Conservation Authorities asked to wind down activities outside their mandate by Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan
Shirley Dolan

This week, we had terrific news coming from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Maybe you heard about it: MPP Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks sent a letter to all Conservation Authorities asking them to “wind down those activities that fall outside the scope of your core mandate”. The Minister also encouraged the CAs to “refrain from developing new policies that are not aligned with your mandate or with provincial policies”.

This letter was sent in the context of the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019 that “deletes the provisions which narrowly limit appeals of decisions and non-decisions of a municipality or approval authority to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (“LPAT” or the “Tribunal”).“.

The Ontario Landowners Association has long advocated for the return of Conservation Authorities to their original mandate. Reference Elizabeth Marshall’s reports on Conservation Authorities now free to download. Marshall is the OLA’s Director of Research.

Of course, Conservation Ontario and other “environmental” groups have wasted no time in declaring that this move by the Ontario government signals the end of the world and it is being done to save money. The Toronto Star has even included a poll embedded in their article the results of which are decidedly NOT in favour of the changes.

What do you think? Is the government on the right track?

We invite you to write to your MPP, your municipal representatives on conservation authority boards, and to Minister Yurek to let them know that the direction Minister Yurek expressed is prudent and respects landowners and taxpayers and your expectation that these changes will lead to less regulation and violations of Ontarians’ property rights.

Minister of the Environment Jeff Yurek:

For all other MPPS, see contact information at

With John Schwartzentruber’s kind permission, we are publishing his letter to his MPP Lisa Thompson and to Minister Yurek.

Sent: Friday, August 23, 2019 2:04 PM
Subject: Conservation Authorities Reforms

MPP Jeff Yurek,

Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks;

MPP Lisa Thompson,

Huron – Bruce,

Hello Mr. Yurek, Ms. Thompson,

I am writing to you to express my strong support for the actions recently announced by Minister Yurek with regard to the very necessary reforms to the scope of practice of the Conservation Authorities (C.A.s) in Ontario. This topic received vibrate discussion at a recent Christian Farmer’s Federation of Ontario (of which I am a member) policy meeting, where many voiced supportive rationales for such renovations.

Over the past several decades, the farmers and property owners in Ontario have watched, often helplessly, as special interest groups have hijacked the Conservation bodies for their own purposes. These purposes usually came not only at a (legally disputable) financial cost to property owners, but also increasingly eroding private property rights, the basis for our proud heritage of Canadian enterprise.

I would strongly encourage further reviews and reductions of similar over-inflated mandates within not only the C.A.s, but also in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing where many planning policies have trodden underfoot the rights of property owners to the point of contravening superior statutes, as well as causing needless costs and injurious restrictions that choke out entrepreneurialism and free enterprise.

Thank you for these improvements to our governance and we look for further judicious actions that will reinvigorate our Province.


John Schwartzentruber,
Brussels, ON,
Huron County.