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Dear Wolf Defenders,

It won't be news to you that Ford's government has been taking advantage of the pandemic to quietly strip back environmental protection.

Now they plan to change laws to allow loggers to ransack species-at-risk habitat and strip Conservation Authorities of their power to prohibit development of environmentally sensitive land — all under "budget" Bill 229, which they've cleverly called "Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act".

This is serious, and it has nothing to do with protection.

Hiding environmental rollbacks under a pandemic budget bill allows Ford's cronies to push Bill 229 through at break-neck speed without formal public consultation.


We're making it easy for you to urge your MPP to make sure two environmentally-damaging schedules are removed from Bill 229:

Schedule 8 would enable forestry to kill species-at-risk and destroy their habitat even though habitat loss is the key driver of species endangerment.

Species at risk protections under the Endangered Species Act were designed to apply to loggers because logging rules and guidelines still allowed too much destruction. For example, forestry guidelines allow for logging only 50m away from active Algonquin wolf dens, and logging roads as close as 100m. Logging roads further endanger these wolves by providing access to hunters and trappers.

Ever since the modern Endangered Species Act came into force, the forest industry was granted a rolling exemption and allowed to log in species at risk habitat. If Bill 229 passes as-is, loggers cutting in the public forest will only ever have to follow their planning manual and policy documents — a set of rules which are so weak that they resulted in us needing the legal authority of the Endangered Species Act in the first place.

A possible Algonquin wolf sits in the timber near Temagami, Ontario
Less logging means more habitat and fewer roads.

Roads bring in hunters and trappers, and have been associated with higher numbers of wolves being killed around their stronghold in Algonquin Park where logging still occurs.

Schedule 6 will strip Conservation Authorities of their ability to prevent development that would normally be prohibited (such as building in flood risk zones). It will also stack their boards with elected officials that will be required to advocate only for their own community rather than act in the best interest of the watershed. These changes not only run contrary to the watershed-based approach for conservation, but are a hand-out to Ford's developer friends, who will be able to get permission to build directly from his cabinet.

Read Bill 229 in full here.

We know this decade began turbulently. We also know we have the power to make 2020 the start of a new era of environmental protection.  Will you join us?

In solidarity,

Hannah Barron

Director, Wildlife Conservation Campaigns (and fellow Wolf Defender)

Wolves Ontario is a project of

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Photo credit: Andrew Budziak


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