What is happening?
The Government of Ontario has announced its 10th Year Review of the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act contains prohibitions against the harm, harassment, or killing of species listed as endangered or threatened. Under the Act, the Government issues authorizations for applicants to engage in these otherwise prohibited activities.
Ontario has published a Discussion Document, which you can find here, that document is intended to guide the review. Submissions from interested groups are due by March 4, 2019.
According to the Discussion Document, since coming into effect the Act has been criticized for:
- “being ineffective in its aim to protect and recover species at risk”
- “being unclear”
- “administratively burdensome”
- “time consuming and costly for applicants” and for
- “creating barriers to economic development.”
Ontario is considering “ways to streamline approvals and provide clarity to support economic development.” In particular, the Discussion Document asks commenters about possible changes to the authorization process, by which applicants can obtain permits to harm, harass or kill species at risk.
Groups throughout the Province have voiced concern that the thrust of this review appears to elevate economic development over protection, by removing perceived administrative barriers and streamlining processes.
What can you do?
OKT is working with experts in the area to deliver a submission as part of this process. We are interested in receiving the views and responses of our clients and other Indigenous peoples. Our hope is to be able to provide a comprehensive submission that shows how the Endangered Species Act has been working for the Indigenous peoples of Ontario, and what, if anything, should be changed.
We also want to be able to address the proposals to streamline processes and remove barriers to economic development, and how these might impact the Indigenous peoples of Ontario and species of significance to them. Any first-hand accounts would be very useful.
In order to deliver our submission by the deadline, we would ask for interested groups or individuals to contact us as soon as possible, or by February 25, 2019. To learn more, or to find out how you can participate, get in touch with OKT lawyer Kevin Hille.
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