On behalf of the Ontario Nature Youth Council, we would like to thank you for not proceeding with Schedule 10 of Bill 66. The Ontario Nature Youth Council is a diverse provincial network that is inspiring, connecting and educating our communities while protecting wild species and wild spaces. With 120 Youth Council members from 53 communities across Ontario, we put our best selves forward as we contribute to lasting, positive change through a variety of conservation actions in our community and on a provincial level.
Schedule 10 would have allowed municipalities to create “open-for-business planning by-laws” and bypass various provincial legislation, plans and policies protecting water, wildlife, agricultural land and green space, without notice to the public. This disregards the citizens’ right of being informed about actions affecting their neighbourhoods. It is contrary to the government’s responsibility to preserve natural spaces.
Expediting land development and compromising natural space to attract businesses is unacceptable to us. Ontario’s next generation of decision-makers must think far ahead for generations to come. Keeping in mind the impact of our actions today on Ontario’s future, we recognize the need for a healthy, trusting and integrated community as well as a healthy, trusting and integrated environment. The threat was great as companies would have been able to bypass plans in place to preserve clean drinking water from being contaminated by dumps, chemicals, and other rudimentary waste elimination processes.
Through careful and thorough research on Bill 66, it cannot be clearer to us that it deeply contradicts multiple laws which are critical to provincially sustainable planning such as the Clean Water Act, the Planning Act, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, the Greenbelt Act, the Great Lakes Protection Act, the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, and the Toxics Reduction Act. We agree with Ontario Nature’s views that this proposed law would have facilitated sprawling and unchecked development, threatened sensitive natural features and water resources upon which we all rely, undermined community input, and sidestepped laws and policies intended to protect the long-term health and resilience of our communities.
It is for these reasons that we strongly oppose Schedule 10 of Bill 66. It should never be considered for future legislation. Thanks again for your decision and we look forward to the removal of Schedule 10 from Bill 66 before it goes to final reading.
We thank you for your time and trust that you will take our views into account for your decision as this bill affects all fellow residents of Ontario, including many of our loved ones and our neighbouring species. We invite you to meet with us to discuss the bill in a non-partisan manner. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact one of the undersigned.
Yours sincerely in conservation and on behalf of the Youth Council,
Fei (Sophy) Wu, Toronto
Lucy Tong, Cobourg
Sammie Heard, Waterloo
Bumika Srikanthalingam, Mount Albert,
Ethan Elliott, Stratford
Haidi Wu, Oakville
Isabella Fiore, Newmarket
Jasminder Khehra, Oakville
Jessica Xiong, Toronto
Markus Kangur, Waterloo
Meghna Ravikumar, Toronto
Mikayla Wilson, Stayner
Samantha Mitchell, Tiny
Sasha Latchaev, Toronto
Serena Allidina, North York (Toronto)
Sofia Eklund, Oshawa
Cc: The Honourable Doug Ford
The Honourable Christine Elliott
The Honourable Ernie Hardeman
The Honourable Jim Wilson
The Honourable Jeff Yurek
The Honourable Steve Clark
The Honourable Lisa Thompson
Ontario Nature is a charity that has been protecting wild species and wild spaces through education, conservation and public engagement since 1931. We are there when nature needs us most.