Queen’s Park, Ontario – The Government of Ontario is failing Ontario’s most vulnerable plants and animals, according to a report released this week by Ontario’s Auditor General. The report, Protecting and Recovering Species at Risk, reveals the abysmal record of misdirection and mismanagement by a government prepared to undermine environmental protections at every turn. From stacking its public advisory committee with industry stakeholders to authorizing thousands of harmful activities with no oversight or enforcement, the government has prioritized the short-term interests of influential developers and resource extraction industries while abandoning its duty to protect and recover species at risk.
“The facts are staggering,” says Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature. “The number of species at risk in Ontario has grown by 22 percent since 2009. The number of approvals for harmful activities has gone up by more than 6,000 percent. There have never been inspections to ensure compliance with the conditions set out in those approvals. The Blanding’s turtle alone has been subject to 1,403 approvals for harmful activities, without any consideration of cumulative impact. It’s beyond shocking.”
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Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. A charitable organization, Ontario Nature represents more than 30,000 members and supporters, and 160 member groups across Ontario.