The Environment Sector provides advice, guidance, and recommendations to the Political Confederacy (PC) and Chiefs of Ontario on water, natural resources, energy, species at risk, traditional knowledge, environmental assessments, mining, climate change, and others.



Oceans Protection Plan: Places of Refuge Initiative

A place of refuge is a site where a ship in need of assistance can take action to stabilize her condition to protect human life and the environment. Place of refuge requests may be complex and urgent, requiring close coordination and communications between the vessel and Marine Safety authorities. Transport Canada is the lead agency for decisions related to ships requesting a place of refuge in Canadian waters. Places of refuge are not designated in advance because the most suitable shelter can be determined only after the details of the incident are known. To be best prepared for such incidents, the Government of Canada has created a National Places of Refuge Contingency Plan and is updating five regional plans.

World Water Day 2018

World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about focusing attention on the importance of water. The theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.


Shifting the Framework of Canadian Water Governance through Indigenous Research Methods: Acknowledging the Past with an Eye on the Future

First Nations communities in Canada are disproportionately affected by poor water quality. As one example, many communities have been living under boil water advisories for decades, but government interventions to date have had limited impact.


Jake Swamp – Water Voices

The Haudenosaunee give thanks to all of the Natural World. Water was given original instructions and a duty on how to maintain balance within the natural world.


Elder and Youth Gatherings

Reconnecting with Mother Earth – Elders and Youth Gathering 2017

In November 2017, First Nations Elders and youth from across Ontario gathered in Thunder Bay to discuss climate change and its impacts on First Nation communities, cultures, and Mother Earth. The gathering focused on understanding climate change from Elder and youth perspectives in communities and regions across Ontario and resulted in meaningful discussion and teachings being shared between the Elders and youth.

To view the Elders and Youth Gathering video, please click here: Reconnecting with Mother Earth


Elder and Youth Water Gathering 2015

Over 70 First Nations youth and elders gathered in Sault Ste. Marie in March 2015 to attend the Chiefs of Ontario’s Following in the footsteps of our Ancestors Elders and Youth Water Gathering. Participants discussed the role of First Nations traditional ecological knowledge in protecting the Great Lakes.


Climate Change

Ontario’s boreal forest extends from the northern limits of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest to the Hudson Bay Lowlands with an area of 50 million hectares.  This region contains two thirds of Ontario’s forest.  Interest in protecting the Boreal Forests may stem from the enormous amount of carbon stored in the ecosystem, and will play an important role in carbon emission forest offset programs within provincial climate change mitigation, legislation and Cap and Trade economics. Ontario and Quebec are particularly interested in carbon trading development visible in the Ontario-Quebec Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the bi-national Western Climate Initiative.


Species at Risk

The purpose of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) legislation passed in 2002 is to prevent wildlife species, such plants, animals or organisms found in the wild and native to Canada, from becoming extirpated or extinct; as well as to provide the renewal of species that are extirpated, extinct or vulnerable to human activity; and to manage the species of special concern.



Much of the forestry-related legislation and initiatives value forests in terms of its ability to act as a carbon off-set.  Forests will be a huge asset to Canada as the cap and trade method of regulating green house gasses is quickly becoming the dominant approach North American governments are taking to establish a green economy and fight climate change.


The Far North

The Far North makes up 42% of the Ontario’s land mass. The Far North Act supports the protection of at least half of the Far North or approximately 225,000 square kilometres in a network of protected areas.   The Far North is also significant in that it absorbs approximately 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air each year.


Drinking Water Safety

Unsafe drinking water and waste water systems pose a severe risk to our citizens, undermining the overall wellness of our communities. 84% of water treatment plants are at high or medium risk in First Nation communities in Ontario. The Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation estimates that it will cost approximately $228 – $296 million to upgrade the 158 existing water treatment plants. Many factors contribute to the prevalence of unsafe drinking water in our communities, such as a lack of resourcing to upkeep or build necessary infrastructure, inadequate disinfection systems, and contamination from industrial activities.


Land Declaration

“We, the Anishinaabek, the Mushkegowuk, and the Onkwehonwe, are the land. Our ancestors were the land, we are the land and our youth and future generations will be the land… What we do to the land – we do to ourselves, and to our future generations…..We draw from sacred law, traditional law, customary laws – we need to protect the lands, the waters and all living things for future generations.” We are the Land Declaration 2010


Traditional Knowledge

ATK (Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge) is one of many terms used to describe the collective knowledge systems unique to the First Peoples of Turtle Island.


Contact the Environment Department:

Kathleen Padulo, Director of Environment
Email: kathleen.padulo@coo.org
Toronto Office: (416) 597-1266

Department of Environment

Kathleen Padulo, Director of Environment

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