We appealed the troubling decision by a lower court that puts already endangered species at further risk of extinction. Our appeal was heard on Tuesday April 19 2016 at the Ontario Court of Appeal. Read more here.
This marked the first time environmental groups won the right to appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal on a case about the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Ontario Regulation 176/13, which came largely into force under the ESA on July 1, 2013 is a tremendous blow to species protection. The new regulatory changes threaten species by allowing major industries — including forestry, energy transmission, housing, energy development, mineral exploration and mine development, wastewater management — to avoid strict standards intended to protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.
Over 150 at-risk species are threatened by the regulation including the American Eel, Blanding’s Turtle, Lakeside Daisy, Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Acadian Flycatcher and the iconic Woodland Caribou. Not one listed at the time of the exemption regulation has full protections under the ESA as it was originally intended. Not one. See the scope of the regulation made in 2013 here.
All legal documents can be found here.
Above: American eel-one of the endangered species affected by the regulatory changes.
Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke.
When Ontario’s new Endangered Species Act was ushered in in 2007, we applauded it as the gold standard in North America. It’s something we worked really hard on. Protecting endangered species and their habitat is part of our core mandate at CPAWS Wildlands League.
Just six short years later, it turned out that the law to protect endangered species in Ontario was in just as much jeopardy as the species it is designed to protect. That’s when the Ontario government gutted the ESA with sweeping exemptions for major industries. When a government turns its back on its own legislation and on its endangered and threatened species, is when you can count on CPAWS Wildlands League to jump into action.
We are standing up for species that don’t have a voice. We won’t allow the Ontario government to gut protections for species just to save a few bucks and to make life easier for business.
The Ontario government always has a choice when it comes to species protection. It could withdraw this regulation and fulfill its promise to protect at-risk species by enforcing the Endangered Species Act as intended. That means preventing industrial development, resource extraction or other activities from wiping out vulnerable species.Take Action
Environmental Groups Win Right to Appeal Endangered Species Decision (September 14, 2015)
Ontario guts Endangered Species legislation (June 3, 2013)