Significant wildlife habitat criteria schedule for Ecoregion 4E

ERO number
Notice type
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal posted
Comment period
December 16, 2016 - January 30, 2017 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:

December 16, 2016
to January 30, 2017

Proposal summary

Ontario is a big place with incredible wildlife diversity. The way we protect wildlife habitat often varies by region. We are developing a technical manual about the identification, description and prioritization of significant wildlife habitat in the northeast region of the province.

Proposal details

Description of policy

The Significant Wildlife Habitat Technical Guide (SWHTG) (2010) was developed to support the Provincial Policy Statement and the Natural Heritage Reference Manual and is a more detailed technical manual that provides information on the identification, description and prioritization of significant wildlife habitat.

It is a guide that is advisory in nature and intended to be used by ecologists, biologists, environmental planners and others involved in the development of strategies to identify and protect significant wildlife habitat in the municipal planning and renewable energy planning processes.

The SWHTG was produced in the year 2000 by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and was approved in March 2001 (Environmental Registry (ER) number PB00E6005). The SWHTG has mainly been used by the development industry to support municipal planning purposes, but recently has been used by consultants for proposed renewable energy developments. The SWHTG provides descriptions of wildlife habitats for the province of Ontario that are to be considered for significance, it provides information, references, and criteria for determining significance of wildlife habitat.

During development of the Oak Ridges Moraine Technical Papers in 2004, it was found that the SWHTG has gaps related to significance criteria when looking at specific landscapes. The SWHTG recognizes that due to Ontario’s vast size and incredible biodiversity, what may be significant in one location may not be significant in another. To address these differences, MNRF has created Significant Wildlife Habitat Eco-regional Criteria Schedules that support the SWHTG. These schedules provide significance criteria that are reflective of the SWHTG and specific to the geographic area of each eco-region. The schedules do not replace the SWHTG, but are companion documents to present the significance criteria for identifying candidate significant wildlife habitat in an eco-region in a format that will be more efficient and effective for the development industry to use. To date, final criteria schedules have been produced for eco-regions 3E, 5E, 6E and 7E. Schedule 4E represents the final criteria schedule to be drafted for the Northeast Region. This schedule follows the criteria within the SWHTG as well as similar development and formatting to those schedules which have been previously finalized. As interim direction until the schedules are finalized, the criteria and information identified in this schedule for eco-regions 4E will be deemed to be acceptable by the MNRF.

The Provincial Policy Statement under the Planning Act, Ontario Regulation 359/09 (Renewable Energy Approval Regulation) under the Environmental Protection Act, and environmental assessment guidance such as the Class Environmental Assessment for Resource Stewardship and Facility Development Projects, all recognize significant wildlife habitat (SWH) as a natural heritage feature in the province of Ontario. The SWHTG was developed as a policy document to support development applicants when considering SWH. Across Ontario, policy for SWH sets out requirements to identify habitat and then consider the potential effects on habitat during the development planning process. This way, the potential negative environmental effects on identified habitat can be considered and mitigation measures can be utilized to minimize those effects. To be identified as SWH, the wildlife habitat must be described in the SWHTG and meet the significance criteria. Therefore only the best, most representative and rarest wildlife habitats are considered significant. Habitat for Endangered and Threatened species identified within the Endangered Species Act are not included as SWH and not a part of this policy proposal.

Purpose of policy

To give notice of and invite comment on proposed eco-regional significance criteria related to the determination of Significant Wildlife Habitat in Eco-region 4E within the province of Ontario.

Other information

The methodology for development of the draft eco-region schedules was presented to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the draft eco-regional schedules were presented to MNRF staff as part of the Renewable Energy Natural Heritage Assessment Guidance training (spring to fall 2010) and to renewable energy consultants and proponents during training held in January and May 2011.

Link to draft 4e schedule.

The following weblinks provide supporting information:

Final Eco-regional Criteria Schedules 3E, 5E, 6E, 7E and References

Map of the Ecoregions of Ontario

Significant Wildlife Habitat Technical Guide

Public consultation

This proposal was posted for a 45 day public review and comment period starting December 16, 2016. Comments were to be received by January 30, 2017.

All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.

Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.

Other public consultation opportunities

Consultation has been ongoing for the development of the eco-regional criteria schedules since Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) Significant Wildlife Habitat Technical Paper Number 2 was produced in 2004 and approved in 2007. ORM guidance is the predecessor to the draft eco-regional criteria schedules. Consultation with the development, mineral and aggregate industries, conservation authorities, municipalities and provincial ministries has occurred prior to the Environmental Registry posting for previous criteria schedules (3E, 5E, 6E, 7E). Methods, formatting, and details in the development of the criteria schedule for 4E was similar to previous schedules.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.


Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from December 16, 2016
to January 30, 2017

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Lisa Keable

Phone number
Northeast Region

5520 101 Highway East
PO Bag 3020
South Porcupine, ON

Office phone number

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