January 11, 2016

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1

Dear Premier:

I am pleased to provide you with an update on the progress the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has made on the priorities you set out in your mandate letter to me on September 25, 2014. In the last 15 months, we have made significant progress on each of these important files.

Supporting Forestry

  • My ministry continues 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 in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable fashion.
  • Ministry staff have engaged municipalities and other partners — almost 60 so far — to promote the planting of one million trees in urban areas, as part of the government’s commitment to plant 50 million trees across the province.

Minimizing the Impact of Invasive Species

  • Preventing invasive species from arriving and becoming established in Ontario is critical to our fight against this threat to the environment and our economy. The Invasive Species Act was passed by the legislature last October, making Ontario the only jurisdiction in Canada that has stand-alone invasive species legislation.
  • My ministry continues to work collaboratively with our federal, provincial and territorial colleagues to address this threat through a national Invasive Alien Species Task Force and is working with colleagues in Michigan and Ohio to investigate opportunities to harmonize approaches to address aquatic invasive species.

Guiding Land Use Planning

  • Significant progress has been made toward developing a Far North Land Use Strategy, with input from First Nations, resource developers, scientists, environmental organizations, municipalities and the general public.
  • We posted the draft strategy on the Environmental Registry in September 2015, and we will continue to seek input from First Nations, stakeholders and the public on guidance for land use planning to be included in the final strategy.

Managing Aggregates

  • I continue to engage with stakeholders, municipalities, Aboriginal communities and my Cabinet colleagues to address the recommendations of the Standing Committee on General Government’s Report on the Review of the Aggregate Resources Act.
  • Consultation on a blueprint of the proposed changes to the act occurred in fall 2015 through postings on the Environmental Registry and Regulatory Registry.

Strengthening Biodiversity

  • Ministry staff supported the development and release of the State of Ontario’s Biodiversity 2015 report in May.
  • Staff co-hosted the Biodiversity Summit, the first such event in Ontario. The summit reinforced partnerships with other ministries and non-governmental organizations and resulted in a new partnership with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity, who is considering using Ontario’s successful approach to biodiversity conservation as a case study at international meetings later this year.

Protecting Wetlands

  • I am working with other ministers, municipalities and partners to conduct a review of Ontario’s broader wetland strategy.
  • We released a discussion paper last summer to stimulate ideas that will help inform future government actions on wetlands. Comments on the paper will be used to draft a Strategic Plan for Ontario’s Wetlands, which will also be posted for consultation on the Environmental Registry.

Implementing the Endangered Species Act

  • My ministry continues to implement the Endangered Species Act.
  • In the past 15 months, recovery strategies for 11 species, government response statements for 13 species, habitat regulations for five species, and five-year reviews of progress for 14 species have been finalized.

I look forward to continuing to work with First Nations, stakeholders and my Cabinet colleagues on these critical priorities.

Sincerely,

Bill Mauro signature

Bill Mauro
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

Results achieved

Mandate Letter Commitment Progress to Date
Ensure the good stewardship of Ontario’s provincial parks and protected areas, forests, fisheries, wildlife, mineral aggregates, petroleum resources — and Crown lands and waters.
  • We have consulted on stocking plans for Ontario’s Great Lakes (Lake Ontario and Lake Superior) and continuously update park and forest management plans to ensure a balance between economic opportunities and important environmental concerns.
Promote public understanding and the sustainable use of the province’s natural resources.
  • We consulted with partners, key stakeholders and the public to not only inform, but also to seek input on how to improve our Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account (the account that funds our many fish and wildlife programs).
  • We provide educational opportunities to the public through our Learn to Fish programs in six provincial parks.
Work collaboratively with other ministers and a wide variety of stakeholders to develop and deliver sustainable, science-based approaches to programs and policies.
  • We understand the importance of continuing to work collaboratively with stakeholders and key partners using science-based approaches.
  • We are a proud partner of the Experimental Lakes Area facility. This facility uses science-based approaches to water and fish species testing in Northwestern Ontario.
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.
  • We continue to work collaboratively with key stakeholders and Aboriginal organizations on modernizing forest tenure. The updated approach to forest tenure aims to ensure the longevity of Ontario’s forests while promoting economic opportunities throughout the province. My ministry is also consulting with key stakeholders regarding our guiding framework for forest management programs through the Forest Manuals Revisions process and the Silviculture Enhancement Initiative.
Connecting 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 province-wide.
  • My ministry has engaged municipalities and other partners — almost 60 so far — to promote the planting of one million trees in urban areas. To date, our funding has resulted in the planting of nearly 17 million trees as part of the provincewide commitment and is on target to reach the 2025 goal of 50 million.
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.
  • The Invasive Species Act received Royal Assent on November 3, 2015, following its passage in the legislature on October 21, 2015. My ministry continues to work collaboratively with our federal, provincial and territorial colleagues to address the threat of invasive species through a national Invasive Alien Species Task Force and is working with colleagues in Michigan and Ohio to investigate opportunities to harmonize approaches to address aquatic invasive species.
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.
  • In May 2015, a federal-provincial-territorial task force to support collaborative efforts to combat invasive species was established, with Ontario as co-chair.
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.
  • A draft strategy was posted on the Environmental Registry on September 29, 2015, for a 90-day comment period. We held a three-day workshop in October for more than 100 First Nations from 30 communities and five tribal councils to gain input on the draft. We have also met with interested environmental organizations and the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. We will continue to meet with First Nations and stakeholders. We anticipate a final strategy in spring 2016.
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.
  • We are working jointly with First Nations communities in the Ring of Fire (RoF) region.
  • In March 2014, Ontario signed a Framework Agreement with Matawa-member First Nations, which included commitments for enhanced participation in Environmental Assessment processes and regional environmental monitoring.
  • We are working collaboratively with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) to gain an understanding of the potential effects within the RoF region while also advancing science and information efforts to support MNDM’s negotiations with Matawa First Nations.
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.
  • In fall 2014, Ontario engaged with municipal associations, stakeholders, experts, other ministries, and Aboriginal communities and groups on topics related to the management of pit and quarry operations. Formal public consultation on a blueprint of the proposed changes occurred in fall 2015 via the Environmental Registry and the Regulatory Registry.
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.
  • In May 2015, the Ontario Biodiversity Council released the State of Ontario’s Biodiversity 2015 report. We supported the Ontario Biodiversity Council in hosting the 2015 Biodiversity Summit, the first event of its kind in the province.
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.
  • A discussion paper seeking feedback and perspectives on wetlands conservation in Ontario was posted for public consultation in July 2015. The public comment period closed October 30, 2015. Feedback was also collected from municipalities, stakeholders and the public. Feedback will be used to draft the Strategic Plan for Ontario’s Wetlands, which will be posted for public consultation in early 2016.
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.
  • Finalized recovery strategies for 11 species at risk.
  • Finalized government response statements for 13 species at risk.
  • Released a report on the progress Ontario has made towards the protection and recovery of woodland caribou (which included a significant investment in science, research and monitoring).
  • Released five-year reviews of progress for 13 species on December 9, 2015.
Engaging with ministries, municipalities and stakeholders to initiate a review of the Conservation Authorities Act, including addressing roles, responsibilities and governance of conservation authorities in resource management and environmental protection.
  • A discussion paper to initiate review of the Conservation Authorities Act was posted to the Environmental Registry in July 2015. The public comment period closed on October 19, 2015. Feedback from municipalities and stakeholders was also collected through targeted engagement sessions, surveys and other engagement tools. Next steps will be determined based on the feedback received.
Updated: June 01, 2021
Published: January 10, 2016