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Endangered Species

Without a strong Endangered Species Act (ESA), more than 230 species at risk in Ontario will be in dire straits.

Algonquin wolf © Lev Frid

The “Extinction Schedule”

The Government of Ontario is proposing a drastic overhaul of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) through changes put forward in Schedule 5 of Bill 108, an omnibus bill tabled on May 2, 2019.

These changes will gut protections for the province’s most vulnerable plants and animals. The overall direction is to roll back protections for species at risk and make it easier for industry and development proponents to proceed with activities that harm these species and their habitats. The government’s claim that changes will improve outcomes for species at risk is grossly misleading.

Barn owl © Daniel Hebert

How You Can Help

Stand with us and speak up for our at-risk plants and animals.

Small white lady's slipper (endangered) © Justin Meissen

SOS: Save Ontario Species

With your help, we can remind the government that it is reviewing the Endangered Species Act, not the Endangered Business Act. The law’s purpose is to protect and recover Ontario’s most vulnerable plants and animals.

Please sign the letter below to Minister Phillips, the Environmental Registry of Ontario and your local MPP. Their decision will profoundly and perhaps irreversibly impact on species at risk and their habitats. The deadline for comment through the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) was May 18, 2019 but you can still sign the petition.

American badger © Nick Myatt

Our joint submission to the ERO about the proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act was endorsed by 96 organizations.

Jefferson Salamander © Ryan Wolfe

Why it Matters

We are now in the throes of the largest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs more than 65 million years ago. Globally, almost one in eight birds, one in four mammals, and one in three amphibians are in jeopardy. Habitat loss and degradation, climate change, invasive species, pollution and overexploitation of natural resources are driving the decline.

In Ontario, there are over 230 plant and animal species that are at-risk of extinction or of disappearing from the province, a number which is growing every year. Their loss or decline affects the functioning and resilience of food webs and landscapes – jeopardizing the well-being of all living things, including humans.

Piping plover and chick (endangered) © Brendan Toews


Ontario’s decision to end hunting of snapping turtles in 2017 was a welcome move. Ontario lists the snapping turtle as a species of “special concern,” which means that although it is not yet endangered or threatened, a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats could endanger or threaten it. The government ended the legal hunting of snapping turtles because scientists and citizens demanded action.

Boreal caribou © Beezart