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Ontario leads in species at risk and habitat protection

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Ontario leads in species at risk and habitat protection

McGuinty Government Triples Number Of Species Protected

Ontario's new Endangered Species Act takes effect on June 30, 2008, making the province a North American leader in species at risk protection and recovery.

The new act triples the number of species protected in Ontario to 128 from 42, provides greater support for volunteer stewardship projects and a stronger commitment to recovery of species and habitats.  It also allows more opportunity for businesses to work with the Ontario government to mitigate for species at risk if one is found on their property.

Pelee Quarries on Pelee Island is a leading example of how businesses can strengthen protection for species at risk and remain economically competitive.  Under the more flexible terms of the new act, Pelee Quarries has been able to set aside land adjacent to its operations to create improved habitat for the endangered blue racer snake, allowing its commercial activity to continue.

To support the new act's stewardship-first approach to species protection, Ontario is investing more than $5 million this year in volunteer stewardship projects across the province that will help protect and recover species at risk and their habitats.

The projects are part of the province's $18-million, four-year Species at Risk Stewardship Fund.

Quick Facts

  • Pelee Island has one of the most biologically diverse natural habitats in Canada, supporting at least 45 species at risk, including some that are globally rare.
  • Ontario is home to more than 30,000 species, of which more than 180 are currently identified as being at risk.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Ontario’s new Endangered Species Act sets a gold standard for species and habitat protection while at the same time taking into consideration the social and economic well-being of our citizens and communities.”

Donna Cansfield

Minister of Natural Resources

“Our government's new Endangered Species Act strikes the right balance by providing stronger protection for species at risk while at the same time offering flexibility to communities like Pelee Island that play an essential role in protecting important natural habitats”

Bruce Crozier

Essex MPP

“The new Endangered Species Act and the new resolution tools it provides the government has empowered us to achieve a responsible balance of significant net gain for the environment, while allowing the island community access to the quarry resources it needs to sustain itself”

George Paisiovich

Spokesperson, Pelee Quarries



Environment and Energy