Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature and the David Suzuki Foundation

TORONTO – The Ontario government’s shocking and irresponsible proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act will effectively remove all safety nets for species at risk in this province. The proposal will give industry a free pass to exterminate species in Ontario.

This move is regressive and dangerous. The world is in a biodiversity crisis, and the Ontario government has proposed to gut one of the most comprehensive endangered species laws in the world. The province is bending to pressure from industry and sprawl developers when they should be working to restore and protect vulnerable habitats.

These changes propose to gut the cornerstones of the law that made species recovery and survival possible. Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature and the David Suzuki Foundation condemn these changes in the strongest possible terms, and call for on government to reconsider immediately.

We are especially concerned about the following proposed changes:

  • Species listed as threatened or endangered may no longer be automatically protected.
  • Changes to “edge of range” species means considering populations outside Ontario when listing a species at risk. This includes many Southern Ontarian species, allowing Ontario to simply opt out of protecting species at home.
  • Introducing a pay-to-proceed system on harmful activities: Developers and proponents should not be allowed to pay their way out of protecting endangered species’ habitats.
  • Opening the scientific committee to non-scientist members: This change could allow people with no knowledge or scientific background to be involved in decisions for species.
  • Giving the Minister the discretion to interfere with the listing of at risk species, bringing politics into the protection of endangered species.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Rachel Kitchin, Environmental Defence: rkitchin@environmentaldefence.ca

John Hassell, Ontario Nature: johnh@ontarionature.org

Stefanie Carmichael, David Suzuki Foundation: scarmichael@davidsuzuki.org,  @stefccarmichael


Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca) is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

Ontario Nature (www.ontarionature.org) protects wild species and wild spaces across the province through conservation, education and public engagement.

The David Suzuki Foundation (www.davidsuzuki.org) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, collaborating with all people in Canada, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through evidence-based research, public engagement and policy work. The Foundation operates in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.