NO MORE HIGHWAYS Day of Action – July 24

No More Highways Day of Action - July 24, 2021

The Ontario government is planning two new highways through Ontario’s precious farmland and Greenbelt – Highway 413 and the Holland Marsh Highway (Bradford Bypass).

If built, the highways would pave over farms, forests, wetlands and a portion of the Greenbelt and cost taxpayers upwards of $6-10 Billion. Highway 413 alone would also add over 17 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, at a time when cutting emissions is more urgent than ever.

Enough is enough.We need to show the province that Ontarians do not want more megahighways, we want local produce, effective public transit and livable, walkable communities.

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Ontario makes it easier for businesses to launch new bus routes

Northland Bus

TORONTO – The Ontario government is cutting red tape and making it easier for companies to provide passenger transportation services between communities in Ontario effective July 1, 2021. This is part of the province’s efforts to improve transportation options for Ontarians as the province recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Under the previous system it was difficult for businesses that offered bus service to begin operating on a new route, even in situations where there was no service being offered,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “By cutting red tape, we are making it easier for carriers to offer transportation services to communities where there is a need.”

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Province seeks input on Transportation Vision

GO Train

TORONTO – Today, the Ontario government released a discussion paper for public feedback that will inform the province’s first transportation plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Ontario is building a better transportation system to connect communities and keep goods and people moving across the province, including in Ontario’s economic engine, the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

“We have a long-term vision for the Greater Golden Horseshoe that takes us to 2051, built on connected transportation that’s safe, seamless and accessible,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “This discussion paper is an important opportunity to gain further insights that will help shape a better transportation network for our province’s future.”

Through a consultation posting on the Environmental Registry of Ontario as well as an online feedback form, the Ontario government is seeking public input on ways to achieve our vision.

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Conservation Authorities – Regulatory Proposals Phase 1

Path through the woods

We strongly support the combined submission of CELA, Ontario Nature, Environmental Defence, and WCS Canada in regard to this matter who:

“strongly encourage the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to ensure that any proposed regulations do not hamper or limit the ability of Conservation Authorities (CAs) to develop and deliver watershed‐wide programs and services aimed at achieving a healthy and climate resilient Ontario. CAs should determine programs and services with local partners, based on community needs and priorities, rather than creating a rigid division between mandatory and non‐mandatory programs and services. Further, it is crucial that a stable funding model be developed that enables CAs to fully realize their legislative purpose, which is “… to provide for the organization and delivery of programs and services that further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources in watersheds in Ontario.”

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President’s Report – June 5, 2021

Hamilton, Ontario

The events of the past (over) one year once again reinforce the critical role of residents’ associations at the local level, and federations of residents associations, especially at the provincial level, to address policy issues. The mantra “municipalities are a creature of the province” is regularly demonstrated in legislation introduced and passed by the provincial government “under cover of COVID.” COVID, as they say, “consumes all the oxygen in the room,” resulting in even less public attention than usual being paid to legislative and program changes, some positive, but many with long term negative implications for such areas as cultural heritage, urban sprawl, and climate change.

The government passed legislation exempting Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) from complying with the Government’s own Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). The PPS covers a myriad of policy areas from cultural heritage to environment.

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The Peoples’ Summit

Thunder Bay

Canada has pledged to meet a target of conserving 30% of its lands and oceans by 2030 (the 30 x 30 commitment). US President Biden made this commitment in one of his early executive actions. Québec and California are ahead in delivering on the promise of 30×30. Ontario currently sits at 10.7%.

The Peoples’ Summit will showcase and celebrate efforts to protect special places in Ontario.

Getting to 30% requires leadership from of all of us: Indigenous Nations, environmental organizations, communities, municipalities, conservation authorities, progressive industry, land trusts and more.

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Bradford Bypass Update

Bradford Bypass Map

On May 31, 2021, the Barrie council approved a motion asking the provincial government to conduct a comprehensive impact assessment as it relates to Lake Simcoe and the surrounding watersheds. They would also like to see other potential routes for the bypass identified. Some residents and environmental groups don’t believe an environmental assessment completed in 2002 should be used for the project, and they have been asking for a new federally conducted EA.

FUN has written to the Barrie Council asking them to oppose the bypass, but it unfortunately appears that they were not willing to take that step.

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Your Protected Places Webinar

canoe on lake - Derek Sutton

Join Ontario Nature on May 27th for an informative discussion about expanding Ontario’s protected areas. During the Your Protected Places webinar, we will consider emerging opportunities and unveil a collective StoryMap showcasing special places across the province that people would like to permanently set aside from development for future generations. 

Though the Government of Ontario recently announced its intention to protect more natural areas, it provided no public process for offering input on where or how protected areas should be established. To raise awareness and open up the conversation, Ontario Nature, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Wilderness Committee, the Carolinian Canada Coalition, CPAWS-Ottawa Valley and Environmental Defence have invited people from across the province to contribute candidates for the Your Protected Places StoryMap. 

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Phasing-out Ontario’s gas-fired power plants

Lennox-power-station-Bath-Ontario

The greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from Ontario’s gas-fired power plants will increase by more than 300% by 2030 and by 500% or more by 2040 as the province uses gas to replace aging nuclear plants and to meet growing demand for electricity from population growth and increased electrification (electric cars, home heating). If this occurs, Ontario will lose roughly 40% of the pollution reduction benefits it achieved by phasing-out its dirty coal plants.

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is launching a public engagement process on how Ontario can reduce its greenhouse gas pollution by phasing out its gas-fired power plants. This is your chance to tell the IESO that we need to phase out gas by 2030 to help our climate and clear our air.

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