MPP Jeff Yurek Introduces the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Special Purpose Account Transparency Act, 2018

Queen’s Park— Yesterday, Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek introduced his Private Member’s Bill, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Special Purpose Account Transparency Act, 2018.

The proposed legislation would strengthen spending requirements surrounding the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Special Purpose Account.

The Special Purpose Account (SPA) was created in 1997, initiating license fees for angling and hunting in Ontario. The SPA pools together all revenues from Fishing & Hunting licensing fees and royalties, and is meant to be reinvested back into wildlife management to improve angling and hunting across the province. Unfortunately, instead of using these funds for their intended purpose, the Wynne government continues to use this account as a personal slush fund.

A 2016, report showing the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) in 2011/12 spent $69,000 to sell, buy and rent housing accommodations and $55,000 on psychologist and other medical services, tipped off the Ontario PCs. Each year the list of expenses unrelated in wildlife conservation in the SPA grows.

In addition to the report, an freedom of information request from the MNRF stated that “records do not exist” for local expenditures of the SPA, which is a direct contradiction to the Financial Administration Act which requires receipts and disbursement to be recorded for all Special Purpose Accounts.

“Instead of conservation, the Wynne government has turned hunting and fishing licenses in this province into a cash grab to pay for their own irresponsible spending,” said Yurek. “My bill will provide transparency and clarification on how these services fees are actually being spent, and will work towards reversing the years of disrespect towards Ontario’s hunters and anglers perpetuated by this government,” Yurek concluded.