THUNDER BAY – LEADERS LEDGER – As Minister of Natural Resources, I have the tremendous privilege of leading a ministry with a long and respected history of protecting our province’s valued natural resources. For ministry staff, their work is not just a job – it’s a passion.
That’s why I’m excited about the opportunity we now have to deliver on our mandate in a way that serves Ontarians better – a transformation plan that was introduced in the 2012 Budget.
Why is this plan so necessary?
Over the years, and with the best of intentions, we’ve created processes that take too long and cost too much to administer. Ontarians – from homeowners planning work on their property to forestry companies creating jobs to community groups helping protect endangered species – have told us that our rules and processes don’t work for them.
At the same time, we have a responsibility to contribute to the government’s commitment to balancing the budget by 2017-18 – and to put the ministry on a sustainable financial footing.
MNR’s three-year transformation plan proposes a series of legislative amendments that, if passed, would help us achieve key parts of that plan.
Through this transformation plan, we envision:
• streamlined permitting and licensing processes to help individuals and businesses access services faster and more efficiently
• a shift toward regional rather than local service delivery, while maintaining a strong field presence across the province
• a more strategic approach to partnerships, with funding aligned to core ministry priorities
• redesigned science and information functions with a focus on broader ecosystems rather than individual species.
I know some groups are concerned that transformation may change my ministry’s commitment to protecting our natural resources. I want to assure our stakeholders – and all Ontarians – that’s not going to happen, and I encourage anyone with concerns to sit down with us as we shape the details of our plan.
Our commitment to our core principles and priorities – fish and wildlife, endangered species protection, forestry, Crown land management, water, parks and protected areas, non-renewable resources, and public safety – is unwavering. And we will continue to use the best available science to inform our decision-making.
We have an ambitious plan, and while I recognize the challenges ahead, I know we’ve set the right course. I’m eager to get started, and if the budget is passed, I look forward to engaging our stakeholders in a thoughtful dialogue about continuing the ministry’s proud tradition of protecting our province’s natural resources.
Michael Gravelle MPP
Minister of Natural Resources