5. Protect Biodiversity

Challenges: Threats

Weakened Protections for Species at Risk; Threatens Biodiversity

  • Bill 108 – More Homes, More Choice Act – increased by 6000% the number of permits issued, most automatically, opening up to more development regardless of harm to endangered species or their habitat
  • committee that designates the protected status of species at risk populated with industry associates and companies – no longer have to consult independent experts about how actions might affect endangered species
  • pay to slay” fund – Species at Risk Conservation Trust, allows developers to pay fees instead of refrain from destroying critical habitats 
  • In 2020, also exempted forestry companies from following the province’s Endangered Species Act – follow logging-specific rules but do not support their recovery.
  • No data collection and insights regarding the protection of endangered species – on top of that, many of the plans designed to protect lands do not enfold measures to protect endangered species (home to 3/4s of species at risk)

What do we Need Instead 

Strengthened Protections for Species at Risk and a Prioritizing of Biodiversity

  • reverse the impact of “Bill 108 – More Homes, More Choice Act” and do not issue permits that open up more development regardless of harm to endangered species or their habitat.
  • de-populate the committee that designates the protected status of species at risk from industry associates and companies and re-instate the requirement for consultation with independent experts about how actions might affect endangered species.
  • refrain from destroying critical habitats instead of allowing developers to pay fees so that they can ignore species at risk in the first place!
  • require forestry companies to follow the province’s Endangered Species Act.
  • strengthen data collection and insights regarding the protection of endangered species and enfold measures to protect endangered species in plans designed to protect lands.

Act like it’s an emergency! Amping up the approach….

Loss of biodiversity is an emergency – globally and locally. A case in point, ravines in Toronto have experienced a 50-70% decline in the native ecosystem and a dramatic loss in diversity of species. Yet, the ravines provide access to nature that helps keep people healthy and especially during COVID times, equitable access to green space is important. Ravines also improve air quality, moderate floods and help maintain both animal and plant life.

The climate and biodiversity emergencies combine to threaten food chains, to tax the limits of the natural world that support human and non-human life and to expose our communities to greater risks from flooding, fires and heat. An emergency response entails doing everything we can to protect and sustain both rural and urban biodiversity.

Example of a win! 

Here’s a win for farmland, significant protected wetlands, greenbelt, clean air and water, Indigenous rights and land stewardship as well as civic rights. Minister’s Zoning Orders Stymied!

Duffins Creek Wetland

When: Late in 2020

What: A Minister’s Zoning Order pushed forward without public consultation and Duffins Creek Wetland, a significant wetland for nearly 25 years, was under threat of development.

Who: EANAP and Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation

What: Demonstrations, blockaded drilling access, held a shoe strike, marched

Win: Amazon, in the face of the public backlash, decided not to carry through and Pickering Council voted to rescind the part of the MZO on the wetland.

What Else Can We Do?

Join a Group: https://www.saveourstreamshamilton.org/successes or Hamilton350.org for example.

Learn More: See the first section in the biodiversity section as well.

Environmental Defence on Biodiversity, Endangered Species and the Election.

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