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Legal Framework for Protected Areas: Ontario (Canada) I IUCN

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This case study examines the newly revised statutory framework applicable in Ontario, Canada’s
largest province. Key aspects of the modernization initiative include the introduction of an ecological
integrity standard, and a refined distinction between parks and conservation reserves, the latter offering
significantly greater opportunities for traditional land use activities on the part of aboriginal or First
Nations communities. The very wide range of protected areas across Ontario is not comprehensively
integrated and steps have been taken only recently to assess these against common standards,
including IUCN protected area management categories. The province has now embarked upon a new
initiative in the ‘Far North’ to substantially increase the coverage of protected areas through communitybased
planning. The new measures, not yet operational, are responsive both to the expectations of
First Nations residents of this remote region and to the provincial commitment to address climate
change challenges, notably the objective of storing carbon in large tracts of the boreal forest.

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