Upheaval in the Senate and in Toronto’s mayoral office swept the news this week, sidelining critical environmental reports from the federal Environment Commissioner and Ontario Environment Commissioner on the state of Canada’s wildlife and habitat.
From inadequate protection of National Wildlife Areas to a lack of conservation planning for Canada’s bird species in steep decline, the federal Environment Commissioner’s audit found that Canada is not meeting its commitments and responsibilities to protect biodiversity.
Nature Canada stands beside several other environmental conservation groups in saying that Environment Canada needs significant new funding in order to implement the important recommendations released yesterday by the interim commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development committee, Neil Maxwell.
“Yesterday’s report from the Environment Commissioner confirms the fears of many Canadians that Environment Canada’s protected areas are in a poor state and in desperate need of serious investment.” said Ian Davidson, Executive Director of Nature Canada. “We would add to the Environment Commissioner’s report that the current poor state of Canada’s protected areas is due to chronic underfunding rather than management failures on the part of Environment Canada. It’s entirely preventable.”
At the provincial level, Ontario’s Environment Commissioner released a report yesterday warning that regulatory changes to the province’s Endangered Species Act and its ineffective implementation by the Ministry of Natural Resources threaten the protection of Ontario’s endangered species.
Commissioner Miller proposed these guidelines for the province’s efforts to protect endangered species: “…the Ministry of Natural Resources must actually take responsibility for improving the protection of species at risk; decisions should ultimately lead to the recovery of species; and MNR must genuinely engage the public.”