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Conservation Authorities of Ontario

A total of 31 Conservation Authorities operate in southern Ontario and an additional five Conservation Authorities deliver programs and services in northern Ontario. 90% of Ontario's more than 13 million population lives in a watershed managed by a Conservation Authority.

Conservation Authorities are nonprofit organizations, each with their own Board of Directors apprised of members appointed by local municipalities. The majority of Board representatives are elected municipal officials. Conservation Authorities are legislated by the Conservation Authorities Act (1946).

Funding for Conservation Authorities is derived from a variety of sources, but on the average 48% is provided through municipal levies; 40% comes from self generated revenues; 10% comes from provincial grants and special projects and 2% is provided by federal grants or contracts (2013 CA Statistical Survey).

The network of Conservation Authorities is represented by Conservation Ontario, which is a nonprofit association located in Newmarket, Ontario.

Mandate
Conservation Authorities, created in 1946 by an Act of the Provincial Legislature, are mandated to ensure the conservation, restoration and responsible management of Ontario's water, land and natural habitats through programs that balance human, environmental and economic needs.

Objectives

  • ensure that Ontario's rivers, lakes and streams are properly safeguarded, managed and restored;
  • protect, manage and restore Ontario's woodlands, wetlands and natural habitat;
  • develop and maintain programs that will protect life and property from natural hazards such as flooding and erosion;
  • provide opportunities for the public to enjoy, learn from and respect Ontario's natural environment.

Protect, manage and restore Ontario's woodlands, wetlands and natural habitat
Because what we do on land is reflected in our water and land ecosystems, Conservation Authorities develop programs that protects natural resources and promotes watershed stewardship practices that lead to healthy, sustainable communities and industries.

Ensure that Ontario's rivers, lakes and streams are properly safeguarded, managed and restored
Conservation Authorities protect, restore and effectively manage impacts on Ontario's water resources. Conservation Authorities also provide advice and counsel to a wide variety of agencies, landowners, businesses, and all levels of government on the responsible management of water.

Develop and maintain programs that will protect life and property from natural hazards such as flooding and erosion
Conservation Authorities work in partnership with municipalities to protect life and property through the development of programs and services that minimize or prevent the impact of natural disasters such as flooding and erosion.

Provide opportunities for the public to enjoy, learn from and respect Ontario's natural environment
Through the lands they manage and own, as well as the educational programs they deliver, Conservation Authorities provide opportunities for people to understand and appreciate the value of their natural environment as well as the social and economic benefits of protecting that environment.