TORONTO | TRADITIONAL TERRITORY OF THE MISSISSAUGAS OF THE CREDIT, ANISHNABEG, CHIPPEWA, HAUDENSOAUNEE AND WENDAT PEOPLES — Today, the federal and Ontario governments released a progress report on caribou recovery in the province.  

This follows on the heels of federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault’s assessment that the province wasn’t effectively protecting caribou habitat and the April 2024 deadline given to the province to align its policy with recovery measures outlined in the federal caribou recovery strategy.  

Commenting on the findings, Rachel Plotkin, Boreal Project Manager with the David Suzuki Foundation, said:  

“The fed-provincial report is an example of death by process. Caribou are one of the most studied animals in Canada, and the science that details what they need to recover has been available since 2008. Reporting that ‘Progress has been made on designing an approach to develop a Boreal Caribou science plan’ is absurd, as we know what caribou need: on-the-ground habitat protection and restoration, steps neither of which have been taken by the province. In terms of forest management, there’s no way that Ontario’s caribou recovery measures can be said to meet federal Species at Risk Act conditions until Ontario puts limits on the extent of the forestry footprint within caribou ranges. The province’s solutions must match the scale of this long-standing ecological crisis.” 

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For more information or a media interview, please contact: 

Kate Kourtsidis,, 613-806-8184 

Notes to editors: 

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada identified that a minimum threshold of 65 per cent of undisturbed boreal caribou range is needed for local populations to have a 60 per cent chance to be self-sustaining. 
  • The federal government mandated that Ontario illustrate how its caribou recovery policy measures are equivalent to those under the Species at Risk Act. 
  • A recent federal progress report on implementation of the federal boreal caribou recovery strategy found (page 83) that Ontario: 
    • Has developed an “alternative approach” to range planning that is described as policies from 2009 and 2014 that “support” the implementation of a range management approach — even if they do not achieve it. 
    • Does not set a goal to maintain or achieve an explicit, range-scale minimum threshold of undisturbed habitat. 
    • Does not include habitat-restoration strategies. 
    • Does not include range-level projected disturbance levels (i.e., if/how undisturbed habitat will be maintained).