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Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
New Legislation to Help Communities and Environment

Ontario Protecting Local Watersheds and Increasing Accountability

Ontario is working to provide conservation authorities with more flexibility to address growing environmental pressures, while also improving accountability and oversight through proposed legislation, introduced last month.

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Kathryn McGarry made the announcement today at the Grand River Conservation Authority. The legislation would make changes that stem from a two-year review of Ontario’s Conservation Authorities Act, which will strengthen oversight and accountability over conservation authorities, increase consistency in roles and responsibilities and improve collaboration and engagement with local communities.

The legislation will, if passed:

  • Enable the government to conduct program and operational reviews
  • Update the board member appointment processes
  • Clarify the roles of conservation authorities and the scope of their programs
  • Provide the government with the flexibility to update conservation responsibilities to deal with emerging challenges.


“We recognize and value the important work done by our conservation authorities. Our government is committed to supporting conservation authorities and the valuable work they do for our communities. Together we can ensure that our conservation authorities continue to deliver the important local services that communities have come to rely on.” — Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

“Conservation Authorities have a long and successful history in watershed management in Ontario. Throughout the years, they’ve worked with the province and other levels of government, as well as many agencies and citizens of Ontario. We’re proud of the results of this work and look forward to continuing collaboration for healthy watersheds and people.” — Dick Hibma, Chair of Conservation Ontario

Quick Facts

  • In addition to the proposed legislative changes, Ontario is releasing Conserving our Future: A Modernized Conservation Authorities Act. This paper is the result of several years of consultations with stakeholders from across the province, and describes all of the changes that are being made as a result of the review.
  • Conserving our Future: A Modernized Conservation Authorities Act is posted on the Environmental Registry.
  • Ontario has 36 conservation authorities – local organizations that manage and protect water and other natural resources.
  • Ninety per cent of Ontarians live in a watershed managed by a conservation authority.
  • The Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, if passed, will make amendments to modernize the Conservation Authorities Act.

Learn More

Conservation Authorities in Ontario
Conservation Authorities Act

Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 June 2017 13:10:27 PM EST

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