As some of you may have heard, changes are happening to Ontario’s Conservation Authorities. On November 5th, the Government of Ontario revealed its plans to severely curtail the role of Conservation Authorities in watershed planning and management. Releasing these changes under omnibus budget measures Bill 229 means the public’s right to comment on these proposed changes won’t be happening. Some of the changes in this bill include
- Reducing the ability of Conservation Authorities to act as independent public bodies in land use planning, including removing their ability to seek to appeal municipal planning decisions;
- Introducing new rights for developers to force fast-tracking of development approvals and to appeal decisions they do not like, without providing the same opportunity to citizens who may wish to challenge decisions that damage the environment; and
- Giving the Minister new power to overturn a conservation authority’s decision to refuse to issue a permit for development.
- Redirect the fiduciary role (Duty of Members) for municipally appointed CA Board members. They are being told to make decisions in the best interest of the municipalities and not the conservation authority.
Quinte Conservation has published a statement regarding these changes, which can be viewed here.
The Canadian Environmental Law Association recently held an online webinar which explains why we need our Conservation Authorities and how these new changes under Bill 229 will affect the future protection of our watersheds. You can view the webinar here.
Our Partner, Ontario Nature is currently hosting a petition online, where you can Sign Here. Please feel free to share this with other supporters of Conservation Authorities.
Ontario Nature urges you to let the government and your MPP know that removing power from Conservation Authorities risks eliminating the watershed - based planning approach which protects residents and the environment. Wetlands and shores and the people that live next to them benefit from science-based planning and protection delivered by Conservation Authorities. Passing Bill 229 will remove that essential protection by taking away the ability of Conservation Authorities to do their very important work.
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