Laws & Policies
THE CROWN FOREST SUSTAINABILITY ACT
THE FORESTRY ACT
PUBLIC LANDS ACT
PROVINCIAL PARKS ACT
THE FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ACT
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
Legislation governing Ontario's forests, natural resources and public land use has seen huge changes over the last ten years. The law most directly relevant to forests is the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, enacted in 1994. This replaced the seven-decade-old Crown Timber Act, legislation mainly directed at the orderly harvesting of Ontario's forests and updated by a patchwork of revisions.
The Crown Forest Sustainability Act is different in that it has a comprehensive ecosystem
approach to the resource. It is based in large part on the 127 recommendations of the Class
Environmental Assessment for Timber Management on Crown Lands in Ontario, an exhaustive
seven-year review of forest operations that culminated in a 560-page legal document in 1994.
The "Class EA," as it was known, involved scores of hearings, countless hours of preparation by
bureaucrats, lawyers and citizens and testimony from hundreds of experts and advocates. The
Ministry of Natural Resources' own submission took a full two years to produce and review.
The Crown Forest Sustainability Act is also important in that it puts the cost of renewing the
forest and ensuring sustainable forestry on the shoulders of industrial licence holders. Fees from
harvesting are put into the Forest Renewal Trust, which reimburses silvicultural expenses.
Another fund, the Forestry Futures Trust, pays for silvicultural expenses in Crown forests where
trees have been killed or damaged by fire or natural causes; where the forest resource license
holder becomes insolvent and for intensive stand management and pest control.
Other forest-related laws include the PUBLIC LANDS ACT, which regulates the general use of
all government-owned lands; the GAME AND FISH ACT, regulating hunting and fishing; the
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT; the PROVINCIAL PARKS ACT, regulating Ontario's parks
and protected areas; and the FORESTRY ACT, which regulates forestry activities on private
land and permits a degree of municipal regulation of forestry and silviculture.
It should be noted that all these forest-related acts, and many more, are subject to Ontario's
ENVIRONMENTAL BILL OF RIGHTS, a 1993 omnibus law for citizen involvement and
public protection in all environmental matters.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Ontario Legislation (Statutes & Regulations)
Environmental Assessment and Appeal Boards
The Environmental Registry of Ontario
Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights home page
The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources
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