On February 28, 2019, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks issued multiple species-specific policies (“Response Statements”) in accordance with the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA).
Under the ESA, the Government of Ontario is obligated to produce and adhere to a Recovery Strategy for each species that is listed as endangered or threatened. Once the science-based Recovery Strategy is produced, the government is further required to publish a policy statement (generally referred to as a “Response Statement”) summarizing the government’s intended actions and priorities in response to the Recovery Strategy.
As the overview in the Jefferson Salamander Response Statements explains (page 1):
The government response statement considered (where available) input from Indigenous communities and organizations, stakeholders, other jurisdictions, and members of the public. It reflects the best available local and scientific knowledge, including Traditional Ecological Knowledge where it has been shared by communities and Knowledge Holders, as appropriate and may be adapted if new information becomes available. In implementing the actions in the response statement, the ESA allows the government to determine what is feasible, taking into account social, cultural and economic factors.
The Response Statements recently published are intended to protect and recover the following species at risk in Ontario:
- Jefferson Salamander and Unisexual Ambystoma (Jefferson Salamander dependent population) (combined policy)
- Nine-spotted Lady Beetle
- River Darter
- Small-mouthed Salamander and Unisexual Ambystoma (Small-mouthed Salamander dependent population) (combined policy).
More details about these Response Statements can be found here on the Environmental Registry of Ontario.