Ontario Chapter

At Sierra Club Ontario, our work mainly focuses on protecting the Great Lakes ecosystem, growing and protecting the Greenbelt, and promoting Green Energy adoption in Ontario. Sierra Club Ontario also works on very local issues, in coordination with smaller communities in Ontario.

Take the Plastic Free July Challenge!

By Dr. Lino Grima
Chair, Ontario Chapter

We all know how big a problem plastic pollution is – and it has not gone away while we’ve been trying to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This is why we invite you to join the Plastic Free July Challenge, a series of activities and actions being organized by the Sierra Club Ontario and the Great Lakes Forums’ Plastic Pollution Team.

Reducing plastic pollution will generate savings for businesses, towns, and governments, and generate tens of thousands of new jobs in Canada - a great way to build back better after COVID.

Good News for Brampton Bikers

Take action now - City seeking input to build bike lanes and green infrastructure.

The City of Brampton has taken a progressive stance towards active transportation following the increasing interest in cycling seen during the ongoing pandemic. As of April 18, 2020 they have decided to temporarily close off curb lanes for vehicular traffic and, instead, install interim bike lanes along an East West travel corridor.

Carruthers Protection May Be Lost With Swipe of Ministerial Zoning Order Pen

From usually reliable sources it appears that the provincial government is planning at the request of developers, to urbanize  2,200 hectares of Carruthers Creek. Carruthers flows into Lake Ontario in the City of Ajax, a community that has long opposed the flood of pollution such an action would bring.

Protect Carruthers Creek Headwaters

Some Good News — Environmental Bill of Rights Back in Effect

The Government of Ontario has decided to restore the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1994 (EBR), effective June 15, 2020. This is a big win for the environment. Ontario had previously suspended the key conditions of the EBR in early April. The suspension worked to elimate public awareness of ongoing projects and the right to weigh in on environemtnally significant decisions using the Environmental Registry.

This would be detrimental to those working towards greener practices. 

Tell Minister of Municipal Affairs to Rescue Freele Tract

One of the great victories of the environmental movement of Ontario is now under attack — the Simcoe County Forests. The system was created under the leadership of Premier E. C. Drury, and his friend Edmund Zavitz, to rescue the Simcoe County from being buried in marching sand wastes. This was triggered by ruthless deforestation. 

The Freele Tract is being defended by a valiant 770-member environmental protection group which should never have had to be organized. It’s called the Friends of Simcoe County Forests. 

Best Practices for Staying Connected to Nature During Covid-19

We find ourselves in unprecedented times. We are working hard to adapt to the new normal and do our part to reduce the spread of the virus. We encourage you to stay connected to nature in what can be difficult and stressful times. Although we cannot be in nature together, we can still enjoy the outdoors apart! Spending time in the fresh air is helpful for mental health and staying active during this time. Here are our best practices for how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

1. Stay Up to Date with Local Health Authority Guidelines

Sierra Club Ontario is seeking new Executive Committee members

SCO is seeking members to serve on our volunteer Executive Committee

Candidates should be passionate about environmental protection and supporting grassroots activists. Also must have a track record of commitment, reliability, and the ability to be a team player. Sierra Club is committed to equity and diversity in all of its appointments and activities. Self-nomination is welcome.

At this time, SCO is particularly interested in candidates suited to join as Treasurer, Fundraising Committee members or Communications Committee members.

CEERP, Brampton’s Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan

By Rosemary Keenan, Chair Sierra Peel Group

On June 5, 2019 the City of Brampton Council responded to growing community concerns and declared a Climate Emergency. Since then the City has been accelerating development of a Community Energy and Emissions Reductions Plan (CEERP) designed to transform Brampton’s energy use and reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

Here We Go Again

The Conservation Authorities Act and Wetland Protection on the Chopping Block Once Again

In their last three years of office, the government of Kathleen Wynne conducted two dangerous reviews. One was a review of the Conservation Authorities Act. Another was a review of Ontario’s wetland policies. Now the same threats are coming up in a review of the Conservation Authorities Act by the government of Premier Doug Ford.

Developer Charged With Illegal Cut in Thundering Waters

Photo by Daniel Nardone. Dense blazing star at Thundering Waters facing east towards now illegally cut Riverfront Residential site.

On January 25, 2020, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), levelled charges against GR Canada, a developer associated with the Riverfront Residential development in Niagara Falls.  These were the second charges levelled against GR Canada for illegally cutting trees on this site within past two years.

Sierra Club Activist Takes Stand Against Forest Destruction

November 13, 2018, in her last annual report issued two days before the termination of her office the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, (ECO), Dianne Saxe, issued an eloquent plea to bolster protection for southern Ontario’s besieged forests. Forming Chapter Three of her Back to Basics, the report was expressively termed, “Southern Ontario’s Disappearing Forests.” Here Saxe wrote, “Conserving forests must become a top priority in land-use planning, and creating the conditions for healthy urban trees must become a top priority in urban planning.”

Prime Minister’s Tree Target Sets High Goal For Afforestation

Photo: Oka memorial (Quebec). Many of the Mohawks buried here are from families involved in the planting of the forest which took place between 1880 and 1920. Since for most of this period there were no tree nurseries geared to reforestation, the Mohawks had to gather pine seedlings from considerable distance to the north in canoes from forests where white pines still grew. Photo credit MaryLou Jorgensen-Bacher.

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Niagara's Unique Wetlands and Climate Change

Aerial view of smoke from Wainfleet Bog fire in 2016

Today Niagara Region serves as a carbon sink thanks to its extensive wetlands south of the Niagara Escarpment. While over 90% of Southern Ontario’s wetlands have been drained, the degradation has not hit southern Niagara, where only 10% have been lost. These wetlands, mostly forested except the 1,500 hectare Wainfleet Bog, contribute to the cooling of our traumatically overheating earth.

Two Ontario Native Communities On Front Lines To Avert Climate Change Disaster

The Objiway community of Eabametoong and Cree of Nestantaga in northern Ontario have found themselves on the front lines to avert catastrophe from climate change. They are anticipating a three-year struggle to oppose two new roads planned to accommodate mines in what has become known as Ontario’s Ring of Fire. The battle takes place via co-ordinated federal and provincial Environmental Assessments (EAs).

BioDiversity Day at Charles Webster Public School

Responding to an impassioned invite from teacher George Lehto, SCO members Leslie, Francine, and Aleks visited Charles E. Webster Public School in Toronto where they met with students from the school’s eco-club. Webster P.S. is an ecoschool which means they focus on learning via connecting with conservation, environmentalism, and develop gardening, tree planting, on their property. 

Rouge National Urban Park: Opportunities for Enhancing Ecological Integrity

Little Rouge River as seen from Vista Trail platformPhoto by Alex Walker

The Sierra Club Ontario has long supported the protection and re-naturalization efforts within the Rouge Watershed, specifically within the Rouge National Urban Park. The Friends of the Rouge Watershed (FRW) have been advocating for the continued protection of the Rouge, especially as it relates the Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP) Management Plan.

GTA West Corridor Poisoned Dagger Aimed at Lake Ontario

When the Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, announced the termination of an environmental assessment for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) West Corridor in December of 2015, those who cherish the earth in Ontario gave a great sigh of relief. The proposed 50 kilometer-long expressway planned to slash through entirely environmental and agricultural zones, much of which is protected by the Greenbelt. The plan was a salt tipped dagger on Lake Ontario.