Recent Updates from the Ontario Field Office

15 weeks 5 days ago

Ottawa, ON – Today, over 20 leading charities and non-profit organizations reacted to a new independent Expert Panel Report by requesting the federal government immediately table a bill to implement the recommendations it provides.

16 weeks 1 day ago
TORONTO — The Wilderness Committee delivered thousands of letters today to the Ontario Legislative Assembly, urging the Premier to end logging in Algonquin Provincial Park.

17 weeks 6 hours ago

NORTH BAY — The Wilderness Committee is condemning the Quebec government's plan to capture the remaining wild boreal woodland caribou in the province’s Val d’Or region and move them to a zoo-based captive breeding program.

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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.

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