Ontario intends to allow municipalities and developers to pay a fee in lieu of taking certain actions to protect species at

The Progressive Conservative government is proposing to create the Species at Risk Conservation Trust to oversee these charges and put the money toward large-scale measures to protect and recover those species.

Other changes include allowing the environment minister to suspend for up to three years species and habitat protections required once a species is listed as endangered or threatened. 

As well, the committee that makes those listing decisions would be required to reconsider its classification as endangered or threatened at the minister’s request. 

That committee would also have to take a species’ status outside Ontario into consideration — for example, the gray fox is listed as threatened in Ontario but is common and not at risk of extinction in other areas.

Environment Minister Rod Phillips says there are 243 species at risk in Ontario and none will have protections reduced unless that is the science-based advice the government receives from the committee.

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