You may have seen the news that Doug Ford’s Minister of Environment and Conservation, Jeff Yurek, sent Ontario Conservation Authorities (CAs) a letter last week. In that letter, Minister Yurek directed Conservation Authorities to “wind down” programs not connected to their “core mandate,” generally categorized as work related to:
- Risk of natural hazards
- Conservation and management of land owned or controlled by conservation authorities
- Drink-water source protection
- Protection of the Lake Simcoe watershed
- Other programs or services as prescribed by regulation
The letter comes on the heels of the recently-amended Conservation Authorities Act* and a 50% cut in natural hazards funding to Conservation Authorities, which includes flood management.
Neither the amended Conservation Authorities Act nor last week’s letter define which programs fall within a CA’s “core mandate.” They also do not include conservation of natural resources as a category, jeopardizing CA’s ability to care for full watersheds instead of fragment land areas.
Council of Canadians chapters across the country are fighting to end the climate crisis. We know that any successful effort will have to include consistent conservation efforts that take seriously the interconnected nature of our environments. That’s why we’re working with partners across Ontario and in the United States to protect the Great Lakes Basin.
The climate crisis requires bold vision and leadership from every level of government, not fragmented responses that limit our ability to build sustainable systems based on science and equity. Consider joining us in September to talk about justice in the Great Lakes basin, and ask your local candidates how they plan to implement a Green New Deal in Canada.
*The related legislation, Bill 108, received Royal Assent on June 6, 2019 but has not been proclaimed.