THUNDER BAY, ON --- January 24, 2013 - The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) is expressing extreme disappointment that they were excluded from a government appointed panel that was tasked with providing recommendations to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) on how to improve the implementation of the provincial Endangered Species Act (ESA). On January 21, 2013, the Endangered Species Act Panel Report and Recommendations was released for public review.
While NOMA awaits an explanation from the government for being left out of the discussion, they are pleased to note a recommendation outlining the need for mandatory socio-economic impact assessments on all ESA related policies.
More importantly, NOMA is also pleased to see the forest sector’s recommendation 3.5-3a which asks the government to develop a regulation under the ESA which recognizes that the Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA) is equivalent to the ESA in its provision for species at risk and that, and as such, that the forest sector will not be subjected to duplicative and unnecessary protocols - something the government had committed to during the development of the ESA.
“We’ve been working with the Ontario Forest Industries Association and forest companies for the past six years on this issue, and we firmly believe that the forest sector recommendation forwarded in the report is a necessary step in ensuring that the ESA does not have any unintended consequences” says David Canfield, Executive Vice President of NOMA. “Ontario has a world-class forest management framework in place that provides for a variety of values, including the mandatory protection of species at risk and their habitat. This process is constantly adapting to new science to ensure that forestry standards are always up to date. We know it, the government knows it, and that is why this recommendation needs to be acted on right away”.
NOMA is calling on the provincial government to fulfill their commitment and act on recommendation 3.5-3a of the ESA Panel Report immediately. NOMA is also asking government to disregard a proposal forwarded by southern Ontario interests (recommendation 3.5-3b) that would increase costs to the industry and reduce investment certainty in the North.
NOMA represents the interests of 37 municipalities from Kenora and Rainy River in the west to Hornepayne and Wawa in the east. It provides leadership in advocating regional interests to all orders of government and other organizations.