Ontario introduces new rules for protecting species at risk

Butternut tree

On July 1st, Ontario will streamline its approach to protecting species at risk.

The province plans to make rules for landowners, municipalities, and businesses as simple as possible, while maintaining its place as a leader in species protection. Next month, the government will implement standardized rules and an online registry for certain low-risk activities, which should make things faster and simpler than going through the current application process. 

So what’s an example of a low-risk activity? Say you’d like to cut down an endangered butternut tree on your cottage property. According to the new guidelines, the solution would be as simple as registering online and planting additional butternut trees elsewhere. 

The upcoming changes to Ontario’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) are said to do the following things:

  • Make it easier for volunteers and researchers to undertake projects that protect endangered species;
  • Simplify requirements for municipalities to carry out activities that protect human health and safety, such as road repairs;
  • Harmonize requirements under the Endangered Species Act and Crown Forest Sustainability Act to preserve protection while avoiding overalap;
  • And allow projects currently in development to continue while avoiding adverse effects on endangered species.

For more information about the changes that will be made to the approval process, see the Ministry of Natural Resource’s website.