Schedule 5, which some groups have dubbed the “Extinction Schedule”, represents the most severe rollback of wildlife protections in a decade, granting industry with sweeping loopholes to evade environmental laws and giving the Ministry veto power to overturn habitat protections.
“Hitting endangered species protections with the pay-to-slay fund and the loss of scientific independence has no place in Ontario. Contrary to what the license plates say, Ford’s Ontario is not a place to grow for species-at-risk,” said Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner.
The changes come just weeks after a landmark scientific report confirmed the looming extinction of up to one million species globally.
When the public was initially consulted on the changes, 98% of people called for strong wildlife protections, but the government plugged its ears.
“Instead of listening to the people, the Premier is giving big developers the greenlight to bulldoze critical habitat. But the reality is we do not need to destroy the home of Ontario’s vulnerable plants and animals to build affordable homes for people,” said Schreiner. “Ontario has plenty of land already approved for development to meet housing demand.”
Ford’s housing bill will help sprawl-hungry developers to get richer, but it will not improve life for people struggling to pay rent or afford their first home.
And worst of all, it will harm Ontario in the long-run.
“These actions don’t just threaten the survival of species, they take aim at our food security, tourism industry, flood prevention and ability to fight climate change,” said Schreiner.
The public has until May 18 to send a clear message to Ford to remove Schedule 5 and keep his hands off our wildlife.