43 minutes | Nov 24th 2020

Conservation Matters | Episode 20

With over 70 years of experience, Ontario’s conservation authorities are global leaders in watershed management.  As a community-based natural resource management agency, their expertise is essential. Ninety-five per cent of Ontario's population lives in a watershed and should hastily proposed amendments by the Ontario government pass, independent science-based decisions in the interest of communities will be significantly limited - wetlands, valleys, and water could all be at risk . In essence, the legislation would weaken environmental protections and put more power into the hands of private developers, while negating the fundamental role of conservation authorities. 2020 has been a chaotic year with unprecedented events linked to climate change.  Now, more than ever it's our responsibility to protect and stand up for nature.  On this episode of the Big Blue Marble, we explain what conservation authorities do, how communities benefit and where you can share your voice in favour of conservation.   Today you can help support nature in your own community. Share Your Voice [Easy Fill - One Step Link] Conservation Matters Please send a message to the Ontario Government and tell them to strike schedule 6 of Bill 229 Minister Philips, Minister of Finance: minister.fin@ontario.ca Minister Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: minister.mah@ontario.ca Minister Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry: minister.mnrf@ontario.ca Minister Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks: minister.mecp@ontario.ca Premier Ford: premier@ontario.ca   [Sample Email] I strongly oppose the proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act set out in Schedule 6 of Bill 229 that curtail the role of Conservation Authorities in watershed planning and management. I am also deeply concerned that these proposed changes were brought forward in a budget bill, thereby over-riding my right to comment under the Environmental Bill of Rights. I request that you remove Schedule 6 in its entirety from Bill 229. Ontario’s Conservation Authorities are a unique and widely respected innovation. They provide a much-valued bridge across municipal boundaries to understand and address environmental concerns, such as flooding. Because they operate at the watershed level, they are ideally positioned to encourage science-based collaborative strategies and decision-making. Their vital role in land use planning and permitting must be retained to ensure that development does not put communities at risk from flooding and other climate change impacts through loss of wetlands, woodlands and farmland. The changes proposed in Schedule 6 will reduce or constrain the mandate of Conservation Authorities, and are therefore contradictory to the interests of the people of Ontario who are facing enormous risks and costs as a result of climate change and ongoing biodiversity loss. The roles and responsibilities of Conservation Authorities are critical in protecting the lands, waters and wildlife which benefit businesses and communities across Ontario, and upon which our health and well-being ultimately depend. I urge you to remove Schedule 6 in its entirety from Bill 229.  
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