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Province announces strong intentions for Greater Golden Horseshoe: Strong follow-through now needed

For Immediate Release

Photo courtesy of Ontario Nature.

Mississauga, May 10, 2016 – The Ontario government released its draft amendments to the plans that protect the Greenbelt, Oak Ridges Moraine, and Niagara Escarpment, and guide growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH). These amendments are a promising move towards building ecological resiliency and healthy communities in an area under tremendous pressure from sprawling urban development. Bold leadership is now needed from the Province to quickly and decisively act on these good intentions.

In the face of climate change and a rapidly growing population, the government must defend water, nature and communities in the GGH so it remains ecologically viable and a great place to live. 

“We commend the Province for taking immediate steps towards growing our Greenbelt into 21 urban river valleys, their coastal wetlands and select water sources like Lake Gibson,” says Joyce Chau, Executive Director of EcoSpark. “To truly protect the region’s water, we are expecting swift action to ensure a bluebelt of vulnerable water supplies in the GGH, like the Oro Moraine, just north of Barrie, are added to the Greenbelt.”

Earthroots, EcoSpark, STORM and Ontario Nature have been leading voices for bluebelt and natural areas protection in the GGH. The partnership is calling for stronger protection of the region’s natural areas that, among other ecological services, support wildlife and buffer communities from the impacts of climate change. 


Les Stroud, "Survivorman", joins Earthroots council of patrons


Best known as the Canadian Screen Award winning producer, creator and star of the hit TV series Survivorman (OLN Canada, The Science Channel US, Discovery Channel International, City TV (Rogers) Canada), Les Stroud is the only producer in the history of television to produce an internationally broadcast series entirely written, videotaped and hosted alone. With Les known as the original genre creator of ‘Survival TV’, Survivorman is one of the highest rated shows in the history of OLN Canada, the Science Channel US and Discovery Channel US and remains the highest rated repeat show on the Discovery Channel. Survivorman is licensed for broadcast worldwide, with ratings in the US hitting 2 million on individual episodes. He has been nominated for 21 Canadian Screen Awards (formerly the Geminis) and has won for Best Writer (twice) and Best Photography.


Former Environment Commissioner elected Earthroots board chair

For Immediate Release


Long-serving Ontario Environment Commissioner Gord Miller has been elected to the board and elected chair of the board of Earthroots, the group championing Ontario’s old growth forests for three decades.

“"Earthroots has a long record of standing up for wilderness and fighting to protect our biodiversity. Their efforts have never been more needed in these trying times and I'm proud to contribute and build on all they have achieved,” Miller said.

"The recent threatened regressive wolf management policy which was withdrawn due to the efforts of Earthroots and others shows how critical it is support and maintain activist environmental NGOs like Earthroots,” the new chair said. Miller left the commissioner’s post in 2015 after 15 years as the Legislature’s independent environmental watchdog.

Also recently elected to the Earthroots board of directors are Rosseau eco-entrepreneur and ethicist Andrea Wilson who was elected vice-chair, Toronto environmental lawyer John Willms, and Toronto environmental consultant David Oved.

The new directors join Earthroots co-founder Hap Wilson and Greenpeace forest campaigner Catharine Grant on the board, and the staff headed by Amber Ellis, executive director. 

Earthroots wishes to thank its former chair, Clayton Ruby, for his nearly 20 years of service on our board.

Ontario Government Scraps Proposal to Increase Hunting of Wolves and Coyotes

For Immediate Release


Animal protection and conservation groups encourage responsible approach to wildlife management

TORONTO (April 6, 2016) – The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has scrapped a plan to allow increased killing of wolves and coyotes across the province. The poorly-conceived proposal was branded as an effort to protect moose populations, yet even the province’s own data showed that the indiscriminate killing of predators is not an effective wildlife management practice. 

A coalition of animal protection and conservation organizations in Ontario and across Canada worked to oppose this proposal. The coalition is comprised of: Animal Alliance of Canada, Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada, Born Free, Canadians for Bears, Coyote Watch CanadaEarthroots, Humane Society International/Canada, Wolf Awareness and Zoocheck. The groups released the following statements in response to the MNRF’s proposal:

"We welcome the Ontario government's decision to scrap their ill-advised proposal to increase the hunting of wolves and coyotes,” said Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager for HSI/Canada. “The Ontario public cares about animals, and it would be simply inexcusable to allow the indiscriminate killing of some of our most majestic wild animals at the behest of special interest groups. The best available science does not support scapegoating and targeting of a species to make up for wildlife and habitat mismanagement."


Great news for Ontario's wolves and coyotes!

Wolves the necessary predator

By Jim Moodie, The Sudbury Star, Friday, March 4, 2016

Rather than view wolves as the sort of fanged monsters depicted in European fairytales, Northern Ontarians should embrace them as subtle keepers of ecological balance.

That was the argument put forth Thursday night at a presentation hosted by the Sudbury Animal Rights Association titled Living With Wolves: Culls and Conservation.

"We shouldn't really fear that wolves will attack us, because it is so rare," said Hannah Barron, director of wildlife conservation campaigns with Earthroots. "There have only been two fatal attacks (in North America) in the past 120 years."

Indeed, more people in Canada have been killed by deer than by wolves.

Yet wolves are still demonized and scapegoated, she suggested, because they are misunderstood and represent "competition" by preying on many animals that humans also like to target as game.

"Hunters still want to kill a lot of moose, a lot of deer, and trappers still want to take a lot of beaver and make money from their pelts," she said. "So I would say that wolves in Ontario are generally managed as our competition."


Activists urge the Wynne government to rethink proposed changes to hunting laws involving wolves and coyotes.

Earthroots wildlife campaigner, Hannah Barron, speaks out against proposed changes to wolf hunting: CTV Northern ON news.



Mercury-blighted community of Grassy Narrows takes its case to the UN

By:  News, Published in the Toronto Star on Saturday, February 27, 2016

Delegation of indigenous Canadians presenting its case in Geneva for safe drinking water for community first poisoned in the 1960s.

Grassy Narrows River Run 2014, Toronto.  Photo credit: Earthroots


By any measure, it’s a long way from Grassy Narrows First Nation in northern Ontario to a United Nations proceeding in Geneva. But Judy Da Silva long ago proved she’ll go to any lengths for her people and the generations to come.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” said the 54-year-old mother of five, part of a delegation of indigenous Canadians making presentations to a UN committee this week.

“As the days went by, I started understanding how high that forum is! Our message came out really strong as the indigenous people.”

Da Silva took her community’s case for safe drinking water to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, arguing that Canada had violated those rights by failing to address mercury pollution in Grassy Narrows.

Canada signed the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1976. The UN monitors performance by summoning signatory nations for periodic review. Canada was last reviewed in 2006 and this year was up again.

It’s a long way to go for justice. And, since the mercury that poisoned Da Silva’s community was discharged into the English-Wabigoon River system from a pulp and paper mill a half-century ago, it’s a long time to wait.


For our Water – It’s time to protect Ontario’s Bluebelt!

By Joshua Wise, Ontario Nature

Cook’s Bay in Simcoe County, CREDIT: Joe Mabel

Cook’s Bay in Simcoe County, CREDIT: Joe Mabel


The momentum that’s building around growing the Greenbelt (#GrowOurGB) couldn’t come at a better time. The provincial government is currently discussing where and by how much our Greenbelt will grow.

Last week, I attended a meeting in Barrie where 150+ people had gathered to discuss Greenbelt growth in Simcoe County. The event,Bluebelt/Greenbelt: Simcoe’s Watershed Moment had a palpable energy as the newly formed Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition brought together community members, local experts, farmers and elected officials representing all levels of government. The motivating discussion focused on how the Greenbelt can help protect valuable water resources – a unifying issue for a community that is so deeply connected to Lake Simcoe.


Speak out against the war on Ontario's wolves and coyotes!

Public submissions are due Monday January 18th, 2016.  

It's easy to submit your comments - visit our action centre here.


Screen shot 2016-01-02 at 7.24.21 PM

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) initiated the Moose Project to address declines in Ontario’s moose population. 

On December 17th, 2015 MNRF put forward a proposal (EBR 012-6073) to weaken wolf and coyote protection.

Not only does this proposal fail to address moose declines, it continues to endanger at-risk eastern wolves living in central Ontario and encourages the unregulated slaughter of coyotes.

The proposed changes to wolf and coyote hunting regulations in Ontario lack scientific merit and serve to distract the public from the lack of concerted efforts to halt moose declines by prohibiting hunting until the reasons for the decline are fully understood.

Please visit our action centre and take a few minutes to comment on this important issue!


Ontario to join BC in trumping science with politics? The ‪War on Wolves‬ moves east.

There is no science to support that reducing the number of wolves in Ontario will boost moose populations.

Speak out for wolves!  You can comment on the ministry's amendment to wolf and coyote hunting regulations in Northern Ontario until Jan. 18, 2016.


Proposed wolf, coyote hunting rule changes may benefit moose population

CBC News

Wolf hunters in Northern Ontario are getting what some would consider a Christmas gift from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  

The ministry is proposing that wolves be legally hunted under a small game licence, removing the need for a game seal.

A spokesperson with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters told CBC News the move should make it easier for hunters to target the predator.

"They've eliminated the small financial burden that existed with respect to purchasing game seals, as well as some of the accessibility issues that are experienced in parts of northern Ontario, where a licence issuer could be hard to come by," Mark Ryckman said.

While OFAH supports the MNR proposal, as it should help control wolf predation on moose in the north, Ryckman said an annual harvest limit of two may not be enough to make an impact in areas of high wolf density.

"The idea is to create a benefit for moose populations, by reducing slightly [the] wolf populations in certain areas," he continued.

"Maintaining a two-wolf limit per hunter per year may not actually be sufficient to create a benefit for some moose populations."

But Ryckman concedes completely opening up the wolf and coyote harvest "would just look bad."

"It would seem like they (MNRF) don't care about wolves and coyotes," he said.

"That is not the case. I know they do manage them sustainably, and we support their management program in principle. There is certainly a concern about going too far."  

The MNRF says the proposed changes will not happen until 2017.

Click here to see the article and listen to the interview.


Crombie report hits the mark: Protect Ontario’s most vulnerable water resources

For Immediate Release

Environmental groups applaud Advisory Panel for strong stance on protecting the region’s water 


Toronto – Growing the Greenbelt into areas of critical ecological and hydrological significance were among key recommendations put forward by David Crombie, Chair of the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review Advisory Panel, this afternoon in their report “Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: 2015-2041.”

“We are thrilled to see that the Crombie Panel has recommended additional lands be added to the Greenbelt, focusing on vulnerable source water areas,” reported Joyce Chau, executive director of EcoSpark. “Ontarians were loud and clear that the protection of our water and natural systems needed to be elevated in areas beyond the Oak Ridges Moraine and adjoining the Greenbelt.”


Grassy Narrows First Nation marks 13 years as 'the voice of the forest'

Grassroots blockade against logging trucks north of Kenora, Ont. started on Dec. 2, 2002

By Jody Porter, CBC News

Grassy Narrows First Nation Deputy Chief Randy Fobister gives "great compliments" to the community organizers who have continued to turn away logging trucks since 2002.

Grassy Narrows First Nation Deputy Chief Randy Fobister gives "great compliments" to the community organizers who have continued to turn away logging trucks since 2002. (


In the beginning, Randy Fobister of Grassy Narrows First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, disagreed with community members who were stopping logging trucks from entering their traditional territory, but 13 years later the deputy chief says "it's really important the blockade is still there."

A community gathering was held on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the blockade that started on Dec. 2, 2002.

People continue to maintain the site and "protect the land", Fobister said, even as the community considers whether blockade is the appropriate term for what they're doing. He also balks at the word 'activism'.

"I think that word protectors, you know protectors of the land," is preferred," he said. "The forest doesn't have a voice, but First Nations people are the voice."

Read the full article on CBC here.