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webster falls conservation area
Spencer George/Webster Falls Conservation Area (Hamilton Conservation Authority)

In 2015, the Province of Ontario initiated a review of the Conservation Authorities Act, which addresses the roles, responsibilities and governance of Conservation Authorities in resource management and environmental protection.

In 2016, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry released their suggested priorities for renewal of the CA Act: Conserving Our Future. Proposed Priorities for Renewal. This paper is based on earlier feedback received from 2015 Stakeholder Engagement sessions.

On behalf of all Conservation Authorities, Conservation Ontario has developed and posted a collective submission. Download SUMMARY | FULL COMMENTS.

The general public is encouraged to provide their comments online. You can send an email which supports confirming an integrated watershed management approach and the role of Conservation Authorities as watershed management agencies.

What changes are the Conservation Authorities looking for in an updated Conservation Authorities Act?

Conservation Ontario’s collective position focuses on five themes:

  1. Confirm an integrated watershed management approach and the current broad mandate of Conservation Authorities as watershed management agencies. A new Purpose Statement and Preamble are recommended to be included in the CA Act for clarity.

  2. Establish a formalized provincial multi-ministry body to clarify a broader integrated watershed management approach through an eventual Integrated Watershed Management Provincial Policy.

  3. Modernize governance and accountability provisions within the CA Act in order to ensure more consistency across Conservation Authorities while strengthening oversight and accountability.

  4. Establish a cost shared, multi-ministry sustainable funding model for any provincially mandated programs best delivered with an integrated watershed management approach on a watershed basis. Investing in Conservation Authority programs and services which protect water, build ecosystem resilience and provides green spaces prevents costly expenditures for flood damages, business disruptions and healthcare.

  5. Establish a multi-stakeholder table to regularly address client service issues; and update and deliver provincial process and technical policies and guidelines to facilitate consistency. Conservation Authorities will streamline and improve client service delivery standards for planning and permitting practices within current capacity. Additional provincial support will facilitate that ability.

2015 Discussion Paper and CO Comments

The Province's 2015 Discussion Paper. Conservation Ontario's formal comments: CA Act Review Discussion Paper (October 2015)

Summary of Conservation Ontario's 2015 comments.

For more information contact: Kim Gavine, General Manager, Conservation Ontario