imminent;
      • take action to prevent, mitigate or manage existing or imminent substantive degradation or impairment;
      • set rules and procedures governing human activities that are sufficient to protect the environment; and
      • know where rules and procedures are not being complied with, and take measures to achieve compliance.
  1. Direct MOE and MNR to undertake a third party evaluation of the adequacy and distribution of technical and science expertise within their agencies.
2001/2002 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that the MNR develop a provincial biodiversity strategy in consultation with affected ministries, municipalities and stakeholders.


Planning for Biodiversity
2010/2011 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR develop a coarse-scale, overarching natural heritage system for southern Ontario.
2009/2010 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) amend the Provincial Policy Statement to require that the longterm ecological function and biodiversity of natural heritage systems are maintained.
2007/2008 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO)collaborate to monitor wildlife crossings on existing roads to determine where mitigation is required and to work together early in the road planning process to identify areas where wildlife passages will be necessary.
2005/2006 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR, MOE , the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM), and the Ministry of Energy (MOE) consult the public on an integrated land use planning system for the northern boreal forest, including detailed environmental protection requirements that reflect the area’s unique ecology.
2004/2005 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR and MM AH develop a coordinated urban forest strategy to protect urban and heritage trees, working together with municipalities, ENGO s and local agencies.
2003/2004 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR develop policies, plans and targets for conserving old growth forests in southern Ontario.
2000/2001 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that the ministries assist municipalities to ensure that ecosystem fragmentation is adequately considered in land use planning decisions and that provincial interests in protecting natural heritage and functioning forest ecosystems are safeguarded.
2000/2001 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR, MMAH and MOE research the scope of ecosystem fragmentation in Ontario and evaluate and select management options to slow down or even reverse the trend.
2000/2001 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MOE and MNR ensure that provincial decision makers have information on the health of ecosystems which is current and of a sufficient quality to permit the development of scientifically defensible rationales for habitat protection activities and to allow the identification of emerging ecological problems.


Protecting Ecosystems & Species Diversity
2010/2011 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR ensure that government response statements clearly articulate the actions that the Ontario government will and will not take to protect and recover species at risk.
2010/2011 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that the government ban the hunting and trapping, except by First Nations and Aboriginal peoples, of species at risk in all protected areas.
2009/2010 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR complete the necessary policy framework to support the Endangered Species Act, 2007, with the required public consultation.
2009/2010 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR ensure that caribou habitat be a prime consideration in how and where it plans to protect 50 per cent of lands in the Far North.
2009 ECO Special Report The ECO recommends that the Government of Ontario establish a statutory responsibility for monitoring and reporting on the state of the province’s biodiversity.
2008/2009 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR develop and lead a coordinated interministerial plan to protect and conserve amphibian populations, reflecting the full range of threats and challenges.
2008/2009 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR ensure that the first priority of the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act—ecological integrity—is also clearly reflected and prioritized in all policies, manuals and guidance documents that influence the planning and management of Ontario’s protected areas.
2007/2008 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR ensure that its wildlife management policies and models appropriately reflect the role of mammalian predators in ecosystems.
2002/2003 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR create a new legislative, regulatory and policy framework to better protect Ontario’s species at risk and to conform with federal legislation.
2001/2002 ECO Annual Report The ECO recommends that MNR create a new legislative framework for provincial parks and protected areas, including conservation reserves, with the mandate of conserving biodiversity.



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