Ontario Newsroom

Polar Bear Gets More Protection In Ontario

Archived Bulletin

Polar Bear Gets More Protection In Ontario


Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Greater protection for the province's polar bears is among the changes to be made to the list of Ontario's species at risk.

The province is acting on a report from the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario to add 10 species, remove one species, and reclassify eight species on the Species at Risk in Ontario list.

Changes to the list will include:

  • Re-classifying Ontario's population of polar bears to threatened from special concern
  • Adding two birds - chimney swift and whip-poor-will - as threatened species
  • Re-classifying the bald eagle as special concern throughout the province.

All species newly designated as endangered or threatened are automatically protected, along with their habitat, under the terms of Ontario's Endangered Species Act, 2007.

Quick Facts

  • Species can be classified as extinct, extirpated, endangered, threatened or special concern.
  • Ontario is home to more than 30,000 species, of which close to 200 are currently identified as being at risk.
  • The number of polar bears in Ontario has remained relatively stable over the last 20 years; however, their body condition and survival rates have declined.
  • Ontario's new Endangered Species Act took effect on June 30, 2008, making the province a North American leader in species at risk protection and recovery.
  • The information notice regarding changes to the Species at Risk in Ontario list is on the Environmental Registry, Registry Number 010-7360.