Conservation Authorities Act

FOCA has member associations in about 60 municipalities served by a Conservation Authority.

scroll down to view the map represented in the header above

October 2021 – Overview and Timeline of Changes coming to Conservation Authorities (AMO). The recently proclaimed Subsections of the Conservation Authorities Act will affect many programs and services, and also the nature of the relationship between municipal governments and conservation authorities (CAs). AMO has prepared five Fact Sheets that explain these changes.

January 11, 2021 – Ontario has announced the working group to help implement recent changes to the Conservation Authorities Act

December 2, 2020 – FOCA’s Executive Director presented to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario‘s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, in opposition to Schedule 6 of Bill 229 affecting Conservation Authorities. Transcripts of this session will eventually be posted here. In the meantime, read FOCA remarks to the Committee, here. (download PDF) FOCA was also a signatory, together with fellow environmental non-governmental groups, on an ad in the Toronto Star opposing the impact of this omnibus bill on our Conservation Authorities.

December 16, 2020 – The Ontario government is creating a working group to help implement changes to conservation authorities (Ontario)

December 11, 2020 – Conservation Ontario GM worries new bill puts environment at risk  (Broadview)

December 10, 2020 – COVID-19 no excuse for letting environmental protection suffer  (OPSEU)

December 9, 2020 – Everything you need to know about the Ford government’s changes to conservation and planning (Globe and Mail)

December 9, 2020 – Crombie’s resignation from Greenbelt Council reminds us to look upstream (Spacing Toronto)

December 8, 2020 –  Province Misses Chance to Respond to Ontarians’ Concerns About the Environment (Conservation Ontario)

December 8, 2020 – The Ontario Government Betrays the People of Ontario in Favour of Bad Developers with the Passage of Schedule 6 (Ontario Nature)

December 8, 2020 – Ford government to strip some powers of conservation authorities (Global News)

December 7, 2020 – Ontario Federation of Agriculture believes conservation authorities have vital role in working to protect our land and water resources (OFA)

December 4, 2020 – Conservation authorities fear ‘sweeping’ changes in government bill (CBC)

December 3, 2020 – Nature has become the destination of 2020 (

November 23, 2020 – The Province is heading to a vote on the Budget Bill 229 in early December, and with it could come  significant reforms to the Conservation Authorities Act (contained within Schedule 6 (of 44 total bill schedules)).  FOCA has written to the Finance Minister and the Premier asking them to remove Schedule 6 from the budget bill so it may be properly reviewed  as is the requirement under the Environmental Bill of Rights.

November 18, 2020 – Sudbury watershed agency raises red flag over Conservation Authorities Act changes (CBC)

November 11, 2020 – The Ford government will override the powers of Ontario’s conservation authorities, limiting their ability to assess the environmental impact of developments across the province, according to environmental groups (Toronto Star)

November 10, 2020 –  Proposed Amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act – Preliminary Analysis (Canadian Environmental Law Association)


September 2020 – Canadian Environmental Law Association, WWF Canada, and Environmental Defence have compiled this infographic on the changes facing Ontario’s Conservation Authorities

March 2020 – FOCA has provided comments to the Province of Ontario with respect to their proposed reforms to the Conservation Authorities Act. An excerpt from FOCA’s letter:

“FOCA believes that planning at the watershed level is a must, in the face of looming and increasing threats from changing precipitation patterns, threatened natural heritage and biodiversity, and the ongoing need for safe drinking water for all.”

January 2020 – The Ontario Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks is conducting public consultations: This online survey seeking  has a deadline to respond by March 13, 2020.

The online consultations are in addition to the series of meetings being held in early 2020 which are intended to engage key stakeholders to gather input on “how to improve efficiencies, consistency, transparency and oversight of conservation authorities.” FOCA presented at the consultations in Colborne, and London and provided input about the interaction of lake associations and lake residents with CAs, and the importance of planning at a watershed level. Meetings were scheduled for Barrie, and North Bay (March 5 at the Davedi Club, 313 Airport Rd, North Bay, ON P1B 8W8 – starting at 10am.)

Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities (CA’s) work in many different partnerships and collaborations with a variety of provincial ministries including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF); Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP; formerly the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change); Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Ministry of Education; and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

January 2020 – Some FOCA perspectives on watershed management, CA’s, and the Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group.

Background and Related Links:

image: conservation authorities FOCA member municipalities

Map of Conservation Authorities with FOCA Member Association municipalities

Originally formed 70 years ago largely to address flooding concerns, today, Ontario’s Conservation Authorities (CA’s) provide a long list of watershed and environmental services.

About Conservation Authorities

Find your local Conservation Authority

Flood Management and CAs

Conservation Authorities Contribute to Provincial Priorities
Conservation Authority programs contribute to a wide variety of provincial priorities including: climate change adaptation and mitigation, Great Lakes, sustainable growth, flood and other hazards warning and protection, protection and restoration of natural heritage (biodiversity), outdoor recreation, health and tourism, outdoor and other environmental education curriculum, water quality and quantity, environmental monitoring, reporting and the ‘green’ economy (jobs and programs).

April 17, 2018 – A new relationship took shape today with the signing of a new Memorandum of Co-operation between the Province of Ontario and the 36 Conservation Authorities. The agreement, signed on April 17, 2018 by the Honourable Nathalie Des Rosiers, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and Don MacIver, Chair of Conservation Ontario, formalizes the long-standing partnership between the Province and Conservation Authorities to protect Ontarians from natural hazards such as flooding, and to ensure the health of Ontario’s natural resources. “The Memorandum of Co-operation is a follow up from the new Conservation Authorities Act passed last December,” said Kim Gavine, General Manager of Conservation Ontario. “It reflects our commitment to consult and collaborate with each other more closely for effective natural resource management.”

October 2015 – FOCA’s input to the CA Act review is focused on the need for the  Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to effectively deliver on their commitment to water management everywhere in Ontario.

You can read FOCA’s official letter, submitted October 19, 2015 HERE.

August 2015: As part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s (MNRF) commitment to review the Conservation Authorities Act, a discussion paper has been posted to the Environmental Registry (registry number 012-4509)  to solicit feedback on improving the existing legislative, regulatory and policy framework that governs conservation authorities and the programs and services they deliver on behalf of the province, municipalities, and others. The deadline for submitting comments is October 19th, 2015. FOCA will be providing comments to this process on behalf of the 250+ FOCA associations that are located within the watersheds managed by CA’s, and as province-wide partners with Conservation Ontario on everything from Source Water Protection, landowner stewardship, rural land use planning, and biodiversity conservation. Notes and Background on the Conservation Authorities Act Review. As part of the review, a number of regional sessions have been scheduled to provide landowners with an opportunity to provide input into the review.

Terry ReesConservation Authorities Act