From Queen’s Park – Looking for input on MNR service delivery

Sarah Campbell-MPPKENORA – Leaders Ledger – Since being elected last fall I have met with a number of people who are frustrated with the services being delivered by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

In our region, hunting and fishing are a way of life, yet many people find the rules and regulations in place inconsistent, frustrating and lacking clarity.

While we all understand that many regulations are in place to ensure that these resources are in place for future generations, I have spoken to a number of people who think these rules could be better applied, clearer, or MNR services could be easier to access. That is why I am seeking your input on Ministry of Natural Resources services, so that I can push for better access and more efficient service.

One thing I want to be clear about is, while MNR staff are hardworking and genuinely care about the services they offer, sometimes the regulations and systems do not work as intended and that is what I am hoping I can work with them to make improvements.

Among the complaints I have heard is that the newly formatted game tags are frustrating to work with and require too much paperwork, that the 2012 MNR Fishing Guidelines Book is confusing and not user friendly, and that a wider variety of licenses are available to non-residents than Canadians, among other things.

In addition, a number of license issuers have contacted my office to suggest that the new “user friendly” system brought in by the government is anything but, this includes complaints that the online system is often inaccessible, too time consuming, and that the support centre closes too early for issuers in Northwestern Ontario.

Another issue that I have heard complaints about is access to crown land. Across the province, I have heard from a number of individuals who have used the same lakes and forests for years, only to find those areas now off limits. Many people are frustrated with the lack of transparency or apparent reasons for these decisions and I believe they deserve explanations for the new access limitations.

These are some, but not all of the issues, that I have heard about and raised with the Ministry of Natural Resources over the past few months. As my party’s critic for this portfolio I hope to work with the government to achieve improvements and eliminate some of the frustrations that occur.

In order to make a strong case for these services to be improved, I need to hear your stories and input about what changes can be made to make these services more effective and user friendly. That is why I am asking you to share your concerns with me through my Dryden office by email at scdryden@ndp.on.ca, mail at 58 Princess St., Dryden, ON P8N 1C7, or fax at 807-223-6593.