Mandate letter progress: Natural Resources and Forestry
The Minister’s response letter to Premier Wynne, outlining the results achieved on key mandate priorities in 2014-15.
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January 11, 2016
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
|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.||
|Promote public understanding and the sustainable use of the province’s natural resources.||
|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.||
|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.||
|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.||
|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. I ask that you continue to implement the act in a way that protects and promotes the recovery of species at risk in Ontario.||
|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.||