Ontario Launches Healthy Parks Healthy People Consultation
Province looking for feedback to improve policies, programs and partnerships and increase access to the health benefits of green spaces
TORONTO — Ontario's government is providing people with more opportunities to enjoy provincial parks and promoting the link between nature and human health while protecting the natural environment.
Today, our government launched a public consultation about how to ensure the health benefits of nature are fully realized for all Ontarians. This is part of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan commitment to provide people with more opportunities to enjoy provincial parks and support the worldwide Healthy Parks Healthy People movement.
"Spending time in nature and green spaces has a positive impact on our health and wellbeing," said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. "We're fortunate in Ontario to have many beautiful parks and green spaces across the province, but we want to find more ways for people to use them as part of a healthy lifestyle.That's why we want to hear from you about how we can improve Ontario Parks programs, policies and partnerships to connect more people with the health benefits of nature."
The province is looking for valuable insights from the public, health care providers, researchers, educators, environmental organizations and the tourism industry about their experiences with nature and health. Feedback will help develop more effective programs, policies, and partnerships to improve Ontarians' awareness of and access to the health benefits of provincial parks and green spaces.
Ontario is committed to protecting natural areas, supporting conservation efforts and promoting the importance of healthy, natural spaces for future generations to use and enjoy, as outlined in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.
- Healthy Parks Healthy People is a worldwide movement to promote the positive health benefits that nature can provide.
- Ontario Parks has supported this movement since 2015, offering signature events including a Healthy Parks Healthy People day where there is no-charge for day-use visitation at all provincial parks, the 30x30 Challenge in August, and First Day Hikes on the first of January.
- Canadians spend 90 per cent of each day indoors and 69 per cent of their waking time sitting.
- Only nine per cent of Canadian kids aged 5 to 17 get the 60 minutes of heart-pumping activity they need each day.
- Spending time in nature can lower the risk of heart attack by 50 per cent, reduce the risk of mental health challenges and help combat chronic disease.
- The Healthy Parks Healthy People consultation will be open for comment until November 25, 2019.
“Ontario is home to incredible parks and great natural landscapes that offer so much to Ontarians. Getting active in nature and experiencing the outdoors can have significant health benefits. I look forward to hearing from Ontarians about how to expand these opportunities to better support our health and wellness.”
“Ontario’s beautiful landscapes, rich forests and fresh water make our province a natural playground for recreational fishing, hiking and other activities that connect us to nature and improve our well-being. A Healthy Parks Healthy People consultation will help more Ontarians benefit from spending time in the great outdoors.”
“Ontario’s natural attractions are admired around the world, not only for their incredible beauty but for the unique ability they have to attract visitors and showcase all that our province has to offer. I am thrilled that our province’s parks are playing a leading role in creating positive experiences for families, while demonstrating that we offer the world in one province.”
“For our students and educators, our natural environment provides valuable teaching and learning opportunities. That’s why I’m encouraging them to provide their unique insights to ensure natural spaces, like our provincial parks, can make that greatest impact in learning and life.”