Natural Resources says no to Kathleen Wynne

TORONTO, Aug. 29, 2017 /CNW/ - The Deputy Minister Bill Thornton has said NO to Kathleen Wynne's promises to fix wildlife rehabilitation in Ontario and refused to meet with representatives from the rehabilitation community. Wildlife rehabilitators take in injured and orphaned wild animals, rehabilitate them and release them back into the wild. Rehabilitators receive no financial support from any level of government. Wildlife rescue centres are largely run by volunteers and most operate at personal cost and by donations from the public. Wildlife rescue centres have invested hard earned dollars on things such as buildings, caging and equipment yet can be closed down at any time with no right of appeal.

More troubling is the lack of provision for authorized rehabilitators to defend themselves should the Ministry decide to interfere with a rehabilitator's programme or decide to shut a rehabilitator down completely. Wildlife rehabilitators have no right of appeal to these decisions. They are vulnerable to the whims of Ministry staff.

In most cases, Ministry staff  have little or no knowledge of wildlife rehabilitation but still have the power to close down a wildlife rescue centre without giving a reason. Even a wildlife rescue centre that has been in operation for 20 to 30 years can be closed with no recourse. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has made it clear wildlife rehabbers have no rights. If you get a difficult MNR rep in your district life can be hell (attempts to shut down two wildlife rescue centres are examples).

Ironically, hunters who kill animals have the right of appeal should their hunting permit be suspended or cancelled.

The Premier promised to correct this situation and change the policy and regulations to facilitate rather than punish the rehabilitation community. Three Ministers of Natural Resources later, an endless series of meetings and even a meeting with the current Minister Kathleen McGary has resulted in nothing. Even a legal letter of opinion from an appeals lawyer saying that under the Fish and Wildlife Act "authorized wildlife custodians" (wildlife rehabbers) are entitled to the right of appeal. The Minister of Natural Resources has said NO.

Ontario has lost almost 2/3 of its wildlife rescue centres since the MNR took away wildlife rehabbers' rights.

SOURCE Ontario Wildlife Rescue

For further information: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/media/201703a.php or contact Sandy Donald 416-436-9892 (photos are also available), sandy@ontariowildliferescue.ca, www.ontariowildliferescue.ca

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Ontario Wildlife Rescue

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