Published plans and annual reports 2016-2017: Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Plan for 2016-2017 and results and outcomes of all provincial programs delivered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in 2015-2016.
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Part I: 2016-2017 Published Plan
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is responsible for protecting and sustainably managing the province’s diverse natural resources, and supporting Ontario’s economic prosperity, environmental sustainability and quality of life.
Healthy and naturally diverse environment that enables and contributes to sustainable development in Ontario.
Manage our natural resources in an ecologically sustainable way to ensure that they are available for the enjoyment and use of future generations.
The ministry fulfils its mandate through a broad range of legislation, policies and programs that reflect its diverse responsibilities; the ministry is responsible for, or has responsibilities under, 48 statutes.
The ministry works with a wide variety of partners and other ministries to meet current resource-based needs while at the same time ensuring that natural resources will be available for future generations.
To achieve its mandate commitments and deliver its diverse programs, the ministry:
- monitors, researches and plans the management and use of Ontario’s natural resources;
- develops legislation, policies and programs to regulate the conservation or sustainable use of Ontario’s natural resources;
- delivers direct services to the public and industry; and
- protects the public from natural disasters or occurrences, such as floods and forest fire.
In recent years, the ministry has been transforming and modernizing to ensure relevancy, effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability now and in the future to best serve the interests of Ontarians.
The ministry’s key activities include:
- Provide provincial leadership and oversight in strengthening Ontario’s biodiversity. This includes the management of fish and wildlife resources; species at risk; fish culture, stocking and aquaculture; resource monitoring, assessment and allocation; research, fish health and control of pathogens; conservation officer delivery of natural resource and public safety law enforcement; and promoting fishing and hunting opportunities.
Natural Heritage and Protected Area Management
- Provide leadership and delivery in the management and protection of natural heritage in Ontario. This includes identifying significant natural heritage features and landscapes and determining effective ways to protect them, including the establishment of provincial parks and conservation reserves and working with Aboriginal communities in the Far North on establishing dedicated protected areas; policy to influence the development of municipal official plans and bylaws; identification and confirmation of Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest; planning and management of natural heritage systems; providing sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities and education on natural heritage; delivery of the Ontario Parks program, including provincial parks operations and providing tourism opportunities; and research.
Crown land, water, and non-renewable resource management
- Provide leadership and delivery in the management of Crown lands, water resources, and non-renewable resources. This includes being accountable for the sale, disposition and stewardship of the Crown lands in Ontario and ensuring their use is sustainable; for the management of dam infrastructure, and water resources through flood, low water, and drought management, including the protection of the Great Lakes; for the management and regulation of surveys and the surveying profession within the province; and for the protection and extraction of aggregate, oil, gas and salt resources in Ontario.
- Support the provincial commitment to renewable energy and facilitate the availability of Crown land for renewable energy projects, including water, wind, solar and bio-energy.
- Provide leadership and oversight to support the sustainable use of forests for a healthy forest products sector and thriving forest-dependent communities. Management of Ontario’s forests includes policy and program development; intergovernmental co-operation on national forestry initiatives; ensuring a healthy, viable forest industry in Ontario, and fostering a competitive business environment in the forestry sector; Crown forest management planning, renewal and protection from pests; and monitoring, auditing, information management and public reporting.
Public safety and natural hazard emergency response
- Provide leadership and program delivery for the protection of people, property and communities threatened by forest fires, floods and other natural resource emergencies. This includes planning and delivery of MNRF's emergency management program, and aviation services for the Ontario government.
Land and Resources Information and Information Technology Cluster
- Provide leadership and program delivery in the development and application of information and information technology for five client ministries: Natural Resources and Forestry; Aboriginal Affairs; Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Environment and Climate Change; and Northern Development and Mines. Ensure the delivery of an integrated Information Technology infrastructure and solutions to facilitate and streamline government operations through electronic service delivery and enhance government service through e-business and e-government.
- Provide leadership for corporate strategic business planning and management. This includes fiscal controllership; sustainable infrastructure and facility management; strategic human resources planning and management; project management, supply chain management; legal counsel; communications; geospatial data creation, maintenance and distribution; organization performance, records and information management; as well as other administrative services in support of the ministry’s activities. These functions support the ministry so that it can effectively deliver on results, priorities and core programs while remaining within its financial and human resources allocations.
Ministry contribution to priority outcomes
With a mandate of protecting and sustainably managing the province’s diverse natural resources to support Ontario’s environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and quality of life, ministry programs and activities strongly and directly contribute to achieving the priority outcome of Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Mitigation.
The ministry is putting Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy into action through the implementation of Biodiversity: It’s In Our Nature, Ontario Government Plan to Conserve Biodiversity, 2012-2020. The ministry continues to work with the Ontario Biodiversity Council to maintain and update the State of Ontario’s Biodiversity. The ministry is continuing to implement the Endangered Species Act, to advance protection and recovery of more than 150 threatened and endangered species, and has contributed to the restoration of over 30,000 hectares of habitat through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund since 2007.
It will advance the plan outlined in the government’s document "A Blueprint for Change: A proposal to modernize and strengthen the Aggregate Resources Act policy framework" and Premier’s direction (2014 mandate letter) to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to bring forward regulatory and legislative changes to the Aggregate Resources Act.
The ministry is coordinating and enhancing efforts to protect natural heritage lands in southern Ontario. The ministry is co-leading the Coordinated Plan Review which includes the Niagara Escarpment Plan as well as the Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Natural heritage protection is central to the plans.
The ministry is contributing to the government’s climate change strategy by planting 50 million new trees, including one million in urban areas, and ensuring sustainable forest practices.
The ministry continues to develop a water management framework to clarify its role relative to other ministries dealing with water. The ministry’s water mandate includes:
- administering the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act and the Conservation Authorities Act;
- providing technical and policy advice on water budgeting, dam safety, surface water monitoring, natural hazard management, the management of water levels on the Great Lakes, and the regulation of Ontario’s inland waters through dam management and operations; and
- supporting the implementation of the Great Lakes Protection Act for Ontario.
The ministry is engaging stakeholders and the public in opportunities to update and modernize the Conservation Authorities Act technical standards and regulatory processes for dam-related infrastructure.
The government is committed to continuing to develop a strong, positive relationship with First Nations and will continue to work with First Nations to develop community based land use plans in the Far North that clarify both where development can occur and where land is dedicated to protection; this is the certainty that companies and investors want and need. The ministry will continue to work closely with the ministries of Northern Development and Mines and Aboriginal Affairs, First Nations and northern communities, resource industries and environmental groups to enable the region’s resources to contribute to a more prosperous, healthy and sustainable future for its people, the communities and the entire province.
The outcomes and results of the ministry’s forestry program directly contribute to the priority outcome of creating a Supportive and Dynamic Business Environment for the province’s forest sector. The ministry is supporting jobs and investment in the forestry sector through continued work to modernize forest tenure, including implementation of enhanced Sustainable Forest Licences across the province. The ministry is also investing in public forest access roads and providing financial and other support to encourage capital investment in the industry. Investment in public forest access roads creates safer roads for all users and allows industry greater access to forestry resources, which will in turn create jobs and economic growth. Work is also continuing to finalize wood supply agreements with Ontario mills and to help promote wood use and potential investment by ensuring unencumbered wood is publicized in the Available Wood Reports.
The ministry is working with the Ministry of Energy, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to implement the government’s Long-Term Energy Plan, Green Energy Act, and the procurement of clean renewable energy (e.g., Large Renewables Procurement), and to facilitate the availability of Crown land resources for renewable energy projects, including wind, water, solar and bio-energy.
The ministry is working with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines to ensure the province capitalizes on the economic opportunity represented by the Ring of Fire, an area in Ontario’s Far North that contains many globally significant deposits of chromite, a key ingredient in stainless steel, as well as numerous deposits of nickel, copper and platinum.
It will also continue to support the creation of faster, smarter and streamlined government-to-business services that make Ontario more attractive for business development while protecting the public interest.
The ministry’s Public Safety and Natural Hazard Emergency Response program plays a lead role for the province, together with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in achieving the priority outcome of Strengthening Public Safety and Security by preparing for and responding to natural resource emergencies such as forest fires and flooding.
The ministry’s Natural Resources Enforcement program also contributes to Strengthening Public Safety and Security through the enforcement of safety provisions included in natural resources legislation such as the safe hunting provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. In addition, it seeks to control rabies and monitor fish- and wildlife-borne diseases, to clean up contaminated sites, and to plug abandoned oil and gas wells.
The ministry’s mandate commitments are focused on contributing to the achievement of the Government’s Multi-Year Priority Outcomes:
- Supporting Forestry: 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 are managed in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable fashion. The ministry is also working with municipalities and other partners to promote urban forestry and to plant one million trees in urban areas as part of our commitment to plant 50 million trees province-wide.
- Minimizing the Impact of Invasive Species: The Invasive Species Act, 2015, received Royal Assent on November 3, 2015. The goal of the Act is to support the prevention, early detection, rapid response and eradication of invasive species in the province by developing regulations and supporting policy, and listing species under the Act. The Act comes into force on November 3, 2016.
- Guiding Land Use Planning: Preparing a Far North Land Use Strategy, as required under the Far North Act, to provide guidance to First Nations-Ontario planning teams on land use planning in the Far North; working with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to support environmental assessments and planning related to projects in the Ring of Fire region.
- Managing Aggregates: Engaging with stakeholders, Aboriginal communities and other ministries on the government’s "A Blueprint for Change"; and bringing forward recommended regulatory and legislative changes to improve the act.
- Strengthening Biodiversity: Working to implement Biodiversity: It’s In Our Nature, Ontario Government Plan to Conserve Biodiversity as guided by Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy; continuing to work with other ministries and partners, to advance measures aimed at further strengthening and protecting Ontario’s biodiversity.
- Protecting Wetlands: Working with other ministries, municipalities and partners to conduct a review of Ontario’s broader wetland strategy to strengthen wetland policies and stop the net loss of wetlands.
- Implementing the Endangered Species Act: Continuing to implement the Endangered Species Act in a way that protects and promotes the recovery of species at risk in Ontario.
In early 2015, the ministry completed implementation of its significant three-year Transformation Plan, initiated in response to internal financial and operational sustainability issues, and the government’s direction on transformation. Implementation of the ministry’s Transformation Plan has enabled the ministry to both support the achievement of priority outcomes and modernize the ministry’s approaches to natural resource management. The ministry remains committed to ongoing improvement and will continue to look for ways to modernize its programs to ensure that we are able to effectively and efficiently deliver on our mandate into the future.
Chart 1: Ministry Contribution to Priorities and Results
|Government Priorities||Supportive and Dynamic Business Environment|
|Government Priorities||Leader on Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change Mitigation|
|Government Priorities||Strengthened Public Safety and Security|
Ministry programs and activities
To augment and embed the ministry’s comprehensive transformation, the ministry has released a new strategic plan Horizons 2020. Horizons 2020 contains clearly-focused long-term goals, strategies and desired outcomes that will guide MNRF and focus efforts over the coming years to advance the achievement of our mandate and priorities. The ministry’s long-term strategic goals are to:
- Promote knowledge of Ontario’s natural resources, their management, and opportunities for enjoyment.
- Strengthen management of natural resources to ensure ecological integrity and resilience.
- Increase natural resource related economic benefits through innovation and sustainable resource management.
- Build a culture of organizational excellence through inspirational leadership and a shared sense of purpose.
- Increase efficiency and effectiveness of ministry programs and services through continuous improvement.
The ministry is focused on achieving mandate and program outcomes; and embedding its transformation efforts through completing business process modernization, improving its key performance indicators at both a ministry and program level, and furthering the necessary cultural changes. To ensure long-term operational and financial sustainability, the ministry is committed to continuing to identify opportunities to drive further internal efficiencies.
The following are the ministry’s 2016-17 key priorities and strategies to achieve its intended goals and continue to contribute to the achievement of the government’s multi-year priority outcomes.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will continue to work with the Ontario Biodiversity Council to assist with the implementation of Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy, 2011.
The ministry, together with 15 other ministries, will implement Biodiversity: It’s in Our Nature, which confirms the government’s commitment to biodiversity conservation and outlines the actions that Ontario government ministries will take to achieve the vision and goals of Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy.
The Ontario government recognizes the importance of biodiversity and, through the Ontario Public Service Biodiversity Network, continues to take steps to conserve it, contributing to a strong, healthy and prosperous future for our province and generations to come.
The ministry will begin the revision of the Forest Management Guide for Conserving Biodiversity at the Stand and Site Scales to incorporate the latest science and information from ongoing implementation, monitoring and reviews.
The ministry will continue to take a risk-based approach to help focus efforts on core business. Modernization efforts will continue to focus on streamlining policy and approval processes and enhancing landscape-based fisheries and wildlife management. This includes opportunities to improve customer service through automating approval processes, and implementing the concept of taking a broader landscape-based approach to managing Ontario’s wildlife, including the management of moose and bear populations.
Ontario will continue to collaborate with other jurisdictions nationally and internationally to address wildlife health, including threats from diseases like White- nose Syndrome in bats and Chronic Wasting Disease in deer including updating Ontario’s Chronic Wasting Disease response plan.
Ontario will also continue the implementation and monitoring of a five-year pilot black-bear spring hunting season intended to provide economic opportunities to northern communities and intended to help address public safety risks associated with human-bear conflict.
Implementation of the Endangered Species Act also continues to be a key priority of the ministry. The ministry will:
- continue its streamlined approach to simplifying rules for businesses, landowners and municipalities under the act, while maintaining its place as a North American leader in species protection;
- continue to publish recovery strategies, develop government response statements, management plans, propose habitat regulations, and report on progress (5-year reports) to meet legislative requirements and support the recovery of species at risk.
In addition, the ministry continues to take a risk-based approach in the development of policies that protect, conserve and aim to recover species at risk in Ontario. The ministry will continue to develop an integrated and efficient framework for forest management planning that meets the requirements of both the Endangered Species Act and Crown Forest Sustainability Act.
- The ministry will continue with the implementation of the Invasive Species Act, 2015. The goal of the Act is to support the prevention, early detection, rapid response and eradication of invasive species in the province by developing regulations and supporting policies to list species under the Act. With the act coming into force on November 3, 2016, initial priorities will include policy development and guidance, and drafting of the first set of regulations.
- Invasive species are a priority for federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) Conservation, Wildlife and Biodiversity Ministers. The ministry, with intergovernmental partners will continue to work through the federal, provincial and territorial Task Force to better position Canadian efforts to address invasive species, including strengthening policy, improving leadership and coordination, and developing strategic partnerships.
- In addition, the ministry will continue to:
- implement priority actions in the Ontario Invasive Species Strategic Plan together with OMAFRA, MOECC and MTO;
- monitor forest health and work with the federal government and other partners to manage pests and invasive plants that threaten our forests;
- act to eradicate aquatic invasive species that impact Ontario’s water bodies, including water soldier in the Trent and Black Rivers and water chestnut in Voyageur Provincial Park and at Wolfe Island, Lake Ontario;
- enhance our surveillance and monitoring for Asian carp in the Great Lakes;
- work together with partners and other governments to monitor for invasive species in neighbouring jurisdictions which pose a threat to Ontario, including the presence of Asian carp in the United States;
- partner with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, which delivers extensive programs to raise awareness of invasive species and how to prevent their spread;
- partner with the Ontario Invasive Plant Council to support management of invasive plants such as Phragmites; and
- fulfill commitments made by the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Governors and Premiers to address threats posed by invasive species to the Great Lakes, such as taking action on the Governors' and Premiers' Least Wanted List of Aquatic Invasive Species, implementation of the Mutual Aid Agreement when required, and the Michigan-Ohio-Ontario Aquatic Invasive Species Harmonization Pilot.
- The ministry will also continue to support the Invasive Species Centre at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre in Sault Ste. Marie. The centre promotes co-operation, collaboration and efficiencies in invasive species management and helps coordinate provincial, national and international efforts to address the spread of invasive species, and the negative effects they can have on the health of Ontario’s ecosystems and economy.
- The ministry will work with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) and other ministries to respond and adapt to climate change, while building a cleaner, greener and healthier Ontario. This includes implementing specific actions in the 2015 Ontario Climate Change Strategy, including:
- Working with partners to plant 50 million new trees in order to sequester 6.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The 50 Million Tree Program (50MTP) was announced in 2007 and has a goal of planting 50 million trees by 2025 province-wide as part of greening initiative to help fight climate change and to create new forests on suitable rural and urban lands. The ministry works closely with Forests Ontario to deliver the program through a multi-year agreement. The program offers funding assistance to landowners who have eligible lands and are interested in planting trees.
- Examining the role of Crown forests in managing carbon stocks, and assisting MOECC in the development of forest carbon offset management protocols. Through sustainable forest management practices, the ministry will promote the sequestration of carbon in forests and harvested wood products. The ministry will also advance forest sector innovation opportunities including use of biomass for energy and bioproducts and promotion of wood in construction.
- Developing a government approach to assessing carbon flows from agriculture, forests and other land uses. Working with OMAFRA, MMAH and MOECC, the ministry will develop a land use carbon inventory as part of Ontario’s broader greenhouse gas inventory.
- Developing a Natural Resource Climate Adaptation Strategy to advance research, monitoring and policy efforts that conserve and restore biodiversity and ecosystems, and sustainably manage natural resources in order to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience of natural systems to climate change impacts.
The ministry will support the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the MOECC in the implementation of the Pollinator Health Action Plan for Ontario. The ministry’s contribution is focusing on native pollinators, including an assessment of pollinator habitat in southern Ontario, supporting stewardship and educational initiatives and the conservation of natural heritage at a landscape scale.
The Ontario government is committed to conserving wetlands and will work to finalize and begin implementation of a Wetland Conservation Strategy for Ontario 2016-2030. The strategy provides a coordinating framework to guide wetland conservation across the province. It includes a vision, goals, and outcomes for wetlands in Ontario and sets out a series of actions the government will incrementally undertake over the next 15 years to improve wetland conservation.
Through a 15-year Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013, the ministry will continue to work with Ducks Unlimited Canada to restore, protect and enhance wetlands in Ontario.
Several conventions and collaborative agreements are also in place to ensure wetlands are conserved. Ontario continues to work with other provinces to ensure continental objectives for habitat protection, such as those established through the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, are implemented.
Ontario will continue to work with conservation organizations, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces to implement the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture which sets out a framework for wetland restoration, protection and enhancement in Eastern Canada, as well other partnerships and agreements. Participating provinces, including Ontario, will be finalizing a five-year implementation plan in 2016 for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan .
Under the Ecological Framework for Recreational Fisheries Management in Ontario, Fisheries Management Zone advisory councils have been set up in 13 out of 20 zones. Five Fisheries Management Zone (FMZs) plans have been completed, and up to three more plans will be completed this year. It is anticipated that draft plans will be brought forward for consultation in two or three more Fisheries Management Zones. Advisory Councils in the Great Lakes Fisheries Management Zones will continue to support ongoing management programs on the Great Lakes. These activities may not result in the development of FMZs plans for these waters.
The second five-year cycle of the broad-scale fisheries monitoring program began in 2013-14. Key components of the program include: cycle-two field sampling, information management, data analysis, and the production of reports, based on monitoring results from the first five-year cycle.
The ministry will continue to conduct scientific research and monitoring to inform fisheries management planning for Algonquin Park and surrounding areas.
In response to ecological concerns associated with live bait in Ontario, the ministry will continue to consult on the final phase of its review of Ontario’s approach to the harvest and use of live bait. The goals of the bait review are to ensure that:
- bait is managed to protect the health of aquatic ecosystems;
- the sustainable use of bait resources enhances the quality of life for Ontarians by providing recreational, social and economic benefits;
- bait is managed to conserve the resource and maintain a viable bait industry; and
- bait management is adaptable, effective, consistent across the province and simple to implement.
The ministry intends to begin a review and evaluation of all existing commercial fishing policies and needs. Specific focus will be given to developing and/or evaluating policies and related decision frameworks associated with the issuance and management of commercial fishing licences and agreements that govern commercial fishing operations within Ontario’s in-land waters and Great Lakes.
The ministry continues to work with the federal government and industry to support the implementation of recent changes to the federal Fisheries Act, and to coordinate activities associated with the management of fisheries and aquaculture through a number of committees designed to ensure clear roles and responsibilities associated with the delivery of these programs and, where possible, develop partnership initiatives.
In 2016, Ontario, in partnership with the federal government and other provincial/territorial agencies, will implement the Recreational Fishing Survey of Canada to provide quantitative information on angler demographics, angler effort, catch and harvest, expenditures and angler opinion on fisheries in Ontario.
The ministry will continue to work with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to prevent the spread of diseases such as Viral Hemorrhagic Septicaemia in certain species of fish.
The ministry will continue to manage Ontario’s commercial and recreational fisheries to ensure they provide sustainable ecological and economic benefits. The ministry will continue its efforts to market and generate revenue for the fish and wildlife special purpose account to support fish and wildlife programs.
The ministry continues to deliver professional law enforcement to protect Ontario’s natural resources for present and future generations.
The ministry continues to deliver the core science and information functions of science and applied research, resource monitoring and reporting, mapping and surveying, and information management, to support natural resource management decision-making.
The ministry’s Integrated Science Action Plan (ISAP), first implemented in 2015-16, ensures on-going alignment of science priorities across the ministry. For 2016-17, this on-going, cross-ministry effort will continue to align the scientific work with MNRF priorities and to inform future policy and program drivers. This action plan provides an integrated process and governance for the ministry to make well-informed decisions when setting science priorities. Risk based decision making helps to focus the ministry’s resources and management discussions around the greatest needs both current and future. For 2016-17, the ministry will seek to further entrench ISAP into decision making and enhance its utility to guide what our long term foundational science priorities are and how to balance these with time-sensitive science needs.
The ministry continues to be vigilant in controlling rabies and other fish- and wildlife- borne diseases. After 10 years without raccoon rabies, there were a number of cases found near Hamilton during the winter of 2015-16. Monitoring is under way and baiting will resume in the spring of 2016 to help prevent any new cases. The ministry will continue its vaccine bait distribution program using Ontario’s rabies vaccine, ONRAB®, to deal with any new cases that may occur.
Natural heritage and protected area management
The Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act and related regulations serve to protect biodiversity and natural and cultural heritage and to ensure that the ecological integrity of Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves is maintained. Approximately 9 per cent of the land mass of Ontario is currently protected within provincial parks and conservation reserves.
The ministry will continue to produce and amend management direction for provincial parks and conservation reserves consistent with Ontario’s Protected Areas Planning Manual (2014) and Guidelines. The ministry will continue to examine management directions to determine whether they continue to be effective in protecting values and informing and guiding management planning priorities, and to publicly report on the results of those examinations.
The ministry will continue to make progress on confirming potential Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest.
The ministry is anticipating approximately nine million visits to Ontario Parks in 2016-17. The ministry will invest in priority infrastructure upgrades in numerous provincial parks to improve accessibility and customer service.
In 2016-17, the ministry will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, other ministries, and the Niagara Escarpment Commission, to review the Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, Niagara Escarpment Plan and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Through the Coordinated Review the ministry is taking the opportunity to modernize the Niagara Escarpment Plan to address Provincial priorities, such as enhancing policy for water resources, natural heritage and agricultural uses.
The ministry will continue to support the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in implementing the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014, which provides direction on provincial interests related to municipal land use planning, including natural heritage. The ministry will deliver guidance material for several Provincial Policy Statement policy areas associated with the ministry’s mandate, including natural heritage and wildland fire policies.
The ministry will continue to work jointly with First Nations on Far North community based land use planning towards achieving a key objective of the Far North Act: the protection of areas of cultural value and protection of ecological systems by including at least 225,000 square kilometres of the Far North in an interconnected network of protected areas designated in community based land use plans. Plans will identify areas that will be dedicated to protection, and areas that are suitable for sustainable economic development opportunities such as forestry, mining and renewable energy. Aboriginal traditional knowledge and science-based information and knowledge will continue to be gathered to inform and support the preparation of a plan. The ministry will also work closely with First Nations, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, environmental groups, northern communities and resource industries to implement the Far North Act, including developing policies, regulations, and a Far North Land Use Strategy to support planning in the Far North.
Crown land, water and non-renewable resource management
Crown lands make up about 87 per cent of the province’s land mass. The ministry will respond to requests to use Crown lands for a wide variety of economic, recreational and other activities, and ensure that any authorized activities are conducted in a manner consistent with the ministry’s policies, land use plans and Class Environmental Assessment process. The ministry will continue to manage approximately 11,000 existing tenants on Crown land and ensure a fair return to the Crown through application of rents set at market value and administrative fees based on cost recovery. The ministry will continue to monitor Crown lands to protect them against unauthorized occupation.
The ministry will support the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s refreshed Ontario Trails Strategy, recognizing the important role that Crown land can play in supporting the province’s recreational and tourism interests.
Consistent with the important role that the wise use, stewardship and disposition of Crown land can play in supporting the economic health of northern and rural communities, the ministry will support the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines' implementation of the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, including development of sector-specific strategies.
There are over 100,000 kilometres of roads on Crown land and approximately 150 operating waste sites in the unorganized areas of the province. The ministry will continue to manage these assets with partners, consistent with ministry policies and provincial standards.
The ministry will maintain a robust, publicly transparent and up-to-date land use planning system for Crown land. The ministry will:
- assess the Guide for Crown Land Use Planning (2011) which provides provincial-level direction and guidance for Crown land use planning to determine the need for a comprehensive review in 2016.
- maintain the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas to ensure that land use direction is readily available to the public, industry and stakeholders.
- process amendments to Crown land use direction in an open and transparent manner, and consistent with the wise use and sustainable management of Crown land.
The ministry will provide resource management policy and program leadership and advice on a number of government and partner initiatives, such as:
- providing policy and technical leadership for the design, construction, operation, maintenance and safety of dams in Ontario;
- modernizing provincial approval requirements under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act, including clarifying regulatory roles and responsibilities for the management of dam infrastructure with other provincial ministries;
- providing policy and program oversight for the Conservation Authorities Act and engaging with ministries, municipalities and stakeholders to continue a review of the Act, including addressing roles and responsibilities, funding and governance of conservation authorities in resource management and environmental protection;
- supporting bi-national Great Lakes initiatives, such as implementing the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement, and by representing Ontario’s interests on the Agreement’s Regional Body;
- supporting implementation of the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem, while continuing to conserve and protect the Great Lakes through funding for projects across the basin;
- working with the federal government in collaboration with the International Joint Commission to ensure that Ontario’s interests are addressed as it considers new approaches to managing water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River and the Upper Great Lakes, and develop adaptive management strategies to help address climate uncertainty; and
- supporting the implementation of the Great Lakes Protection Act for Ontario, and continued implementation of Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy 2012 and the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund.
The ministry will continue to modernize Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act approval requirements, working with partner ministries, dam owners and other stakeholders, to:
- update Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act technical guidance and requirements for the operation of dams.
- implement a five-year pilot partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada to streamline Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act approvals for small low-hazard dams associated with wetland conservation projects.
The ministry will work closely with the Ministry of Finance and the waterpower industry to ensure the effective administration of the Gross Revenue Charge under the Electricity Act.
The ministry will advance the plan outlined in the government’s "A Blueprint for Change: A proposal to modernize and strengthen the Aggregate Resources Act policy framework" and support the Premier’s direction to bring forward regulatory and legislative changes. This will include advancing policy proposals and seeking further input from the public, key stakeholders and Aboriginal communities on details of new pit and quarry applications and changes to existing approvals; impacts to agriculture and water resources, including rehabilitation information and requirements, particularly with respect to agricultural lands; recycled aggregate materials; and aggregate fees. The changes will involve regulatory and legislative amendments and revised provincial standards, through a comprehensive phased approach.
The ministry will continue to support the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and the Ring of Fire Secretariat through community based land use planning with eight First Nation communities in the Ring of Fire area in order to meet requirements under the Far North Act to have a plan in place before most development can occur. The ministry will continue to provide input to environmental assessments, participate in the development of a long-term environmental monitoring framework, and undertake Aboriginal consultation.
The ministry will continue its work on the remediation of the Mid-Canada Line radar sites by implementing year eight of the project. The focus will be to complete the clean-up of the five Fort Severn Doppler Sites along with the transportation and disposal of waste material collected from the Fort Severn Doppler Sites and the Winisk Doppler Sites.
The ministry will continue its work on the full-scale remediation of the Hawkesbury Lagoon by implementing year three of this project. The focus will be on the movement of 300,000 cubic metres of sludge and saturated cellulose material from the eastern portion of the lagoon and landfilling of the material in the western portion above grade. The landfill site will be restored to permit passive recreation, and a portion of the area will be restored and returned to the Ottawa River.
In 2016-17, rehabilitation and management activities of the Steep Rock Iron Mine Site will continue to address surface contaminants remediation, water management, and land management activities related to the overall continuing reclamation of the site.
The ministry will continue to engage and inform the community and stakeholders on ongoing site rehabilitation work.
The ministry will continue to provide leadership and program delivery in the development and application of geographic information for natural resource management and decision-making, such as supporting Ontario’s changes to the Mining Act, moving forward with community based land use planning in the Far North and preservation of natural heritage in southern Ontario.
The ministry, in collaboration with municipalities, First Nations, the federal government, the private sector and environmental non-government organizations, plans to acquire approximately 42,000 square kilometres of new orthophotography (aerial photographs geometrically corrected to a uniform scale) in southeastern Ontario.
The ministry will also contribute to the government’s Information and Information Technology initiative by making land information available through a suitable infrastructure.
The ministry will continue to work with the Ministry of Energy, the Independent Electricity System Operator and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to implement the government’s Long-Term Energy Plan, Green Energy Act, and renewable energy procurement initiatives (e.g., Large Renewables Procurement, Feed In Tariff, etc.).
It will continue to implement the Renewable Energy on Crown Land policy by strategically aligning Crown land site access with provincial energy procurement programs in order to support provincial renewable energy targets. The ministry will also continue to work with industry, stakeholders, municipalities, Aboriginal communities, and the public, to foster environmentally sound renewable energy development, while advancing science and research, and facilitating community economic benefits.
The ministry will continue to provide leadership and oversight in the sustainable management of Ontario’s Crown forests, ensure a healthy, viable forest industry in Ontario, and foster a competitive business environment. Efforts will be made to continue improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the forestry program to account for changing social, economic and environmental conditions.
In conjunction with several research and funding agencies, the ministry is developing and implementing strategies and initiatives that will assist with the transformation of Ontario’s forest product sector. Innovation is key to the diversification of Ontario’s forest industry.
The ministry will work with industry, academia, and research organizations to determine the forest industry’s role in addressing climate change. The forest industry can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions reductions by producing new products that displace fossil fuels and building products that displace steel and concrete. By building on the sector’s existing strengths and capitalizing on technological innovations, the forest products industry can play a lead role in greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The ministry will support accelerating research into a project to recover lignin and sugars from a pulping process, which in turn can be used as platform chemicals for Ontario’s chemical industry in the Sarnia region, sawmill recovery improvements, transportation efficiencies, and new innovative solid wood products development. This can result in significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions and carbon sequestration.
The ministry will work toward enhancing the competitiveness of the forest and wood manufacturing industries. It will promote jobs and investment in the forestry sector through the forest tenure modernization program. This includes oversight for the Nawiinginokiima Forest Management Corporation, the implementation of enhanced Sustainable Forest Licences across the province and two Forest Sector Resource Revenue Sharing pilot projects. The pilot locations include: the Magpie and Martel Forests in Chapleau and Dubreuilville area; and the Temiskaming Forest in the Kirkland Lake and Earlton area.
The ministry will also advocate for industry on policies that impact the competitiveness of the forest industry and foster new market opportunities.
Work will also continue toward finalizing approvals for 14 wood supply agreements and ensuring unused wood is publicized in the Available Wood Reports to help promote wood use and potential investment.
The ministry will work with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to obtain Environmental Assessment Act coverage for forest management for the Cat-Slate Forest in the Far North. In addition, the ministry will continue working with MOECC to modernize existing forestry Environmental Assessment Act (EA Act) approvals to streamline forest management planning and approval requirements.
Following anticipated approval of the ministry’s proposed amendments to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change EA Act approval for forest management, the ministry will begin the process of updating the Forest Management Planning Manual, Forest Information Manual and the Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual.
The ministry will work with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to finalize revisions to the MNRF/DFO Protocol for the Review of Water Crossings Proposed Through the Forest Management Planning Process.
The ministry will continue to work with practitioners and stakeholders to enhance its focus on forest renewal efforts through the Silviculture Enhancement Initiative, established to coordinate efforts to improve policies guiding delivery and funding of the silviculture program.
The five-year State of Ontario’s Forests Report will be prepared for tabling in the Legislature. This report is a requirement of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act and Declaration Order MNR-75, and provides the state of and trends in the social, economic and environmental indicators of Sustainable Forest Management.
Planning and procurement of 12 Independent Forest Audits in 2016 are currently under way and the ministry will continue efforts to modernize the Independent Forest Audit process.
Ontario Wood continues to develop and has 238 partners licensed to use the brand. Ontario Wood will build on its successes of 2015-16, including the launch of a number of social media platforms, the nine trade and consumer shows attended, and new marketing opportunities, such as our recent presence in "House and Home" online. Ontario Wood will be expanding several seasonal themes including a building campaign during the spring and summer months (building with Ontario wood); interior design during November through February (designing with Ontario wood); Christmas tree and gift ideas made from wood during November and December, and log homes during the fall. In addition, a social media strategy has been developed as part of a larger brand awareness plan and an increased presence in these mediums is anticipated, including increased partnerships with other branches within the ministry and other ministries. Social media tools will be used to promote the environmental and economic benefits of using woods and showcasing the aesthetics and diversity of wood products that come from Ontario.
The ministry will continue to deliver the Provincial Forest Access Roads Funding Program, that benefits many users including the forest industry, mining industry, anglers, hunters, tourist outfitters, cottagers, trappers, First Nations communities, and the general public. It also provides transportation infrastructure for emergency management purposes.
Starting in 2016-17, the ministry, in cooperation with MEDEI, will deliver the Forestry Growth Fund, a new funding stream under the Jobs and Prosperity Fund. The Forestry Growth Fund will leverage new investment in the forest sector by providing funding for strategic investments that improve productivity, support innovation, enhance competitiveness, support new market access, and strengthen supply chains and regional economies.
Recent research shows the greatest challenge for Ontario’s forest industry in the next four years will be training and recruitment of new employees in all operational, planning and management areas. To help face these challenges, the ministry will continue to promote careers in both the forestry and wood manufacturing sectors. These promotions range from high school student forest operations tours, forestry orientation days, job fairs, targeted promotional career products and high school teacher events where teachers learn what educational and career paths are available for the their students. The ministry will also continue to support the Forestry Specialised High Skills Major in high schools. Through our partnership with Forests Ontario, the ministry is supporting its obligations under the Environmental Assessment Act Declaration Order 75, Condition 54, for public education about forest management by helping deliver on the Forestry Connects program. Forestry Connects offers high school students a chance to be immersed in the processes associated with how Ontario’s Crown forests are managed.
Ontario continues to support the national and international forest initiatives of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, including participation in national and international events to share information on the sustainable management of Ontario’s forests to support trade in forest products.
Public safety and natural hazard emergency response
The ministry will continue to manage the protection of people, property and communities from forest fires, floods and other natural-resource emergencies. It will continue the planning and delivery of the ministry’s emergency management program and the provision of aviation services for the Ontario government.
The ministry will continue to work closely with Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, other ministries, other provinces, First Nations, municipalities and communities, agencies and the federal government to ensure a coordinated and effective response to emergencies within Ontario. The ministry will also continue to provide emergency response support to other jurisdictions, including staff and equipment, under mutual aid agreements.
Throughout 2016-2017, the ministry will continue with facility upgrade design and construction in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Haliburton, Red Lake, Rinker Lake Attack Base and Dryden. Construction for a new Fire Management facility at the North Bay Airport is scheduled to commence in the spring of 2016.
Land and Resources Information and Information Technology (I&IT) Cluster
The mandate of the Land and Resources I&IT Cluster is to provide and manage strategic services in the lifecycle of its five client ministries' information and information technology (I&IT) assets, and to offer and manage the delivery of I&IT products and services to the ministries. The cluster serves the following ministries, which work collaboratively with LRC to achieve this mandate: Natural Resources and Forestry; Aboriginal Affairs; Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Environment and Climate Change; and Northern Development and Mines.
- supports the ministries' mandates and their transformation initiatives;
- seeks opportunities across the ministries to streamline and leverage solutions and services to maximize business value;
- provides business solutions that deliver results;
- executes responsibilities with a focus on maintaining and/or increasing overall service levels at the overall lowest possible per unit costs for I&IT products or services;
- seeks continuous improvement opportunities as part of its modernization agenda and journey to service best practices and excellence;
- leverages and optimizes the use of both human and capital resources;
- ensures that its activities support the cluster and take into consideration the overall I&IT direction set out by the Office of the Corporate Chief Information Officer (OCCIO) and other recognized corporate I&IT governance bodies; and
- provides stewardship of the I&IT assets.
The ministry’s administration program provides the corporate focus to advance the OPS modern controllership agenda. The program:
- supports the ministry so that it can effectively deliver on results, priorities and core programs while remaining within its financial and human resources allocations;
- leads enhanced accountability in the ministry through strengthened internal controls such as effective application of Directives, Delegation of Authority and cost containment strategies;
- leads controllership initiatives to support compliance with government Directives related to Transfer Payments, Special Purpose Accounts, Procurements and Agencies, Boards and Commissions;
- leads organizational excellence through leadership renewal, engaged staff and an inclusive, diverse, healthy and safe workplace;
- coordinates youth programs to support ministry-wide business and operations while building talent capacity; resulting in over 2000 employment opportunities for youth annually;
- provides geographic information and services to meet the program needs of MNRF, OPS ministries, municipal governments, public and private sectors, and Ontarians, supporting activities such as land use planning, emergency management, source water protection, and Land Information Ontario (LIO);
- supports ministry implementation of information management, Open Government, accessibility and similar initiatives;
- provides project management leadership to support the execution of the ministry’s strategic initiatives;
- leads asset management planning, 10-year capital investment planning and accommodation/facilities project management;
- supports the enterprise-wide consolidated contaminated sites clean-up initiative; and
- leads corporate strategic business planning and reporting to support government decision-making.
Ministry Key Performance Indicators
The MNRF Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have been selected to
- align with the ministry’s strategic goals;
- cover the breadth of the ministry’s programs; and,
- represent outcomes important to our stakeholders and the public.
All ministry outcomes are achieved through fostering an organization of engaged and motivated staff and a culture of continuous improvement.
Table 1: Ministry Key Performance Indicators
|Goal||Key Performance Indicator||2014-15 Achievement||2015-16 Target||2016-17 Target||Long-Term Target|
|Public Awareness - Promote knowledge of Ontario’s natural resources, their management and opportunities for enjoyment||Number of Visits at Ontario Parks (millions)||8.5||8.5||8.6||9.0|
|Healthy Ecosystems - Strengthen management of natural resources to ensure ecological integrity and resilience||Rate of compliance with resource laws and regulations||94.4%||94%||94%||94%|
|Healthy Ecosystems - Strengthen management of natural resources to ensure ecological integrity and resilience||Wildfire containment and suppression||97.7%||96%||96%||96%|
|Healthy Ecosystems - Strengthen management of natural resources to ensure ecological integrity and resilience||Area of Ontario’s land protected (hectares)||14,496,618||14,496,618||14,496,618||32,290,546|
|Sustainable Economic Benefits - Increase natural resource-related economic benefits through innovation and sustainable resource management||Percent of available Crown timber harvested||45.2%||50.2%||58.7%||65.8%|
Highlights of 2015-16 achievements
In 2015-16, the ministry continued to deliver on its mandate commitments and program priority outcomes, by:
- protecting Ontarians from natural hazards, including response to wildfires and spring flooding, including collaborative efforts with other jurisdictions and other agencies;
- protecting the health and safety of Ontarians by implementing a swift response to the first raccoon rabies occurrence in Ontario in ten years, including enhanced vaccine baiting and surveillance;
- sustainably managing Crown forests, which supports about 152,700 direct and indirect jobs in over 260 communities across the province;
- continuing the automation of approvals by allowing representatives to create and submit registrations on behalf of their clients on the MNRF Registry. The registry is also now compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. As of December 31, 2015, over 7,000 registrations have been processed via the automated system;
- managing the recreational fisheries that are enjoyed by over one million anglers that contribute almost $2.5 billion to the Ontario economy;
- providing hunting opportunities to more than 450,000 hunting Outdoors Card holders and generating over $20 million in hunting licence sales in 2015-16;
- developing Aggregate Resources policy in response to feedback from stakeholders and Aboriginal communities who were consulted on the government’s "A Blueprint for Change" and in support of the Premier’s direction to bring forward regulatory and legislative changes while continuing to oversee aggregate resources, which create over 18,500 direct and indirect jobs and contribute over $1.3 billion in annual GDP;
- supporting renewable energy generation on Crown land through the Renewable Energy on Crown Land Policy, working with the Ministry of Energy to implement the government’s Long-term Energy Plan, and generating royalties of almost $120 million annually from waterpower generation and other facilities;
- reaching draft stage of community land use planning for Deer Lake First Nation; working jointly toward draft plans with five other First Nation communities, four of them located in the Ring of Fire area; and working to implement the four community based land use plans completed. Also working with 18 other First Nation communities on various stages of planning, from collecting background information to preparing Terms of Reference;
- continued implementation of the Endangered Species Act, to advance protecting and recovery of more than 150 threatened and endangered species, including the completion of progress reports for 13 species at risk; finalization of the Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark Government Response Statements; contributed to the restoration of over 26,000 hectares of habitat through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, since 2007;
- releasing a Draft Far North Land Use Strategy and completing a regulation to extend the deadline to apply for certain types of development under the Far North Act;
- 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 Ring of Fire region while also advancing science and information efforts to consolidate provincial interests on long-term environmental monitoring; passage of the Invasive Species Act to address concerns surrounding the prevention, detection, rapid response and eradication of invasive species, and to combat invasive species through collaboration between governments and with partners;
- implementing the Integrated Science Action Plan within the ministry to guide and align ministry science with Ontario’s natural resource management needs. This ongoing process is a cross-ministry effort to collaboratively and efficiently focus our ministry resources around Ontario’s greatest science needs.
- finalizing the Integrated Monitoring Framework which is a set of strategic recommendations for the modernizing of the ministry’s monitoring activities. The Integrated Monitoring Framework has resulted in the documenting and review of monitoring activities to strengthen their design and alignment with MNRF policy and management needs.
- continuing to enhance Ontario’s system of parks and increase the area of land protected under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act and the Far North Act;
- receiving more than 9.8 million visits to Ontario’s provincial parks in 2015 from people around the world, and bringing in over $80 million in revenue;
- in 2015, Ontario Parks launched its Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative;
- continuing to implement the Government’s commitment to plant one million trees in urban areas;
- introducing young people to natural resource management by offering more students summer jobs than any other ministry – almost 2,000 in 2015-16.
The ministry worked horizontally and collaboratively with various ministries to achieve other government priority outcomes, including:
- realizing the economic potential and the need for sustainable development in the Ring of Fire area by engaging First Nations in community-based land-use planning and assisting in the development of a long-term environmental monitoring program;
- continuing to work with other ministries and partners to advance Ontario Biodiversity Strategy measures aimed at further strengthening and protecting Ontario’s biodiversity;
- releasing Wetland Conservation in Ontario: A Discussion Paper, and holding a series of public, Aboriginal and stakeholder listening sessions focused on the current framework and ideas for the future of wetland conservation in Ontario;
- the implementation of the province’s local/sectoral Resource Benefits Sharing framework through two pilots in the forest sector;
- obtaining approval by MOECC for amendments to the ministry’s environmental assessment requirements for forest management on Crown Lands in Ontario to provide for the streamlining of forest management planning for the forest industry while protecting the environment;
- contributing to sustainability of the Great Lakes through implementation of the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health and related efforts;
- supporting the development of sustainable communities through wildland fire risk mitigation planning and community partnerships;
- supporting land claim negotiations/settlements and implementation of the Crown’s duty to consult obligations for natural resource development;
- participating in regional land-use planning, including co-leading the Coordinated Plan Review (the review of land-use plans for the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the Greenbelt Plan and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe), and implementation of the Northern Growth Plan;
- continuing a review of the Conservation Authorities Act, seeking feedback from other ministries, municipalities and stakeholders on conservation authority roles and responsibilities, funding and governance;
- collaborating in enterprise-wide efforts to identify, abate and remediate contaminated sites through a risk-based and coordinated approach;
- finalizing the Land Information Ontario (LIO) strategic plan, including consultation with clients in other ministries, municipalities, and other public sector organizations;
- promoting the Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter, together with other Ontario government ministries and stakeholders focused on the challenge of reducing children’s screen time and getting kids outside.
For more information on these and other achievements, refer to the 2015-16 Annual Report.
Ministry organization chart
- Parliamentary Assistant
- Executive Assistant
- Deputy Minister
- Communication Services Branch
- Mining & Lands Commission
- Niagara Escarpment Commission
- Corporate Management & Information Division
- Corporate Finance and Controllership Branch
- Strategic Initiatives Unit
- Strategic Human Resources Business Branch
- Mapping and Information Resources Branch
- Forest Industry Division
- Business Development Branch
- Forest Tenure and Economics Branch
- Operations Branch
- Policy Division
- Strategic & Aboriginal Policy Branch
- Crown Forests & Lands Policy Branch
- Species Conservation Policy Branch
- Natural Resources Conservation Policy Branch
- Provincial Services Davison
- Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services Branch
- Enforcement Branch
- Fish and Wildlife Services Branch
- Ontario Parks
- Science and Research Branch
- Regional Operations Division
- Far North Branch
- Integration Branch
- Northeast Region
- Northwest Region
- Southern Region
- Land Resources I&IT Cluster*
- Service Management
- Strategy, Information and Program Management
- Business Solutions Services
Effective April 1, 2016
*Matrix reporting relationship to OCCIO, MAA, MOE, OMAFRA and MNDM.
Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs)
- Algonquin Forestry Authority (Classified Agency):
- responsible for forest management, including timber harvesting, in Algonquin Park. The Authority sorts, sells and delivers harvested logs to regional mills. It also may advise on, undertake and carry out forestry, land-management and other programs and projects as the Minister may authorize.
- Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (Classified Agency):
- responsible for assessing and classifying species that may be at risk in Ontario.
- Council of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors:
- regulates the practice of professional land surveying and governs the profession in accordance with the Surveyors Act, its regulations and bylaws.
- Council of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association:
- regulates the practice of forestry, and governs its members in accordance with the Professional Foresters Act, its regulations and by-laws. The governing council manages, administers and oversees the functioning of the association.
- Fish and Wildlife Heritage Commission (Classified Agency):
- established under the Heritage Hunting and Fishing Act, the Fish and Wildlife Heritage Commission makes recommendations to the minister on ways to encourage people to value our fish and wildlife resources, promote more participation in conservation and other programs, and to search out new fish-and wildlife-related opportunities.
- Lake of the Woods Control Board:
- regulates the water levels in the Lake of the Woods, Lac Seul and in the Winnipeg and English Rivers between the lake outlets and their confluence.
- Nawiinginokiima Forest Management Corporation (Classified Agency):
- responsible for sustainable forest management, and the marketing and selling of wood supplies to both existing forest industry customers and new entrants.
- Niagara Escarpment Commission (Classified Agency):
- administers the Niagara Escarpment Plan through promoting the objectives of the plan; processing and making decisions on development permit applications and making recommendations on plan amendments.
- Office of the Mining and Lands Commissioner:
- an independent judicial and administrative tribunal responsible for hearing and deciding matters under legislation administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.
- Ontario Geographic Names Board (Classified Agency):
- manages and defines the treatment of official geographic names of places and geographical features in Ontario.
- Ontario Moose-Bear Allocation Advisory Committee (Classified Agency):
- advises the minister on the allocation of moose among tourist outfitters and on the issues arising from the allocation of black bear management areas of tourist operators.
- Ontario Parks Board of Directors (Classified Agency):
- provides advice on planning, management and development of the provincial park system.
- Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board:
- a partnership among Canada, Quebec and Ontario to formulate and review policies that will lead to integrated management of the reservoirs in the Ottawa River basin.
- Rabies Advisory Committee (Classified Agency):
- advises on the scientific steps necessary for developing a successful rabies research and response program, which includes developing suitable vaccines and systems for vaccinating wild animal populations.
- Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee (Classified Agency):
- provides advice on matters related to implementation of the species at risk program, other than matters addressed by the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario.
A classified agency, though established by the government, is not considered part of the ministry. However, the government appoints the majority of its members, assigns responsibility to perform a public function and holds the agency to account.
Expenditure and Revenue Data for Agencies, Boards, Commissions
|Name||2016-17 Estimates - Expenditure $||2016-17 Estimates - Revenue $||2015-16 Interim Actuals - Expenditure $||2015-16 Interim Actuals - Revenue $||2014-15 Actuals - Expenditure $||2014-15 Actuals - Revenue $|
|Algonquin Forestry Authority||24,380,000||26,800,000||19,900,000||22,600,000||20,359,000||21,787,000|
|Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario||35,000||0||16,647||0||35,000||0|
|Council of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors||24,000||0||23,809||0||14,466||0|
|Council of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association||20,000||0||22,495||0||15,302||0|
|Fish and Wildlife Heritage Commission||30,000||0||14,499||0||31,913||0|
|Lake of the Woods Control Board||4,000||N/A*||4,000||N/A*||3,000||N/A*|
|Nawiinginokiima Forest Management Corporation||4,635,430||8,856,477||3,752,473||2,954,821||3,197,607||4,334,195|
|Niagara Escarpment Commission||2,410,100||200||2,410,100||1,850||2,460,353||0|
|Ontario Geographic Names Board||4,800||0||4,693||0||4,788||0|
|Ontario Moose-Bear Allocation Advisory Committee||30,000||0||9,097||0||10,221||0|
|Ontario Parks Board of Directors||12,000||0||5,100||0||16,526||0|
|Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board||55,688||N/A*||50,000||N/A*||49,481||N/A*|
|Rabies Advisory Committee||5,000||0||348||0||0||0|
|Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee||15,000||0||3,141||0||6,000||0|
Note: Expenditure and revenue reported in this table are also reported as part of the ministry’s overall expenditure and revenue.
* Data not available.
Ministry Financial Information
The following graph depicts the Ministry’s planned 2016-17 expenditures by Vote/Item, sub-item.
Note: numbers may not add due to rounding
Table 2: Ministry Planned Operating Expenditures by Vote/Item, Sub-Item 2016-17
|Activity Name||Ministry Planned Expenditures ($M)|
|Public Safety and Emergency Response||$100.4|
|Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account||$71.3|
|Provincial Services, Science and Research||$44.1|
|Policy and Planning||$40.5|
|Mapping and Geographic Information||$8.3|
|Land and Resources Information Technology Cluster (spends $83.4 million and recovers $52.9 million for a net balance of $30.5)||$30.5|
|Total Planned Expenditures by Activity||$734.4|
Table 3: Ministry Planned Expenditures 2016-17
|Name||Ministry Planned Expenditures ($M)|
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Table 4: Operating and Capital Summary by Vote.
The Ministry oversees the management and conservation of Ontario’s natural resources, including forests, fisheries, wildlife, Ontario’s provincial parks and protected areas, mineral aggregates, petroleum resources and Crown lands.
The Ministry envisions a healthy and naturally diverse environment that enables and contributes to sustainable development in Ontario.
The Ministry’s mission is to manage our natural resources in an ecologically sustainable way to ensure that they are available for the enjoyment and use of future generations.
The Ministry strives to achieve its vision and mission through promoting knowledge of Ontario’s natural resources, their management and opportunities for enjoyment; strengthening management of natural resources to ensure ecological integrity and resilience; and increasing natural resource-related economic benefits through innovation and sustainable resource management.
|Votes/Programs||Estimates 2016-17 $||Changes from 2015-16 Estimates $||Change %||Estimates 2015-16 * $||Interim Actuals 2015-16 * $||Actuals 2014-15 * $|
|Natural Resource Management||326,845,200||(714,200)||(0.2)||327,559,400||325,405,300||322,369,509|
|Land and Resources Information & Information Technology Cluster||30,502,700||(1,539,200)||(4.8)||32,041,900||31,505,300||31,846,429|
|Less: Special Warrants||--||--||--||--||--|
|Total Operating Expense to be Voted||497,882,700||(1,554,300)||(0.3)||499,437,000||524,375,500||503,860,226|
|Ministry Total Operating Expense||503,049,714||(1,554,300)||(0.3)||504,604,014||529,532,514||507,921,421|
|Operating Expense Adjustment - Fish & Wildlife Special Purpose Account||71,260,000||--||--||71,260,000||71,086,600||69,780,984|
|Operating Expense Adjustment - Ontario Parks Special Purpose Account||75,863,000||800,000||1.1||75,063,000||78,149,400||72,645,945|
|Consolidation Adjustment - Algonquin Forest Authority||21,045,000||(2,411,500)||(10.3)||23,456,500||20,148,800||18,144,624|
|Consolidation Adjustment - Forest Renewal Trust||63,211,300||2,859,800||4.7||60,351,500||48,607,500||49,891,562|
|Operating Expense Adjustment - Section 15 Recoveries||14,695,031|
|Operating Expense Adjustment - Other||(12,591,030)|
|Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments||734,429,014||(306,000)||(0.0)||734,735,014||747,524,814||720,488,537|
|Natural Resource Management||1,000||(201,300)||(99.5)||202,300||--||193,200|
|Land and Resources Information & Information Technology Cluster||100,000||--||--||100,000||--||--|
|Less: Special Warrants||--||--||--||--||--|
|Total Operating Assets to be Voted||1,545,600||1,189,700||334.3||355,900||918,000||233,697|
|Ministry Total Operating Assets||1,545,600||1,189,700||334.3||355,900||918,000||233,697|
|Natural Resource Management||62,650,000||25,526,300||68.8||37,123,700||37,844,000||55,699,120|
|Less: Special Warrants||--||--||--||--||--|
|Total Capital Expense to be Voted||67,837,500||25,568,300||60.5||42,269,200||42,754,800||62,134,928|
|Ministry Total Capital Expense||85,852,500||30,731,300||55.8||55,121,200||59,002,500||71,773,955|
|Consolidation & Other Adjustments||160,000||1,900||1.2||158,100||166,200||159,067|
|Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments||86,012,500||30,733,200||55.6||55,279,300||59,168,700||71,933,022|
|Natural Resources Management||29,221,000||(1,411,900)||(4.6)||30,632,900||29,638,500||22,356,846|
|Less: Special Warrants||--||--||--||--||--|
|Total Capital Assets to be Voted||62,605,100||345,700||0.6||62,259,400||55,960,600||51,567,128|
|Ministry Total Capital Assets||62,605,100||345,700||0.6||62,259,400||55,960,600||51,567,128|
|Ministry Total Operating and Capital including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including assets)||820,441,514||30,427,200||3.9||790,014,314||806,693,514||792,421,559|
* Estimates, Interim Actuals and Actuals for prior fiscal years are re-stated to reflect any changes in ministry organization and/or program structure. Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2016 Ontario Budget.
Appendix: 2015-16 annual report
Implementation of the the ministry’s comprehensive Transformation Plan to modernize and reshape its role and approaches to natural resource management, first announced in the 2012 Budget, was completed in early 2015. During 2015-16, the ministry continued to identify opportunities to drive further internal efficiencies by modernizing additional processes and functions. The ministry undertook detailed business process reviews in several foundational areas and moved forward with process improvements in areas including ministry-wide business services and administrative functions; operational policy delivery; modernizing revenue systems; and operational service delivery, such as taking a broader landscape approach to natural resource management.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry continued to work with the Ontario Biodiversity Council to assist in implementing Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy, 2011, including the release of the State of Ontario’s Biodiversity 2015 Report. The report assesses the progress against Ontario’s 15 biodiversity targets.
The ministry, together with 15 other ministries, continued to implement Biodiversity: It’s in Our Nature, which confirms the government’s commitment to biodiversity conservation and outlines the actions that Ontario government ministries will take to achieve the vision and goals of Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy.
In May 2015, over 300 people attended the first ever Ontario Biodiversity Summit which was hosted by the Ontario Biodiversity Council and the ministry. Summit participants, including representatives from other ministries and non-governmental organizations, heard, learned and shared information and ideas about the state of biodiversity in Ontario, what Ontario is doing to protect it, and where to focus future conservation efforts. The Summit included a Young Leaders for Biodiversity component where college, university and young professionals had the opportunity to meet and learn about emerging biodiversity issues and share ideas and experiences.
In recognition of the increasing concern that children are detached from nature and the outdoors, the ministry, together with partners, continued to promote the Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter. The charter outlines 12 outdoor activities that children should do before their teen years.
In 2015-16, the ministry continued to work with Forests Ontario to plant 50 million trees in southern Ontario. The ministry continued to implement the Government’s commitment to plan one million trees in urban areas.
The ministry continued to implement the Endangered Species Act through:
- publishing provincial recovery strategies for 15 more species, for a total of 108 species with strategies completed since the Act came into force in June 2008.
- completing government response statements for seven species, bringing the total number of species with a completed response statement to 93.
- completing habitat regulations for 32 species that receive habitat protection through regulation.
- completing Progress Reports five years after the publishing of a government response statement for 13 species at risk.
In anticipation of the expiry of the forest operations regulation under the Endangered Species Act in 2018, the ministry continued efforts to develop an integrated, efficient policy framework that meets the regulatory requirements of both the Crown Forest Sustainability Act and Endangered Species Act. The goal of a new framework is to provide for the protection of species at risk and establish a climate of certainty for the forest industry.
The ministry provided over $4.5 million to projects that helped to protect and recover species at risk and their habitats.
- The Species at Risk Stewardship Fund Program (SARSF) distributed $2.95 million in funding to 78 projects through individual grants with numerous organizations.
- The Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program distributed $400,000 to 108 stewardship projects on privately owned agriculture lands that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
- The Species at Risk Research Fund for Ontario distributed $537,000 to 24 projects.
- In addition, 2015-16 marked the first year of two new strategic grants under the SARSF program, with $320,000 going to the Nature Conservancy of Canada Ontario "Recovering Species at Risk in Priority Natural Areas" Initiative and $300,000 to Alternative Land Use Services Species at Risk Habitat Initiative.
The ministry continued to implement the Ontario Invasive Species Strategic Plan. The plan provides a cross-ministry provincial management framework to better address threats posed by invasive species. The objectives of the plan focus on the prevention, early detection, and rapid response to new invaders, and the effective management of existing invaders when eradication is not possible.
The Invasive Species Act was passed to address concerns surrounding the prevention, detection, rapid response and eradication of invasive species and to promote collaboration between governments and with partners.
The ministry has continued to:
- implement priority actions in the Ontario Invasive Species Strategic Plan together with OMAFRA, MOECC and MTO, such as working with MOECC to expand the list of herbicide tools available to control invasive plants like Phragmites;
- monitor forest health and work with the federal government and other partners to manage pests and invasive plants that threaten our forests;
- eradicate aquatic invasive species that infect Ontario’s water bodies, including water soldier in the Trent and Black Rivers, water chestnut in Voyageur Provincial Park and at Wolfe Island, and tench from a site near Orangeville;
- conduct surveillance and monitoring for Asian carp in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and participate in responses to grass carp detections with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans;
- working with partners and other governments to monitor for invasive species in neighbouring jurisdictions which pose a threat to Ontario, including the presence of Asian carp in the United States and hydrilla in the Niagara River;
- partner with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters to deliver extensive programs to raise awareness of invasive species, how to prevent their spread, and how to report suspected occurrences;
- partner with the Ontario Invasive Plant Council to develop management and eradication tools, such as best management practices for aquatic invasive plants;
- fulfill commitments made by the Council of Great Lakes Governors and Premiers of Ontario and Quebec to address threats posed by invasive species to the Great Lakes such as taking action on the Governors' and Premiers' Least Wanted List of Aquatic Invasive Species (e.g., ecological risk assessments have been conducted for all species, socio-economic risk assessments are under way, and discussions on risk assessment harmonization/reciprocation have occurred with Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin), and implementation of the Mutual Aid Agreement when required; and
- support the Invasive Species Centre at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre in Sault Ste. Marie. The centre promotes co-operation, collaboration and efficiencies in invasive species management and helps coordinate provincial, national and international efforts to address the spread of invasive species and the negative effects they can have on the health of Ontario’s ecosystems and economy.
The ministry continued to make progress on modernizing Ontario’s fish and wildlife management programs through the application of the ministry’s risk-based approach to modernization of approvals and applying the principles of a broader landscape approach.
The ministry provided hunting opportunities to more than 450,000 hunting Outdoors Card holders and generated over $20 million in hunting licence sales in 2015-16.
Wildlife disease detection and monitoring continued. In partnership with the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre, the ministry continued to undertake surveillance to detect White-nose Syndrome in bats, and support national efforts to implement Canada’s White-nose Syndrome Management Plan, and the development of an Ontario White-nose Syndrome Response Plan.
The ministry continued with implementing the pilot expansion of the spring bear hunt which gathers information to assist in assessing concerns related to human-bear conflicts.
The ministry continued to manage the recreational fisheries that are enjoyed by over one million anglers and contribute almost $2.2 billion to the Ontario economy.
The ministry continues to manage the commercial fishery which generates an estimated $35 million dollars in landed value.
In 2015-16, the ministry released Ontario’s Provincial Fish Strategy. The strategy will provide a framework for future fisheries management and establishes goals and objectives for our fisheries program at a provincial scale.
The ministry has been working with both an internal team and an external stakeholder group to develop and evaluate options on a variety of topics related to use and harvest of bait (i.e., baitfish and leeches). Over the past 18 months, the ministry has posted three policy proposals to the Environmental Registry to gather feedback on options that are being considered.
Ontario continues to support the operation and delivery of the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario, a world-renowned freshwater research facility that supports research to help us understand the many threats to clean water, through an agreement with the International Institute for Sustainable Development to provide up to $2 million annually for four years, beginning in 2014.
The ministry continued its development of new ways to market and generate revenue for the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account to support fish and wildlife programs, including the continuation of a Learn to Fish program in partnership with the Ontario Parks Learn to Camp program. The Learn to Fish program was successfully expanded to include a mobile unit which attended outreach events across the province to promote fishing opportunities.
Fish culture stations provided approximately 8.9 million fish for stocking purposes.
Fish ON-Line, a web-based application that anglers can use to find information on Ontario’s vast fisheries resource, continues to be a tremendous success. During the 2015-16 fiscal year, Fish ON-Line received over 179,100 page views, a 16 per cent increase over the previous fiscal year. In addition, a number of enhancements were made to the application, including the development of a version for mobile devices released in April 2012, and improved functionality of the application.
Support continued for the Joint Strategic Plan for the Management of Great Lakes Fisheries by working with the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission Plan signatories (Canadian and US Federal and US State jurisdictions) to coordinate fisheries and environmental management planning supporting international agency collaboration, sustainable fisheries and invasive sea lamprey control.
In 2015-16 the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) continued to promote and strengthen the Community Hatchery Program. Forty-one community hatcheries received program funding to support general operating costs and 24 of these also received small capital improvement grants to improve hatchery operations. The program has benefited from increased program communications and profile through a variety of media including:
- radio show interviews with community hatchery operators;
- Angler and Hunter Hotline articles in the Ontario Out of Doors magazine;
- a new Facebook page;
- a Program brochure; and
- several presentations delivered on the program.
The ministry is building on the success of the past three years and will enter into a new agreement with OFAH in 2016 to continue to deliver the Community Hatchery Program.
Since its 2013 launch, the Land Stewardship and Habitat Restoration Program’s $300,000 annual fund has helped improve, restore or create more than 1,887 hectares of habitat including plantings of over 105,000 trees and shrubs, supported the hiring of 182 people, and leveraged over $2.3 million in project-partner funding. In 2015-16 the program supported 22 projects that focused on advancing biodiversity conservation at the landscape level, achieving the restoration, creation or enhancement of over 500 hectares of land, with the support of over 110 partners.
The ministry continued its successful rabies management programs in 2015-16. Research focused on the continued implementation and development of the oral rabies vaccine known as ONRAB®, which is in its tenth year of field trials. Nearly 220,000 ONRAB® baits were distributed in the Hamilton area in response to the new cases of raccoon rabies in December 2015. Surveillance to document the distribution of positives cases and inform the design of our 2016-17 control program was done from December 2015 through March 2016. The rabies control work in the Hamilton area was done with the active collaboration of partners, including MOHLTC, OMAFRA, and the local Health Units.
2015-16 has marked the first year of implementation of the ministry’s Integrated Science Action Plan (ISAP). This is an on-going, cross-ministry effort to continue to align scientific work with ministry priorities and to inform future policy and program drivers. This action plan provides an integrated process and governance for our ministry to make well-informed decisions when setting science priorities. For example, risk assessment has helped to focus our resources and management discussions around the greatest needs. ISAP is now guiding what our long term foundational science priorities are and how to balance these with time-sensitive science needs.
To further modernize the ministry’s broad science portfolio, the Integrated Monitoring Framework (IMF) initiative is nested within the Integrated Science Action Plan. IMF will result in documented monitoring activities for MNRF that reflect the business priorities set out in ISAP. In 2015-16, a detailed suite of recommendations has been approved to modernize terrestrial and aquatic monitoring programs within the ministry. Monitoring activities provide information to inform policy development and implementation, and provide a basis to understand the current state and trend of natural resources. They also inform and support resource allocation decisions and help to understand broader factors that impact the resilience of our natural resources. Modernizing the ministry’s approach to monitoring natural resources helps ensure a healthy and diverse environment that continues to contribute to the conservation of resources and sustainable development in Ontario.
The ministry continued to deliver professional enforcement operations including outreach, inspection and investigation services to protect provincial resources.
Natural heritage and protected area management
In 2015-16, Ontario’s system of parks and protected areas remained stable at 10.6 million hectares, or about 10 per cent of the province’s terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
The ministry continued to make progress on management planning for the Whitefeather Forest Dedicated Protected Areas, and additional planning processes for provincial parks and conservation reserves. Management direction examinations were completed for several provincial parks and conservation reserves.
In 2015, Ontario’s provincial parks received more than 9.8 million visits from people around the world, which supported local economies across the province. Ontario Parks continues to fund the majority of annual operating expenditures via revenue from park user fees, with revenues to the Ontario Parks Special Purpose Account over $80 million in the 2015 season. Construction of roofed accommodation projects continued in some parks, complementing car camping options for visitors during the 2015 camping season.
A partnership agreement between Ontario and Beausoleil First Nation to operate Springwater Provincial Park was signed on July 3, 2015. Under the five-year partnership, from 2015 to 2019, the First Nation will operate Springwater Provincial Park for day-use and provide visitors with picnic areas, walking trails and recreational day-use activities.
A partnership agreement between Ontario and Complex RE LP Subsidiary of Moose Cree First Nation to operate Tidewater Provincial Park for the 2015 season was made effective on April 1, 2015. Under the three-year partnership, from 2015 to 2017, the First Nation will operate Tidewater Provincial Park with the goal of increasing visitation rates and revenue.
In 2015, Ontario Parks launched its Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative. This initiative showcases the link between visiting parks and a healthy lifestyle. On July 17, 2015, Ontario Parks offered free day use at all provincial parks across the province to celebrate Healthy Parks, Healthy People.
In August 2015, Ontario Parks also held a 30x30 Challenge in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation and Dr. Lisa Nisbet of Trent University. Ontario Parks visitors were encouraged to sign up and spend 30 minutes per day in nature for 30 days.
The ministry participated in regional land-use planning, including co-leading the Coordinated Plan review of land-use plans for the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the Greenbelt Plan and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe; and helped implement the Northern Growth Plan. Natural heritage protection is central to the Coordinated Plan review and will likely be enhanced through the review.
Under the Far North Act, communities that have completed plans – Pikangikum, Cat Lake, Slate Falls, Pauingassi and Little Grand Rapids – are now working with the ministry on implementation. Implementation activities include Pikangikum and Cat Lake-Slate Falls pursuing sustainable commercial forestry, and the dedicated protected areas of Pauingassi, Pikangikum, and Little Grand Rapids playing a key role in seeking UNESCO World Heritage Status.
In June 2015, Deer Lake First Nation and the ministry posted the Deer Lake Draft Community based Land Use Plan on the Environmental Registry. Six other First Nation communities completed their Terms of Reference: Marten Falls, Eabametoong and Mishkeegogamang, Webequie, Wawakapewin and Constance Lake. Four of them are located in the Ring of Fire area. Eleven other communities are working with the ministry in the various stages of preparing community based land use plans, from capacity building, mapping traditional knowledge, collecting background information, to preparing draft Terms of Reference. Seven others are engaged in ongoing discussion to renew or explore interests in planning. Advanced science and information projects to support planning resulting in improved resource inventories and surveys (e.g., biodiversity, natural heritage and aquatic assessment pilot); increased research and monitoring (e.g., stream gauges, fish mercury and peatland carbon research), and application of decision support tools (e.g., Ontario Flow Assessment Tool and hydrology data training). Topographic, land cover and disturbance mapping of sufficient scale and quality for land use planning has been produced, and mapping products have been provided to First Nation communities.
Public consultation on a Far North Land Use Strategy continues with the release of a draft Strategy to the public and consultation with First Nations, stakeholders, and the public. This included the largest engagement meeting with First Nations the ministry has ever held, Planning Together 4, with more than 115 representatives from First Nations across the Far North. The ministry continued working with a self-identified group of First Nation community members to seek advice on preparation of the Strategy and the establishment of a joint body. A regulation was issued following public consultation to extend the application deadline in the Far North Act for certain developments to proceed while a land use plan is being prepared from January 31, 2016, to January 31, 2018. Also, three Minister`s Orders were issued to allow developments important for a sustainable economy that benefits First Nations to proceed under the Far North Act.
Crown land, water and non-renewable resource management
Crown lands make up about 87 per cent of the province’s land mass. The ministry responded to numerous requests for use and access to Crown lands for a wide variety of economic, recreational and social activities, and ensured that any authorized activities were conducted in a manner consistent with the ministry’s legislation, regulations, policies and planning direction. The ministry managed approximately 11,000 tenants to provide sustainable revenue to the Crown. It also monitored Crown lands to protect them against unauthorized occupation.
The ministry continued to implement the five-year pilot program partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada to streamline Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act approvals for small low-hazard dams associated with a wetland conservation project. The ministry also worked closely with partner ministries, dam owners, First Nations, the waterpower industry and other stakeholders to modernize Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act approval requirements, including technical guidance and requirements for repairs to existing infrastructure and the location of new dams.
The ministry moved forward with a review of the Conservation Authorities Act, seeking feedback from other ministries, municipalities and stakeholders on conservation authority roles and responsibilities,funding and governance.
Building on the Standing Committee recommendations, and input from stakeholders, and aboriginal communities, the province released a consultation document "A Blueprint for Change" in the fall of 2015. This document outlined proposed changes to modernize and strengthen the Aggregate Resources Act policy framework. The proposed changes included stronger oversight, increased environmental accountability, standardized fees, royalties and requirements between Crown Land and private land sites, and improved information and participation in the management of aggregate operations. Over 400 comments were received on the Blueprint from a wide range of people and organizations. This valuable input will inform the path forward to build a strong and modern policy framework for aggregate resources.
The ministry has also begun discussions with municipal organizations on aggregate fees to consider opportunities to better address impacts to municipal infrastructure associated with aggregate operations.
The ministry is working on finalizing policy proposals on the details of new pit and quarry applications and changes to existing approvals; impacts to agriculture and water resources, including rehabilitation information and requirements, particularly with respect to agricultural lands; recycled aggregate materials; and aggregate fees. The changes will involve legislative and regulatory amendments and revised provincial standards, through a comprehensive phased approach including legislative amendments (anticipated spring 2016), followed by regulatory and Provincial Standard changes (should legislative changes pass). There will be further opportunities for public input on the more detailed content of the policy changes.
Under the Abandoned Works Program, the ministry safely and successfully decommissioned 19 abandoned petroleum wells located on private land in southern Ontario.
In 2015-16, the ministry received 13 applications from operators of unlicensed private gas wells under the Private Gas Well Licensing Policy and Incentive Program. Of the thirteen applications, seven wells have been licensed for use, two licensed for the purpose of 100 per cent plugging under the Incentive Program, and four applications are in the process of licensing.
The ministry is collaborating in enterprise-wide efforts to consolidate clean-up of contaminated sites. It is leading a $94 million project with local First Nation communities to clean up 16 abandoned radar sites that are part of the Mid-Canada Line dating back to the Cold War. In 2015-16, the ministry, continued clean-up of the last remaining large site known as Site 415, as well as the Winisk Doppler Sites. Work will continue throughout 2016-17.
The ministry has completed the second year of full scale remediation efforts at the Hawkesbury Lagoon site. The goal of this three-year project is to restore the landfill site to permit passive recreation and return a portion of the restored area to the Ottawa River. In 2015-16, the ministry also continued work on a long-term rehabilitation plan for the Steep Rock Mine Site.
In 2015-16, the ministry supported mineral development in the Ring of Fire by working with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and the Ring of Fire Secretariat. The ministry initiated land use planning, is working with MOECC and MNDM to develop a framework for long-term environmental monitoring, assisted with developing a Memorandum of Understanding with Neskantaga, provided input to environmental assessment processes, participated in multi-ministry committees, and initiated Aboriginal consultation on early permits related to the Ring of Fire. Inter-ministry discussions with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines were initiated on the requirement and need for a Long-Term Environmental Plan for the Ring of Fire Area. Further work will continue in 2016-17.
The ministry supported land claim negotiations, settlements and implementation of the Crown’s duty to consult obligations for natural resource development. In 2015, the ministry supported a flood claim settlement and implementation of what is called the Mishkee Settlement with Mishkeegogamang Ojibway First Nation. During this past year, ministry district and legal staff continued to work with Canada, Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One to complete the land transfer portion of the agreement. This process was anticipated to take two years to complete and all parties are working to reach mutual agreement on the technical details necessary to transfer the lands to the First Nations.
The ministry contributed to the negotiation, and follow up to the release and public consultation on a Preliminary Draft Agreement-in-Principle for the Algonquin Comprehensive Land Claim, released in 2012. The Government of Canada, the Ontario government, led by the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, and the Algonquins of Ontario have been negotiating the claim for over 20 years. In June 2015 the three parties released the Proposed Agreement-in-Principle that reflected several significant changes as a result of the public consultation activities.
A new memorandum of understanding was developed between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Office of the Mining and Lands Commissioner in 2015-16.
The ministry worked with the Ministry of Energy, Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to implement the Long-Term Energy Plan and associated energy procurement programs, and to support renewable energy development opportunities on Crown and private lands while ensuring protection of natural heritage. This included supporting provincial project tracking in collaboration with the Renewable Energy Facilitation Office, ongoing litigation, Environmental Review Tribunal hearings, and enhancements to the ministry’s Renewable Energy Atlas.
The ministry also worked with IESO to align the renewable energy site access process on Crown land with Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff 4 and Large Renewable Procurement 1 programs, including development of a memorandum of understanding to ensure alignment of administrative priorities.
The ministry supported renewable energy generation on Crown land through implementation of the Renewable Energy on Crown Land Policy. Royalties of almost $120 million were generated annually from waterpower generation sites and other facilities.
The ministry continued to support a collaborative bird and bat monitoring database with Bird Studies Canada.
The ministry continues to sustainably manage Crown forests, which supports approximately 152,700 direct and indirect jobs in over 260 communities across the province. In 2015 the total value of exports of Ontario’s wood products, logging, pulp and paper and furniture product manufacturing was $6.24 billion to all destinations globally, with the U.S. accounting for more than 95% of all exports. This is up from $5.51 billion in 2014.
Six Independent Forest Audits were completed in 2015 and action plans are being developed in response.
The ministry received approval from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change for an amendment to our Declaration order to consolidate MNR-71 and MNR-74 into a single Declaration Order (MNR-75) and to streamline forest management planning and approval requirements.
The ministry completed reviews of the Forest Management Guide for Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Landscapes and the Forest Management Guide for Conserving Biodiversity at the Stand and Site Scales. The ministry completed its work on the Silviculture Enhancement Initiative and will be developing policy instruments to implement the policy decisions.
The largest wood supply competition ever held in North America was completed in 2011, and the ministry continues to implement the results. A total of 46 Supply Agreement offers were made. Two supply agreements were executed in 2015-16. Draft supply agreements have been reached with 14 proponents, and these are moving through the approval process. An additional 14 supply agreement offers are in various stages of completion. Sixteen proponents have elected not to proceed to supply agreements and the ministry has withdrawn these offers of wood supply. Wood supplies freed up from withdrawn wood supply offers have been added to the volumes reported in the ministry’s Available Wood Report.. The reports inform parties interested in new economic development opportunities in Ontario’s forest industry of the location and volumes of available wood supply. The ministry entered into one supply agreement with a company outside of the wood supply competition in order to support the restart and expansion of its forest resource processing facility.
Since 2011, responsibility for managing a number of forests, previously managed by Sustainable Forest Licence holders, has been returned to the Crown. Through a number of initiatives, including issuing Forest Resource Licences to Aboriginal companies in the North, the ministry has ensured that tree harvesting and associated economic benefits can continue. The ministry continues to work together with Cat Lake and Slate Falls First Nation in seeking Environmental Assessment Act coverage for forest management to allow development of a new forestry opportunity. A request to amend the Declaration Order MNR-75 to include the Cat-Slate Forest in the Area of the Undertaking for forestry was submitted in 2015-16. This Declaration Order outlines the environmental assessment process that must be followed when planning forestry on Crown land to ensure that potential environmental effects and public and aboriginal input are considered before forestry operations begin.
The ministry continues to advance implementation of the province’s Forest Sector Resource Revenue Sharing framework to improve relationships and economic benefits for First Nation communities. In the spring of 2015, the ministry received approval to enter into Memorandum of Understanding and Transfer Payment Agreement for the first pilot with local First Nations in the Martel and Magpie Forest Management Units. Approval was received in January 2016 for the second pilot project for the Temiskaming Forest in the Kirkland Lake and Earlton area.
The ministry continues to work toward enhancing the competitiveness of the forest industry through the Forest Tenure Modernization program. The first Local Forest Management Corporation (Nawiinginokiima Forest Management Corporation) continues to evolve towards an effective and efficient vehicle for increasing the social and economic value derived from Ontario’s public forest. The organization has developed a productive working relationship with local and Aboriginal communities and forest industry stakeholders, and is positioning itself to receive Sustainable Forest Licences. There has also been progress made in the transition to enhanced Sustainable Forest Licences with discussions under way on four forests which are currently under management by the Crown.
In 2015-16, the ministry delivered the Provincial Forest Access Roads Funding Program’s full allocation of $60 million. This funding supports road maintenance and construction of public forest access infrastructure that support forest harvest activity, mining companies, tourism, cottagers, anglers, hunters, First Nations, utilities, railways and emergency management.
The ministry worked closely with MEDEI to design the criteria and develop the scorecard for the Forestry Growth Fund, a new funding stream under the Jobs and Prosperity Fund. Processes have been finalized and staff have been trained to implement the program.
The Ontario Wood brand continues to develop and has 238 partners licensed to use the brand. Ontario Wood launched a number of social media platforms, attended nine trade and consumer shows, and explored new marketing opportunities such as a presence in "House and Home" online to support a Christmas campaign.
The Ontario Wood Promotion Program (OWPP) supported efforts to foster a culture of wood use in Ontario. This included support to the Canadian Wood Council’s WoodWORKS initiative for the provision of technical advice for architects and engineers to take advantage of recent changes to the Ontario Building Code that allow wood buildings up to six-storeys. Support was provided to the Bluewater Wood Alliance which, as a cluster, supports wood manufacturing in southwestern Ontario, and Forests Ontario which provide programing to educate youth and Ontarians about the forest management practices and the industry in Ontario.
Ontario has cooperated with a number of other provinces and the federal government through the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers to meet with key consumers of Canadian forest products to assure them that our forests are managed in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable manner. Ontario chaired the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers and hosted a Federal/Provincial/Territorial Meeting in July 2015. Annually, Ontario attends a number of trade and investment marketing events focused on promotion of Ontario as a supplying jurisdiction of choice and highlighting sustainable forest management practices as a key part of the rationale supporting import of Ontario forest products by international customers. Ontario is a key participant in the Forest in Mind program, a collaborative, proactive market intelligence and advocacy program of the Council supported by Canadian missions abroad. The program undertakes an average of approximately 30 events/initiatives per year, with a budget of about $300,000 to position Canada as a world leader in sustainable forest management and environmental stewardship to protect and enhance market access for Canadian forest products.
The ministry continued its efforts to support the export of Ontario wood products through participation in consumer and trade events and by supporting incoming buyers' missions. In the 2015-16 fiscal, the ministry organized the participation of Ontario wood product manufacturers in six consumer and trade shows across North America and organized an incoming lumber buyers' mission from India. In the last quarter of this fiscal, six more trade events were organized in India, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. For the six completed shows between March 2015 – January 2016, ministry staff were joined by 18 Ontario-based wood products firms that generated $153,500 in actual sales and 256 leads estimated to be worth more than $10 million in anticipated sales over the next 12 months.
Public safety and natural hazard emergency response
The ministry continues to protect Ontarians from natural hazards, including response to spring flooding which requires collaborative efforts with local communities, conservation authorities and other agencies. The ministry continued to support the development of sustainable communities through wildland fire risk mitigation planning and community partnerships.
The ministry responded to a number of spring flooding incidents affecting many parts of the province. Spring flooding in 2015 resulted in three declarations of emergencies in the James Bay area. During the April and May ice breakup in the Far North, emergencies were declared and the ministry facilitated the evacuation of residents in both Kashechewan and Peawanuck First Nations due to ice jams.
The Surface Water Monitoring Centre provided assistance to the Far North community of Moose River First Nation as the Moose River flows exceeded levels recorded since 1966. The ministry participated in a very successful partnership with several First Nations, the provincial and federal governments to pilot a satellite radar ice breakup tool that successfully predicts ice jams on Far North rivers. Spring flood forecasting and updates to communities continued over twelve weeks from southern Ontario to the James Bay coast.
Summer flooding occurred when 123 mm of rain fell in less than 12 hours in the Thunder Bay area, flooding occurred along the Whitefish River.
Over the course of the year, the Surface Water Monitoring Centre issued 218 flood advisory statements regarding potential flood producing conditions across Ontario.
The 2015 wildfire season in Ontario included a few challenging wildfires in Ontario and deployment of resources across Canada and into the United States. Northern areas of the province experienced a number of high to extreme wildfire hazards, and some fires of note caused disruption and road closures. The Ministry recorded 666 fires affecting a total area burned of 39,312 hectares.
In 2015, Ontario provided personnel and aircraft resources for wildfire management through mutual aid agreements. Staff and/or aircraft were sent to Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and the United States., Assistance was also provided to Parks Canada. During the fiscal year, the ministry began construction of the Thunder Bay Fire Management Headquarters/Provincial Logistics Centre and continued the construction of the Haliburton Fire Management Headquarters and the Sudbury Forest Fire Management Centre. The ministry improved service delivery and enhanced public safety through completed capital investment in Armstrong and Sioux Lookout.
The ministry, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Environment Canada and CN, responded to two serious train derailments involving spills of crude oil that occurred in Regan Township and Jack Township in Northeastern Ontario in February and March 2015. Remediation efforts at both sites will be continuing in 2016-17, and the ministry will continue to provide support as the response effort is completed.
The ministry introduced young people to natural resource management by offering more students summer jobs than any other ministry – approximately 2,000 in 2015-16 through six youth employment programs. The ministry’s employment programs give Ontario’s young people the opportunity to obtain meaningful work experience, develop practical, personal and professional skills, and gain a deeper appreciation of their role in the stewardship of Ontario’s natural resources.
The ministry finalized the Land Information Ontario strategic plan, including consultation with clients in other ministries, municipalities, and other public sector organizations.
The ministry is completing facility renovations in support of ministry program delivery across the province. These projects have contributed 130,717 rentable square feet of accommodations space savings to the government’s overall space reduction targets over the past three years.
The ministry continues to take responsibility for the clean-up of its legacy contaminated sites, undertaking projects to ultimately reduce the overall provincial liability. The ministry has captured the necessary data and prioritized sites in order to maintain a risk-based approach to the remediation of contaminated sites.
Table 5: Ministry Interim Actual Expenditures.
|Programs||Ministry Interim Actual Expenditures ($M) 2015-16 *|
|Staff Strength ** (as of February 29, 2016)||3,836.51|
* Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2016 Ontario Budget.
** Ontario Public Service Full-Time Equivalent positions.
Who to call
For questions or comments, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
Whitney Block, Room 6630
99 Wellesley Street West
Communications Services Branch
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Whitney Block, Room 5440
99 Wellesley Street West
Further information about the ministry and its programs can be found on the ministry’s website.