Recent Updates from the Ontario Field Office

4 weeks 1 day ago
Neonicotinoid pesticides have been linked to mass bee die-offs and declining pollinator populations 15 November, 2017 TORONTO — Environmental groups, represented by Ecojustice, are back in Federal Court tomorrow in an effort to protect pollinators from a harmful class of pesticides and fend off a second attempt by multinational pesticide companies and the federal government to dismiss their lawsuit that challenges the practices of Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). “This case could set an important precedent for evidence-based, precautionary regulation of pesticides in Canada. It deserves a hearing,” said Charles Hatt, Ecojustice lawyer. The David Suzuki Foundation, Friends of the Earth Canada, Ontario Nature and the...
9 weeks 6 days ago
  Environmental organizations release joint statement calling for federal and provincial action as required under the Species Act   WINNIPEG - On the five year anniversary of the federal Recovery Strategy for boreal caribou, the Wilderness Committee has joined a host of organizations to condemn the provincial and territorial governments who have missed a protection deadline for boreal caribou. “Governments are ignoring the federal Species At Risk Act, and boreal caribou are suffering,” said Eric Reder, Wilderness and Water Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee. “We won’t sit by quietly as wildlife and wilderness disappear because environmental laws aren’t being upheld.” The organizations are calling for a halt to...
10 weeks 4 hours ago
  WINNIPEG - With today’s announcement that the proposed Energy East pipeline fiasco is finally finished, First Nations communities, concerned citizens and environmental activists are relieved and resolved to end the construction of any new fossil fuel infrastructure.     “There is such a relief that this insane idea is finally finished,” said Wilderness and Water Campaigner Eric Reder.For several years now the Wilderness Committee has been releasing reports and organizing community events to educate people of the risks of this project and fossil fuel infrastructure in Manitoba and Ontario, explaining the risks to our climate, the costs to our public utility and the uncertain legality of the proposed pipeline...
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Ontario Field Office

Welcome to the Wilderness Committee's Ontario Field Office!  The Wilderness Committee began working in Ontario in the early 90s with a chapter of concerned citizens in Ottawa looking to speak up for wilderness and wildlife on the doorstep of Canada’s parliament. Back then we were fighting phase two of the James Bay hydroelectric-power development.   Since that time, we established our Toronto office in the mid-90s and a door-to-door canvass to spread the word and garner support for our work protecting wild places. This canvass has expanded to Ottawa and thousands of Ontario residents have joined our grassroots, nation-wide people-powered movement to protect wild nature. Today we have grown to 60,000 supporters from coast to coast to coast. We work to protect wildlife, save bees and wild pollinators from the deadly impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides, safeguard parks from industrial development, expand our parks and protected area system and fight for a safe climate by opposing fossil fuel projects such as the TransCanada Energy East pipeline and the carbon pollution it brings. The Wilderness Committee works with like-minded environmental groups and has partnered with Ecojustice to speak up for this country's endangered species and to ensure that the federal government honours and enforces the Species at Risk Act. Our work to protect killer whales, greater sage grouse, southern mountain caribou and spotted owls has resulted in precedent-setting legal victories and better protection for Canada’s at risk wildlife. Our ‘Save the Bees’ campaign was launched in 2013, on the heels of massive bee and wild pollinator deaths linked to the use of neonicotinoid (neonics) pesticides on corn and soybean crops in Ontario and Quebec. We have presented to the Senate, distributed more than 100,000 newsletters across Canada in defense of bees and wild pollinators, given presentations to beekeepers and the general public, given dozens of media interviews and held outreach booths at farmer’s markets. For more than 35 years the Wilderness Committee and our supporters have helped to protect millions of hectares of wilderness in Canada through the creation of parks and protected areas. As part of our organization's parks defence campaigns, in 2015 we were on the ground in Algonquin provincial park. Algonquin Provincial Park is the last place where commercial logging is desecrating Ontario's provincial parks. Despite logging industry claims of how well they manage the forests, the infrastructure of roads and the constant logging are turning Algonquin into a tree plantation instead of the natural wilderness we cherish.  Check out our 2015 publication on the impacts of logging in Manitoba and Ontario parks  Our work for a safe climate supports transitioning to a low-carbon economy and fighting against damaging, carbon-intensive industries. Supporting a healthy climate means we oppose the federal government's continued promotion and expansion of the tar sands through the Energy East pipeline and work to support solutions for a clean economy. For these reasons and many more, we invite you to join us!  

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Stretching from the east side of Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg far into the province of Ontario is one of the greatest natural areas left on earth. The Heart of the Boreal is a vast wilderness filled with jack pine-covered granite ridges, black spruce and tamarack lowlands, and more lakes than you can imagine.

Canada is envied around the world for its natural beauty and people look to our country for environmental leadership and vision. Yet, our federal government does so little to protect it. If we want Canada's future to include wilderness and wildlife, we must plan for that vision, wisely and carefully.

The vast expanse of Hudson Bay splits the center of Canada’s north country, allowing access to the Arctic Ocean. Here the remote shoreline – inaccessible from southern roads – is barren and wild, with sparse and stunted trees dotting the tundra. A hardy menagerie of animals make this habitat their home: arctic fox and muskox, polar bears and caribou, beluga whales and ring seals, Ross’ gulls and short-eared owls.

In October 2014, TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. filed a formal application with the National Energy Board (NEB) to build the Energy East pipeline – a 4,600-kilometre pipeline from Alberta to Quebec and New Brunswick intended to transport diluted bitumen from the tar sands.

For years, we’ve stood up for a healthy climate in Canada by opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure. But parallel to this fight is to create a vision for the communities we want to live in. Adopting local climate solutions – cycling networks, renewable energy, public transit and local food production, building retrofits – is crucial to building climate-friendly communities.

Governments can steer the public towards these options by pricing climate changing carbon pollution, eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, funding green infrastructure and setting greenhouse gas reduction targets. We’re here to call for action and make sure our strategy. Climate policy needs to be equitable and effective to enable the transition to a low-carbon society. 

Bees may be small, but the impact they have on our environment – and our daily lives – is immense. Bees and other pollinators provide essential services that enable our agricultural systems to function, and they help the natural world to thrive by helping plant communities reproduce and stay healthy.

The north is often symbolized by caribou. School children even know of the massive herds made up of thousands of barren ground caribou migrating across the open tundra. The caribou is one of those iconic species, featured prominently on Canada’s 25-cent coin.

The Wilderness Committee has worked on boreal forest research and protection for decades. We were inspired to take action because the boreal forest makes up over half of Canada, is threatened on multiple levels by numerous industrial activities such as the tar sands, and has many wildlife and plants that are declining.

Make Your Voice Heard

Protect Canada's Bees - Ban Neonics

Sign the petition!

Did you know that bees and pollinators are in rapid decline? A deadly class of pesticides called neonicotinoids ("neonics") has been linked to a frightening number of bee deaths all over the world. The European Union, Ontario and Quebec have already banned neonicotinoids, but across Canada, they're still widely used.

Pollinators like bees are essential to both our environment and our agricultural systems. They provide critical services that allow food crops and other plants to thrive, and they contribute billions of dollars to our economy.

And it's not just pollinators at risk – a comprehensive four-year scientific study on neonics has now conclusively shown that these pesticides are a serious risk to bees, butterflies, birds and earthworms. Scientific research has also raised concerns about possible effects on human health.

Sadly, the Canadian Honey Council reports that Canada has lost 35 per cent of its honey bee colonies each year for the past three years. In 2012, unusually large numbers of honey bee deaths were reported in several provinces, and a huge die-off in Ontario led to the loss of 37 million bees.

Our report, “Canada's Bees on the Brink”, explains the vital role that pollinators play in our ecosystems and our everyday lives, and takes a deeper look at recent bee deaths linked to neonicotinoids.

Please read the report and share it with your friends, family and neighbours. The more people know about pollinators and the threats they’re facing, the better equipped we’ll be to protect them! Click here to download the full report.

The Wilderness Committee has taken action to ensure that Canada’s pollinators get the real protection they deserve. In September 2013, we joined Ecojustice and four other environmental groups to file an official objection to Health Canada’s recent decision to re-approve one type of neonicotinoid pesticide. Then in March 2014, we called on federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose to stop stalling on critical research and take meaningful steps to protect bees from these harmful pesticides.

Now we need you to take action, too. 

Stand up for the bees by signing the petition!! 

To download a PDF version of the petition to print out and collect signatures in your community, click here.

You can also take action by writing to Health Minister Rona Ambrose, letting her know how strongly you feel that neonicotinoids should be BANNED across Canada. Write a letter today! 

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Thursday, September 21, 2017 (All day)
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