The DACES (Durham Area Citizens for Endangered Species) Inc. judicial review of the MNRF (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) was heard in Brampton, Ontario, on March 19th, 2015.
The judicial review alleged that the MNRF failed to protect sensitive endangered species habitat from wind turbine construction in a protected area of Ontario. Primarily at issue was whether the Ontario Government, through its Ministry, allowed a for-profit corporation to “self-regulate” with regards to determining whether its construction activities would harm the habitat of an endangered species, the Redside Dace.
Judgement was handed down on March 25, 2015. The Court dismissed the DACES Inc. application, on the grounds that the decision made by the MNRF did not constitute a “statutory power of decision” which the Court could review judicially.
Respectfully, DACES Inc. disagrees with this finding, as in DACES Inc.’s view, amongst other concerns, it appears to contradict the Mandate of the MNRF as stated by Premier Kathleen Wynne (detailed below).
DACES Inc. will be filing a “Leave to Appeal” application within 15 days from March 25th. It is the hope of DACES Inc. that leave will be granted, which would allow the Ontario Court of Appeal to hear DACES Inc.’s concerns. DACES Inc. firmly believes this issue is one of concern to all Ontario citizens, who share a legacy of natural heritage that deserves to be protected.
The Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) listed the Redside Dace as endangered in 2009 under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007. Redside Dace was assessed as endangered in Canada by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in April of 2007. The Redside Dace is currently being considered for listing as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA)
Premier Kathleen Wynne, in her September 2014 Mandate Letter to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, included the following directive: Implementing the Endangered Species Act. I ask that you continue to implement the act in a way that protects and promotes the recovery of species at risk in Ontario.
Respectfully, the decision of the MNRF, and subsequently the Court, does not appear to be fulfilling this mandate.