Species at Risk policy fires up Northern leaders: Municipalities, industry, First Nations fear habitat protection rules could devastate forestry – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – October 4, 2017)


Queen’s Park can expect fierce resistance from Northerners if the province attempts to finalize controversial Species at Risk policy without proper consultation, said Kenora’s mayor.

“If they want to rush it through, they’re going to have a backlash like they’ve never seen before,” said Dave Canfield, past president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA). “There’s going to be a lot of us standing shoulder-to-shoulder.”

At issue are the new Species at Risk rules, designed to protect 28 species in Northern Ontario, which will be woven into the fabric of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA has raised the hackles of Northern leaders since it was passed in 2007.

Their take is that the act focuses on protecting animal and plant habitat at the expense of forestry jobs and industry-dependent communities. It’s viewed in the North as just adding more duplication and cost to forest management practices.

The biggest fear is that it may cut into the supply of Crown fibre, the obvious lifeblood of industry. “We’re already over-regulated to the point where it’s impossible for forestry companies to do business,” said Canfield, “and that filters down to the municipalities.”

NOMA is part of a growing forestry coalition of community, industry, business, labour and First Nations who have rallied against the province’s Species at Risk policy.

“I’ve been in municipal politics since 1991 and I’ve never seen so many people coming together to stop…the stupidity of what’s going on,” said Canfield.

For the rest of this article: https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/industry-news/forestry/species-at-risk-policy-could-heat-up-the-north-733318