Opposition to Amendments to Conservation Authorities Act by Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan
Shirley Dolan

On November 5, 2020, the Ontario Government introduced Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020. This omnibus bill was tabled by the Hon. Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance.

Schedule 6 of the Bill addresses amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act.   https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-229.

If passed, there are many changes which will be welcome news to property owners and to the agriculture sector. Some highlights:

  • Returns the Conservation Authorities (CAs) to their core mandate.
  • Removes the authority of the CAs to expropriate lands.
  • Requires participating municipalities to appoint municipal councillors as conservation authorities’ members and that these members generally act on behalf of their municipalities. This proposal would repeal the un-proclaimed provision made in Bill 108 that members were to act with a view to furthering the objects of the conservation authority, and instead provide clarity for conservation authority member governance and enhanced municipal oversight over taxpayer dollars.
  • Enables the minister to appoint a member to the conservation authority from the agriculture sector.

The Bill, if passed, also streamlines the CAs roles and responsibilities in permitting and land use planning. As an example, CAs would not be able to indefinitely stop development on your property by withholding a permit.

The amendments are very good news for private property owners and farmers alike. BUT, as expected, Conservation Ontario, Conservation Authorities, and others are mobilizing to have the amendments removed from the Bill, which is in currently being debated at Queens Park.  http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1103201627549&ca=a8d0342a-214c-4528-86e0-53417c837e74.  Conservation Ontario claims that the amendments will add red tape to the planning and permitting process and interfere with their ability to protect properties and people from flooding. They are asking residents and watershed partners to reach out to the Ontario Government to request them to repeal Schedule 6 of the Bill 229: Protect, Support and Recover from COVID 19 Act (Budget Measures Act).

If you agree with these amendments, as we do, we ask you to contact:

  1. Premier Doug Ford https://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/EN/feedback/default.aspx
  2. the Hon. Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance http://www.infogo.gov.on.ca/infogo/home.html#orgProfile/4151/en
  3. the Hon. Jeff Yurek, Minister of Environemnt, Conservation, and Park http://www.infogo.gov.on.ca/infogo/home.html#orgProfile/708/en
  4. the Hon. John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry http://www.infogo.gov.on.ca/infogo/home.html#orgProfile/1184/en
  5. the Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing http://www.infogo.gov.on.ca/infogo/home.html#orgProfile/1143/en
  6. and your local MPP https://www.ola.org/en/members/current/contact-information

to show your support.