FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2006
Wounded MNR limps into
hunting season, too weak to enforce game laws
TORONTO – The Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources is too weak to adequately enforce
provincial game laws this hunting season because of deep cuts
to the work of Conservation Officers, the Ontario Public
Service Employees Union says.
“As hunting season begins in
earnest, morale among Conservation Officers is at an all-time
low, and for good reason,” said OPSEU president Leah
Casselman. “We have fewer officers in the field, and the
officers that we do have are being forced to ration gas for
their patrol vehicles.
“This is a sad year for all of
us who care about protecting Ontario’s natural resources from
In 1992, Ontario had 257
uniformed officers in the field. In 2006, there are just 173
(a 31 per cent reduction).
For the 2006-07 budget year,
the MNR has sharply reduced budget allocations for
Conservation Officers for fuel, repairs, cell phone bills,
uniforms, meals, and so on.
“Our best estimate is that
operating expenses for COs are about one-half of what they
were last year,” said Casselman. “While some MNR officials,
including the Minister, claim that there have been no cuts at
all, the fact is that this year our officers have spent more
time parked at the office than at any time they can remember.
“This is a travesty,” she said.
“Our Conservation Officers are men and women of the highest
integrity, with a devotion to public service that is second to
“To the McGuinty Liberals I
say, ‘Shame on you for not supporting them in their critically
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For more information:
Randy Robinson (416)
448-7441; (416) 788-9134 (cell)