Endangered Species Legislation
Bill 108, which amended 13 different statues as part of Ontario's Housing Supply Action Plan was given Royal Assent on June 6, 2019. Included in the legislation were changes to the Endangered Species Act. Some of the changes included:
- Increased predictability and certainly associated with the proposed changes to COSSARO’s earlier public notice and reporting timelines;
- COSSARO’s requirement to consider a species’ condition around a broader geographic range;
- A payment in-lieu option to help proponents achieve overall benefit for eligible species at risk;
- New transition provision for existing permit holders to continue to operate for twelve months while they seek amendments to their permit or agreement to address newly listed species.
To view the amended legislation visit: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/07e06
Right to Appeal granted to Ontario Nature - September 2015
The Ontario Court of Appeal has just granted Ontario Nature and Wildlands League, represented by Ecojustice lawyers, leave to appeal a lower court ruling that puts endangered and threatened species at further risk of disappearing from the province. The appeal challenges the Ontario Divisional Court’s decision to uphold a provincial regulation that exempts major industries from the ESA. The original decision upheld exemptions of many major industries such as forestry from the protection of the Endangered Species Act.
For a copy of Ontario Nature and Wildlands League's press release, click here.
ESA Court Decision
In late 2013, two environmental groups, (Ontario Nature and Wildlands League)challenged the new Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations which provide regulatory exemptions for specified activities such as operating pits and quarries. The groups argued that the new regulations were inconsistent with the purpose and objectives of the ESA, and filed a lawsuit against the government. The MNRF defended the use of the new regulations.
In a recent ruling, the Divisional Court upheld the use of these regulatory exemptions and dismissed the environmental groups’ lawsuit (decision attached).
There were several important findings made by the Court which highlight the importance of economic considerations in the ESA:
The ESA is not one-sided in its purpose as proposed by the environmental groups. Even understanding the contribution that biological diversity makes to our economy, the ESA sets out to protect that diversity while not forgetting our more general concern for other considerations (social, economic and cultural) that play an important role and have a significant impact on our society and way of life.
This suggests something more balanced than the reliance on protection and restoration of species at risk as the singular purpose behind the ESA. This is confirmed in the words of the statute where they deal with the considerations that bear on the issuance of a permit.
The economic considerations brought to bear on the making of O. Reg. 176/13 are not a peripheral purpose. They are a consideration which, pursuant to the ESA, is to be part of the efforts undertaken in acting to protect and restore species at risk.
Summary provided by MHBC Consulting.
* View decision here
- Best Management Practices for the Protection, Creation and Maintenance of Bank Swallow Habitat in Ontario
- Bank Swallow General Habitat Description – MNRF Webinar Presentation, January 13, 2016
- MNRF General Habitat Description for Bank Swallows
- A general habitat description is a technical document that provides greater clarity on the area of habitat protected for a species based on the general habitat definition found in the Endangered Species Act, 2007.
- Letter from OSSGA to MNRF
- Following a presentation by MNRF staff to the Species at Risk (SAR) Committee on June 18, 2105, OSSGA sent the attached letter to seek clarification on some of the details in the General Habitat Description (GHD).
- Letter from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry thanking OSSGA for recommendations
- Bank Swallow Monitoring Form
- Bank Swallow Monitoring Protocol & Stewardship Study
- The listing of Bank Swallows as Threatened on the Species at Risk in Ontario List presents a common challenge across our industry. In 2013, the OSSGA Species at Risk Taskforce developed a Best Management Practices Factsheet for Bank Swallow; the Taskforce has followed up this factsheet by developing a monitoring protocol (attached). We are providing this protocol to assist you in complying with your legal responsibility to document and report the presence of Bank Swallow in relation to your operational activities.
Transition Exemption Agreements to the on-line Registry Under the Endangered Species Act
Existing exemption agreements obtained under Regulation 242/08 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2010 are set to expire on July 1, 2015. All existing exemption agreements need to be transitioned to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Online Registry system by that dateExisting exemption agreements obtained under Regulation 242/08 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2010 are set to expire on July 1, 2015. All existing exemption agreements need to be transitioned to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Online Registry system by that date.
For more information, please view the briefing note.