QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett questioned what measures the government has put in place to protect moose and to modernize the hunter application process during Question Period in the Ontario Legislature today.

“Of course, we want to ensure that our fish and wildlife remain healthy and abundant—a difficult task that requires vigilant oversight as circumstances on the ground are always changing,” Barrett stated to Minister of Natural Resources John Yakabuski. “One of the more challenging species to track and monitor is the Canadian moose. Can the minister shed some light on what his ministry is doing to ensure that moose populations are well managed and protected?”

After providing background on the issues, Yakabuski answered, “The moose, the iconic moose, is a majestic animal and a staple of Ontario’s landscape. Moose hunting contributes over $205 million a year to Ontario’s economy and forms a key part of the livelihoods and cultures of our northern communities and First Nations. We are improving how moose are managed to ensure sustainable populations while making tag allocations fairer and more consistent.”

Barrett then highlighted how the ministry uses independent expertise through the Big Game Management Committee, and asked about recent changes the ministry made to the moose tag allocation system.

“In order to protect the population of the species, we are proposing stricter calf tag quotas, new bow hunting seasons and quotas for moose,” Yakabuski answered. “As it stands now, some hunters have been applying year after year for the tag draw but have never received one. Beginning in 2021, we are introducing common sense and fairness to the process by making it easier for those who’ve been consistently unsuccessful in the draw to receive a tag.”

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For more information contact, MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or toby.barrett@pc.ola.org

ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

DRAFT HANSARD

Sept. 14, 2020

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

Mr. Toby Barrett: We have a beautiful and varied natural environment here in Ontario. Lakes and rivers dot the landscape from lowlands in the south to boreal forest and the Canadian Shield in the north. Our province is home to many fish and wildlife species that make our ecosystems unique, provide plenty of recreational opportunities for families and support business and tourism across the province.

Of course, we want to ensure that our fish and wildlife remain healthy and abundant—a difficult task that requires vigilant oversight as circumstances on the ground are always changing. One of the more challenging species to track and monitor is the Canadian moose. Can the minister shed some light on what his ministry is doing to ensure that moose populations are well managed and protected?

Hon. John Yakabuski: I want to thank the member for the question. Above all, my ministry is concerned with the well-being of our wildlife and the support of our outdoor recreation activities, such as hunting and fishing, that form a part of our heritage.

The moose, the iconic moose, is a majestic animal and a staple of Ontario’s landscape. Moose hunting contributes over $205 million a year to Ontario’s economy and forms a key part of the livelihoods and cultures of our northern communities and First Nations. We are improving how moose are managed to ensure sustainable populations while making tag allocations fairer and more consistent.

The task of wildlife management is not a simple one. No region is perfectly alike, and it’s important for us to listen to the concerns of all parties in all regions of this province as we improve the moose hunting system in Ontario. Thank you, Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary question.

Mr. Toby Barrett: Speaker, I’m glad that after so many years of Liberal inattention, we have a minister who understands the importance of fish and wildlife in our province, within our culture and within our economy. This iconic animal, in particular, is so important to the health of our ecosystems and to our rich hunting tradition in the province of Ontario.

Minister, I know you’ve already done so much to improve the state of hunting and fishing for people in Ontario. Last year, you convened the big game management committee. It’s an independent third-party committee comprised of hunters and experts. They use data from wildlife population surveys for the purpose of gathering recommendations, all for the purpose of ensuring a fair and sustainable management of our big game species. How is the Ontario government addressing hunters’ concerns about accessibility, their concerns about the fairness of the draw system, and how are you working to modernize the process?

Hon. John Yakabuski: I again thank the member for his questions. I’d be happy to outline some of the things we’ve done so far. In order to protect the population of the species, we are proposing stricter calf tag quotas, new bow hunting seasons and quotas for moose. As it stands now, some hunters have been applying year after year for the tag draw but have never received one.

Beginning in 2021, we are introducing common sense and fairness to the process by making it easier …

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(Mr. Yakabuski)

—year after year for the tag draw but have never received one.

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Beginning in 2021, we are introducing common sense and fairness to the process by making it easier for those who’ve been consistently unsuccessful in the draw to receive a tag. Changes like that are what we’re all about in this government: listening to the concerns of the people of Ontario and making common-sense changes that bring fairness and accountability to the government and the management of our resources and the environment.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. The next question?

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