The law

Ontario’s Endangered Species Act protects endangered and threatened species — animals and plants in decline and at risk of disappearing from the province.

You need to follow certain rules if you operate a pit or quarry that could impact a protected species or habitat.

The rules cover activities such as:

  • stripping vegetation
  • blasting
  • extracting and hauling materials

These rules apply to pits or quarries that operated before:

  • a species was listed as endangered or threatened
  • a species first appeared on the site

Special rules apply if a species or habitat became protected on or after January 24, 2013.

Source law

This is a summary of the provincial laws. You can find a complete set of provincial rules related to this activity in:

  • Endangered Species Act, 2007
  • Ontario Regulation 242/08 (general)

The rules

You must:

  • register the activity and the affected species with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (before work begins)
  • take immediate steps to minimize the effects to the species and habitat
  • create and implement a mitigation plan for each species
  • report sightings of rare species (and update registration documents, if needed)
  • monitor and report on species and activities each year

Report a species

If you see or encounter a species, you must inform the Natural Heritage Information Centre — within 3 months of a sighting.

Report a rare species

Contact the Natural Heritage Information Centre

How to register

Step 1: Download the Natural Resources Registration Guide

  • print a copy or
  • open the guide in a new window or tab

Natural Resources Registration Guide

Step 2: Create a ONe-key ID and Natural Resources client profile

You need a ONe-key ID and a Natural Resources client profile to register online. ONe-key is a secure account that gives you online access to Ontario government programs and services.

Once you have a ONe-key ID, you will be asked to create either an individual or business profile for Natural Resources registrations. Create:

  • an individual profile to register non-business activities
  • a business profile to register activities conducted by a:
    • business
    • non-profit organization
    • municipality
    • government agency
    • ministry
  • an authorized representative profile to register activities on behalf of a business.

Open a new window or tab to:

Create a business profile
Create an individual profile

If you already have a ONe-key ID:

  • sign in to ONe-key
  • confirm your Natural Resources profile

Open a new window or tab to:

Sign in as a returning business
Sign in as a returning individual

Step 3: Register an activity

  • select My Services from the main menu
    • if you are an authorized representative, identify the business you are representing
  • click on Create New Registration
  •  select Notice of Activity and Other Notices under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) from the registry options
  • select Pits and Quarries – Operations of an eligible pit or quarry
  • register the activity
  • submit the registration

Step 4: Receive confirmation

  • receive an official Confirmation of Registration by email
    • By law, the regulation requires you to keep contact information up-to-date should the Ministry need to contact you
    • By law, the regulation requires you to submit requested documents within 14 days of a request from the Ministry using the contact information you provide
  • keep a copy as proof of registration
  • registration is free

If you need assistance to register your activity, please call 1-800-387-7011.

If you require an alternate format:

  • download the registration form and user guide
  • print, complete and mail the form
  • wait for confirmation

Notice of Activity - Pits and Quarries - Operations of an eligible pit or quarry

Minimize effects on a species

By law, you must immediately:

  • avoid operations during reproduction and rearing seasons
  • prevent a species from entering the operating area (e.g. putting up a fence)
  • give the species adequate time to leave the area, before starting work
  • get advice/help before you move it
  • protect areas that are important to the species (e.g. nests)
  • take steps to protect or relocate plants
  • educate people who work on the site

Mitigation plans

Mitigation plans should include the best available information on a species.

You can get this information from:

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • Aboriginal traditional knowledge
  • community knowledge (e.g. local nature clubs)

A plan must:

  • be prepared by an expert on the species
  • be updated every 5 years
  • describe the area of the operation (and include a map)
  • describe the habitat in that area
  • say how you will minimize effects on species
  • detail how you will restore or improve habitat
  • outline how you plan to monitor

Deadlines for plans

In most cases, you must have your plan prepared before any work you do affects a species or its habitat.

You have 2 years to complete the plan:

  • from the date the species first appeared on the site or
  • from the date the species was listed for those species listed on or after  January 24, 2013.

You must keep plans while you are operating and for 5 years after you stop operating. You need to give a copy to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, if asked.

Reporting process

You must prepare an annual report that includes:

  • how you minimized effects on a species
  • the results of monitoring
  • any observations/sightings of a species
  • other activities you undertook as part of the mitigation plan

You must keep plans for 5 years — and give a copy to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry within 14 days, if asked.

Existing agreements

Existing agreements with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are valid until July 1, 2015. On or before that date, you must register with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Once you register, the rules in this article apply to you.

When you need a permit

You could still need a permit if:

  • the pit or quarry is new (new operators)
  • operations will affect these species:
    • Blue racer
    • Butler’s gartersnake
    • Common five-lined skink (Carolinian population)
    • Henslow’s sparrow
    • Small-mouthed salamander
    • Virginia mallow
    • Yellow-breasted chat
    • any species listed after the date identified in section 0.1 of O. Reg. 242/08

To apply for a permit, you need to contact a local Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry office.

Find an MNRF district office

Identify a species at risk

If you are unsure about a certain species – and would like help identifying or confirming what it is – you can see photos and get more information on the Endangered Species website.

Get more details about a species