2014 Mandate letter: Natural Resources and Forestry
Premier’s instructions to the Minister on priorities for the year 2014
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September 25, 2014
The Honourable Bill Mauro
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
99 Wellesley Street West
Room 6630, Sixth Floor, Whitney Block
Dear Minister Mauro:
I am honoured to welcome you to your role as Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. We have a strong Cabinet in place, and I am confident that together we will build Ontario up, create new opportunities and champion a secure future for people across our province. The people of Ontario have entrusted their government to be a force for good, and we will reward that trust by working every day in the best interests of every person in this province.
As we implement a balanced and comprehensive plan for Ontario, we will lead from the activist centre. We will place emphasis on partnerships with businesses, communities and people to help foster continued economic growth and make a positive impact on the lives of every Ontarian. This collaborative approach will shape all the work we do. It will ensure we engage people on the issues that matter the most to them, and that we implement meaningful solutions to our shared challenges.
Our government’s most recent Speech from the Throne outlined a number of key priorities that will guide your work as minister. Growing the economy and helping to create good jobs are fundamental to building more opportunity and security, now and in the future. That critical priority is supported by strategic investments in the talent and skills of our people, from childhood to retirement. It is supported through the building of modern infrastructure, transit and a seamless transportation network. It is supported by a dynamic business climate that thrives on innovation, creativity and partnerships to foster greater prosperity. And it is reflected across all of our government, in every area, and will extensively inform our programs and policies.
As we move forward with our plan to grow the economy and create jobs, we will do so through the lens of fiscal prudence. Our 2014 Budget reinforces our commitment to balancing the budget by 2017-18; it is essential that every area adheres to the program-spending objectives established in it. We will choose to invest wisely in initiatives that strengthen Ontario’s competitive advantage, create jobs and provide vital public services to our families. The President of the Treasury Board, collaborating with the Minister of Finance, will work closely with you and your fellow Cabinet members to ensure that our government meets its fiscal targets. The President of the Treasury Board will also lead the government’s efforts on accountability, openness and modernization as we implement new accountability measures across government.
As Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, you will ensure the good stewardship of Ontario’s provincial parks and protected areas, forests, fisheries, wildlife, mineral aggregates, petroleum resources — and Crown lands and waters. You will also promote public understanding and the sustainable use of the province’s natural resources. I ask that you work collaboratively with other ministers and a wide variety of stakeholders to develop and deliver sustainable, science-based approaches to programs and policies.
- Continuing to work with forestry companies, environmental organizations, First Nations and community representatives to ensure that Crown forest resources are being put to their best use — and in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable fashion.
- Working with municipalities and other partners to promote urban forestry. Your goal is to work with these partners to plant one million trees in urban areas as part of our commitment to plant 50 million trees provincewide.
Minimizing the Impact of Invasive Species
- Preparing the Invasive Species Act for re-introduction. You will continue to address concerns surrounding the prevention, early detection and eradication of — and rapid response to — invasive species in Ontario’s natural environment.
- Advocating and collaborating with other jurisdictions to address the threat of invasive species. You will present Ontario’s concerns at the bi-national and federal level.
Guiding Land Use Planning
- Developing a Far North Land Use Strategy, as required under the Far North Act. The strategy would provide policy guidance on which joint planning teams in the Far North can draw as they develop community-based land-use plans.
- Working with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to support robust and comprehensive environmental assessments and planning related to projects in the Ring of Fire region.
- Engaging with stakeholders, Aboriginal communities and other concerned ministers to address the recommendations of the Standing Committee on General Government’s Report on the Review of the Aggregate Resources Act. You will also bring forward recommended regulatory and legislative changes to improve the Aggregate Resources Act.
- Supporting the Biodiversity Strategy. You will continue to work with other ministers and partners to advance measures aimed at further strengthening and protecting Ontario’s biodiversity.
- Working with other ministers, municipalities and partners to conduct a review of Ontario’s broader wetland strategy. Your goal is to strengthen wetland policies and stop the net loss of wetlands.
Implementing the Endangered Species Act
- Implementing the Endangered Species Act. I ask that you continue to implement the act in a way that protects and promotes the recovery of species at risk in Ontario.
We have an ambitious agenda for the next four years. I know that, by working together in partnership, we can be successful. The above list of priority initiatives is not meant to be exhaustive, as there are many other responsibilities that you and your ministry will need to carry out. To that end, this mandate letter is to be used by your ministry to develop more detailed plans for implementation of the initiatives above, in addition to other initiatives not highlighted in this letter.
I ask that you continue to build on the strong relationships we have with the Ontario Public Service, the broader public sector, other levels of government, and the private, non-profit and voluntary sectors. We want to be the most open and transparent government in the country. We want to be a government that works for the people of this province — and with them. It is of the utmost importance that we lead responsibly, act with integrity, manage spending wisely and are accountable for every action we take.
I look forward to working together with you in building opportunity today, and securing the future for all Ontarians.