Yesterday, the federal government announced it will spend up $15 million over four years to rescue the 50 Million Tree Program which was cut by the Doug Ford government in its last budget. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna made the announcement in Ottawa.
Soon after the cut to the tree program was announced, the Council of Canadians jumped into action, launching a petition to make the case that trees are essential to fighting climate change. With historic flooding, wildfires and increasing climate change impacts, scientists say we only have 11 years left to make significant changes to save our planet.
Trees are a natural part of that solution. Trees keep carbon out of the atmosphere, expand our forest cover, and help prevent floods. We need more trees in Ontario and across the country – not fewer.
In a short span of time, more than 12,000 people signed onto the petition, echoing their support for the 50 Million Tree Program and calling on the Ford government to reverse the cut.
Through social media we galvanized broader support and are thrilled to hear the program will continue for at least another four years. According to the CBC, the 50 Million Tree Program had an annual budget of $4.7 million and had planted more than 27 million trees across the province since 2008. Its goal was to have 50 million planted by 2025.
The new funding will essentially support the planting and growth of 10 million trees, bringing the program's planting total to 37 million trees.
Thank you to everyone who took action to save the 50 Million Tree Program!