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Ontario must do more to address pollution in Indigenous communities: Watchdog

Last Updated Oct 24, 2017 at 10:24 am EDT

Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe's annual report Good Choices, Bad Choices, Oct. 24, 2017. Image Credit: eco.on.ca

A new report from Ontario’s environmental watchdog says the province must do more to address pollution impacting Indigenous communities.

Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe says the provincial government has long ignored pollution that is adversely affecting Indigenous communities like the Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations northwest of Dryden, Ont., and the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia, Ont.

In her annual report – called Good Choices, Bad Choices – Saxe says the government must make environmental justice part of its reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

The commissioner also highlights the plight of the Algonquin wolf, saying that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is failing to protect the species at risk.

The report says there may be as few as 250 mature Algonquin wolves in the wild, and trapping and hunting remain major threats to the species’ survival.

The report also warns that toxic algae is a growing threat to Ontario’s lakes and that the province is relying on voluntary programs to limit phosphorus entry into the waterways.