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Wilderness Areas Act

R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER W.8

Historical version for the period May 12, 2011 to June 5, 2011.

Note: On a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor, this Act is repealed by the Statutes of Ontario, 2006, chapter 12, section 66. See: 2006, c. 12, ss. 66, 67 (2).

Last amendment: 2011, c. 9, Sched. 27, s. 41.

Establishment of wilderness areas

1. The Lieutenant Governor in Council may set apart any lands (whether or not covered with water) belonging to Her Majesty in Right of Ontario as a wilderness area for the preservation of the area as nearly as may be in its natural state in which research and educational activities may be carried on, for the protection of the flora and fauna, for the improvement of the area, having regard to its historical, aesthetic, scientific or recreational value, or for such other purposes as may be prescribed by the regulations made under this Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. W.8, s. 1.


2. Nothing in this Act or in the regulations made under this Act limits or affects the development or utilization of the natural resources in any wilderness area that is more than 260 hectares in size. R.S.O. 1990, c. W.8, s. 2.

Acquisition of land

3. Land may be acquired under the Ministry of Government Services Act for the purposes of this Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. W.8, s. 3.

Note: On the day Schedule 25 (Ministry of Energy Act, 2011) to the Better Tomorrow for Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2011 comes into force, section 3 is amended by striking out “Ministry of Government Services Act” and substituting “Ministry of Infrastructure Act, 2011”. See: 2011, c. 9, Sched. 27, ss. 41, 42.


4. Wilderness areas are under the control and management of the Minister of Natural Resources. R.S.O. 1990, c. W.8, s. 4.

Protection of fish, wildlife and invertebrates

5. Despite the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 and the regulations under that Act, the Minister may take such measures as he or she considers proper for the protection in wilderness areas of fish, wildlife and invertebrates within the meaning of that Act. 1997, c. 41, s. 126.


6. (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,

(a) for the care, preservation, improvement, control and management of wilderness areas;

(b) for prohibiting or regulating and controlling the use of lands in wilderness areas;

(c) for prohibiting or regulating and controlling the admission of persons or domestic animals to wilderness areas and for issuing permits to persons to enter and travel in wilderness areas and prescribing the terms and conditions thereof and the fee therefor;

(d) respecting any matter necessary or advisable to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. W.8, s. 6 (1).


(2) Any regulations under subsection (1) may be made applicable to all wilderness areas, to any wilderness area or to any part of a wilderness area. R.S.O. 1990, c. W.8, s. 6 (2).


7. Every person who contravenes any regulation made under this Act or any term or condition of a permit issued under the regulations is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $500. R.S.O. 1990, c. W.8, s. 7.