Latest News

Liberal government’s changes ‘undermined’ Endangered Species Act

 Queen's Park Bureau, The Star

Ontario's environmental watchdog warns endangered species at risk because of changes made by minority Liberal government


Endangered species such as the grey fox and dwarf iris are at greater risk because of changes Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government made behind closed doors, Ontario’s environmental commissioner warned Wednesday.

By revising regulations to grant “broad exemptions” on requirements for land development permits last July, the province “undermined” its widely hailed Endangered Species Act passed in 2007, Gord Miller said in a new report.

Read the full article here.

Grassy Narrows First Nation’s anti-logging battle with province heats up

Donovan Vincent, The Star

Grassy Narrows' Chief and council members tell the Toronto Star's editorial board they're girding for battle against Ontario's forestry plan.


Members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation say Ontario’s logging plans would adversely affect forests in their community and worsen the mercury poisoning issues residents have been grappling with for decades.

Chief Simon Fobister, “clan mother’’ Judith Da Silva, and band councillor Rudy Turtle met with the Toronto Star’s editorial board Wednesday and spoke out against the province’s long-term forest management plan for their area.

Read the full article here.

Grassy Narrows rejects Forest Management Plan for the Whiskey Jack Forest 2012 – 2022 on the basis of failure to consult and infringes on Aboriginal and Treaty Rights


Today Grassy Narrows Chief and Council sent an open letter to Premier Wynne rejecting Ontario's Forestry Management Plan 2012 - 2022 for another decade of clear-cut logging on Grassy Narrows Territory.  The Forest Management plan for the Whiskey Jack Forest 2012-2022 is in the final stages of approval and is currently posted for public comment.   

The plan sets out a schedule to clear-cut much of what little mature forest remains on Grassy Narrows Territory after decades of large scale industrial logging.  This will further erode the Aboriginal, Treaty Rights and the ability of the community to sustain their families and to practice their culture through fishing, hunting, trapping, medicine harvesting, ceremony and healing for all generations.

"Premier Wynne, it is within your power to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated at the expense of another generation of Grassy Narrows children," said Grassy Narrows Chief Simon Fobister.  "I call on you to ensure that never again will Ontario attempt to force decisions on our people and our lands."


More than one million Ontarians call for an end to unwanted logging in Grassy Narrows


Premier Wynne does not respond to request for dialogue with civil society groups

Toronto - Organizations representing more than one million people across Ontario are calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to a make a clear and unequivocal commitment that the province will respect the wishes of the people of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) that no new logging permits be issued in their traditional territory. 

The province is currently engaged in five year long talks with Grassy Narrows over the management of their traditional lands in the Whiskey Jack forest, north of Kenora. Last year, while the talks were in progress, the Ministry of Natural Resources unilaterally adopted a ten year forest management direction for Grassy Narrows Territory that included no meaningful recognition of Aboriginal and Treaty rights and perpetuated the model of industrial clear-cutting that first sparked an ongoing blockade at Grassy Narrows a decade ago.


Ontario should stop logging of old-growth forest: Editorial, The Star

Photo: Hap Wilson


Temagami’s soaring forests are home to more than half the world’s old-growth red and white pine trees. It’s an impressive distinction, except that only a tiny fraction of the original growth still exists, leaving the trees — and the biodiversity they support — on the edge of extinction.

That precarious existence, exacerbated by the harsh winds or fires of extreme weather patterns, is further harmed when the Ontario government allows logging companies to remove the old growth, pines that have populated these forests for some 140 to 400 years.

Read the full article here.


Changing of the Seasons Gathering in Temagami


Over the weekend of September 14th, 2013 Alex Mathias, an Ojibway Elder, will host his annual Changing of the Seasons Ceremony to celebrate the fall equinox on his traditional family territory in the Temagami region of Ontario.

On Saturday there will be a 'Changing of the Seasons' ceremony, a group potluck lunch, visits to Spirit Rock, and guided hikes through the old-growth forest. The guest speaker will be Joe Katt, Second Chief of the Temagami First Nation. Attendees have the option of participating in group events after the ceremony, exploring the area on their own, or simply enjoying some quiet time on the lake. There is no structured agenda for the weekend and Sunday is an open day.


Study: Wolf Lake Ancient Forest is Endangered Ecosystem


New research from the University of Guelph, published Tuesday in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation, says that allowing industrial extraction in a northern Ontario old-growth red pine forest – the largest remaining in the world – would significantly threaten biodiversity in Canada.

The study says that Wolf Lake Forest Reserve is a “scientifically irreplaceable system.”


Scientists find 210 species at Wolf Lake


recommend moratorium on further industrial disturbance

Sudbury - A team of scientists released a new report today on the findings of an intensive species count conducted last year at Wolf Lake.  210 species were identified including two bird species "At Risk" (special concern) the Canada Warbler and Common Nighthawk.  The report finds that the Wolf Lake old-growth forest is a unique and rich natural laboratory with the potential to provide the answers to many scientific questions relating to the ecology and conservation of endangered forested landscapes.  It warns that planned industrial activity puts this value at risk.

Download the report here.


Ontario Government Abandons Endangered Species

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - David Suzuki Foundation, Earthroots, Ontario Nature, Sierra Club of Canada

Environmentalists decry Cabinet decision to gut law protecting imperilled wildlife

Toronto, May 31, 2013 – The provincial Cabinet announced today its approval of sweeping exemptions for industry under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA).  Environmental organizations are incensed at the government’s abdication of its responsibility to protect and recover Ontario’s endangered plants and animals.

“This is the first major test of the new Cabinet’s commitment to the environment, and they have failed,” says Dr. Anne Bell, director of conservation and education at Ontario Nature. “They have turned their backs on the province’s most imperilled wildlife, and at a time when the federal government is poised to do the same.”


Ontario's forests still at risk


Some of the world’s largest clearcuts still planned in the province

Toronto - Despite announcements made today, the devastation of Ontario’s forests continues largely unabated.  Giant clearcuts, which level forested areas as large as pre-megacity Toronto (10,000 ha), still make up 94% of the area logged each year in Ontario.  Canada’s logging industry employs only 2/3 of the workers per tree cut that Sweden employs, and Ontario has still not respected the human right of Indigenous peoples to say “no” to logging on their traditional lands.

“Ontarians should not rest easily about the health of our forests,” said David Sone of Earthroots.  “Our forests are still being decimated by the same cut-and-run logging industry giants who leave a trail of laid off workers, violated Indigenous land  rights, and ecologically barren clearcuts before moving on to new jurisdictions with weaker environmental and human rights standards.”


Media Release: Building Resilience Through Accountability

For immediate release: Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Today at Queen's Park, Ontario's Environmental Commissioner (ECO) released his annual 2008-2009 report, "Building Resilience." The report is a critical assessment of the Provincial Government's management of our natural resources, highlighting shortcomings for a diverse spectrum of environmental policy issues.  As Ontario's outspoken, non-partisan environmental watchdog, Gord Miller makes a series of urgent suggestions regarding the provincial government's management of our aggregate resources, biofibre, and the overall response to the biodiversity crisis currently unfolding in our province.

The Report delineates the mass extinction taking place on a global level, and highlights Ontario as an example of a biologically rich and vast region at a crossroads.  The initial momentum of Ontairo's Biodiversity Strategy, introduced nearly five years ago has quickly died down as "serious shortcomings of the strategy have gone largely unaddressed."  The Commissioner also underlined the Environmental Communities' frustration with the ambiguity of the Strategy by highlighting that it does not outline respective responsibilities of Ontario's ministries, or set out timelines to accomplish measurable targets.  "Ontario has more species at risk than any other province," notes former Biodiversity Council member and Earthroots campaigner Josh Garfinkel.  "We are at a critical juncture where our provincial government can become leaders in conservation, but they must first revise the Biodiversity Strategy."


Toronto’s Leslie Street Spit: Cormorant Refuge in the midst of an international slaughter

by Ainslie Willock, Cormorant Defenders International (CDI)

Over a period of five years, more than 171,000 cormorants have been killed and far too many have been wounded in a North American-wide government sanctioned massive and cruel cull.

Tommy Thompson Park, simply known as the “The Spit” to Torontonians, is the home of the largest colony of double-crested cormorants on the Great Lakes.  The Toronto Regional Conservation Authority (TRCA), who manages the Spit, has chosen a responsible and thoughtful approach to managing the colony.  Their 2009 management goal is to "achieve a balance between the continued existence of a healthy, thriving cormorant colony and the other ecological, educational, scientific and recreational values of Tommy Thompson Park".