This notice is for informational purposes only. There is no requirement to consult on this initiative on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. Learn more about the types of notices on the registry.
Why consultation isn't required
On April 1, 2020, the Ontario Government made a temporary regulation to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Ontario Regulation 115/20 exempts all proposals for policies, acts, regulations and instruments from posting requirements under the EBR.
Ontario Regulation 115/20 was revoked on June 15, 2020, however we are posting this decision as a bulletin because the proposal was posted on May 19, 2020 while Ontario Regulation 115/20 was in effect.
Although consultation was not required, the ministry did consult with the public on this proposal by posting ERO# 019-1620 for public comment from May 19 - June 18, 2020. To ensure transparency, the ministry is providing details of its decision and the effects of consultation on decision-making in this notice.
A decision was made to proceed with the proposal, and the Regulation was filed June 29, 2020.
The proposal was implemented by an amendment to Ontario Regulation 242/08 (General) by Ontario Regulation 238/20. This regulation was filed by the Registrar of Regulations on June 29, 2020 and will be published in the Ontario Gazette.
Temporary regulatory approach for forest operations in managed Crown forests
There has been a temporary regulatory approach for forest operations in Crown forests under the Endangered Species Act since 2013. This time-limited approach for managing species at risk under s. 22.1 of O. Reg. 242/08 of the Endangered Species Act ensures that forest operations meet the standards of protection they currently have under their forest management plans. O. Reg. 242/08 exempts forest operations in Crown forests from the prohibitions in s. 9(1)(a) and s.10(1) of the Endangered Species Act if the following conditions (among other conditions) in the regulation are met:
- operating under an approved license under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994
- following an approved forest management plan
The current temporary approach has been extended for an additional year until June 30, 2021.
- 75 received through the registry
- 3981 received by email
Comments that were approved for publishing are available in the Bulletin supporting materials section.
Effects of consultation
The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks heard from a wide range of individuals and organizations including municipalities, forest industry, environmental non-government organizations, a non-government organization, an Indigenous community, and members of the public. The ministry considered all comments received during the proposal period. The following is a summary of the main comments received relating to the regulation amendment and the ministry’s response to those comments.
- The one-year extension to the forestry regulation does not provide sufficient protection for species at risk.
Response: Ontario is committed to protecting species at risk and improving environmental outcomes by modernizing and improving the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) as committed to in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.
Since 2013, the Ontario government has had in place a temporary approach for forestry operations under the ESA, to reduce duplication, given that species at risk are addressed through the forest management framework prescribed by the Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA). The CFSA provides for the sustainable management of Crown forests while regarding plant and animal life, water, soil, air and social and economic values.
The ESA continues to apply to all other activities in Crown forests.
- CFSA protections are not equivalent to protections under the ESA, and forestry practices have resulted in habitat loss and population decline of boreal caribou.
Response: The CFSA provides for the sustainable management of Crown forests while regarding plant and animal life, including species at risk, water, soil, air and social and economic values.
The CFSA has comprehensive tools and mechanisms in place under its forest planning framework to maintain oversight and protection of the environment in forest management planning activities. This includes the Forest Management Planning Manual and forest management guides.
- The one-year extension is a good short-term measure; however a long term permanent solution is required.
Response: In December 2019, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry proposed a long-term approach to authorize forest operations solely under the CFSA through the ESA. This approach would consider species at risk while creating certainty for the forest sector, supporting economic development and job creation in the northern and rural communities that depend on this sector.
Following a 30-day public consultation period on the Environmental Registry, Ontario has extended the temporary approach for forestry operations under the ESA, for an additional year.
This will maintain the current requirements and provide additional time for the consideration of a long-term approach for forest operations.
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