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New Ontario law promises to protect northern Boreal Forest


Role of communities needs to be front and centre in new law, coalition says

TORONTO – A coalition of leading environmental groups applaud landmark legislation introduced today in the Ontario legislature that, when passed, will guide the process for protecting at least half of the province’s northern Boreal forest.

The move to introduce the Far North Planning Act follows Premier McGuinty’s commitment last July to protect at least 225,000 km2 of the northern Boreal Forest. The coalition notes that for the first time in Ontario history, legislation will ensure that First Nations will lead planning for their traditional territories.

“ The Premier has made good on his promise to the planet, and has set in motion a plan to protect more than 50 billion tonnes of carbon,” says Janet Sumner of CPAWS Wildlands League. “The success of this initiative depends on new investment in First Nations as they plan for prosperity, culture and ecosystems,” Sumner says.

“World class values deserve world class legislation,” adds Justin Duncan of Ecojustice. “We expect this draft has the right ingredients and we look forward to working with others to perfect it.”

The Coalition has set out five benchmarks to judge the quality of the new legislation:

  1. Clear statement of ecological planning goals and objectives to guide selection of conservation lands
  2. Establishment of community planning bodies to lead development and approve land?