Protecting our Natural Resources: The Conservation Authority Act and TRCA

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A look at the purpose and history of the Conservation Act and TRCA, with my partner in crime: Inderjit Dass.

Inderjit Dass: Orange

Najiah Tareen: Green


The Conservation Authority Act and TRCA

Ontario is honoured with invaluable natural resources that contribute vastly to the satisfaction in the Province. In the Toronto district, common spots are present through our urban communities and towns providing various services to individuals living here. Retaining toxins, backing off storm and flood waters, treating the commotion of the city, and giving brilliant green spots to unwind and play. Notwithstanding environmental change, expanding urbanization, spending limitations and many contending needs, we have to show signs of improvement at securing, reestablishing and dealing with these assets for the time being and for our future.

What is the Conservation Authority Act and TRCA

Conservation Authorities are remarkably situated to add to the compelling administration of natural resources. The idea of a Conservation Authority (CA) was relatively revolutionary. Being watershed-based and association driven, Ontario’s Conservation Authorities can take an expansive, comprehensive perspective oregion_map.giff an undeniably various arrangement of partners and a broadening scope of exercises that affect group building and our surroundings. As a preservation power, TRCA collaborates with districts in the Toronto local, group and social gatherings, organizations and people from each area to ensure and oversee nature, from the Lake Ontario shoreline, through urban waterway valleys in the groups of Toronto, Peel, York and Durham, up to regions of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Through the Years

The Conservation Authorities Act was legislated by the provincial government in 1946 because agricultural and naturalists pointed out that much of the renewable natural resources of the province were in an unhealthy state as a result of poor land, water and forestry practices during the 1930s and 1940s. The collective impacts of drought and deforestation led to extensive soil loss and flooding. The Conservation Authorities Act provided the opportunity for the province and municipalities of Ontario to join together to form a Conservation Authority within specified areas (watershed) to commence programs for natural resource management.

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The three fundamental concepts of this new approach were local initiative, cost sharing and watershed jurisdiction. Authorities have become involved in a wide range of activities depending on the resource management concerns of local residents, member municipalities and the province. There is a range of programs developed, each authority’s watershed management program is geared to its own special needs and conditions. Watershed management is a major focus among Ontario’s Conservation Authorities. More than half of them are established to address flooding and erosion concerns. In developing programs to deal with water-related issues, authorities have developed wetland protection and management, conservation information and education, provision of local and regional recreational opportunities, forest management and heritage conservation.

TRCA Recommended Priorities

TRCA recommends that the following six priorities form the foundation of the renewal of Ontario’s Conservation Authorities Act:

  • Maintain the broad mandate of Conservation Authorities as outlined in the Act
  • Recognize, validate and strengthen the role Conservation Authorities play in helping to achieve provincial and municipal objectives
  • Maintain the current collaborative approach of Conservation Authorities to recognize the important partnerships we have with municipalities and ministries
  • Establish a sustainable and equitable funding model
  • Ensure the Act and its administration allow Conservation Authorities to support emerging natural resource management issues
  • Facilitate Conservation Authority Service Excellence

The TRCA is responsible for policing the greenbelt that wraps around the amalgamated regions of the GTA and the greenways that cut through it. The work of conservation officers involves more than simply protecting a ‘pristine’ environment from human encroachment. Conservation officers are continuously re-establishing the line between ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ forms of human activity.

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A Financial Challenge

The present financing model does not perceive the assets expected to maintain an expansive suite of Conservation Authority programs that manufacture and bolster supportable groups, while acknowledging common place targets and needs. Additionally, although every watershed and district has special difficulties and necessities, the dependence on city subsidizing makes it difficult for Conservation Authorities with low populations to provide fundamental levels of service. It is thus important to establish a sustainable and equitable funding model.




Authority, C. (2014). The Living City Policies.

Walby, K., & Hurl, C. (2014). Policing Urban Natures: Conservation Officer Work in Ottawa and Toronto, Canada. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38(4), 1476-1490.

McGee, N. L. (2013). Toronto and Region Conservation Authority: Advancing the Sustainability Agenda. In Schooling for Sustainable Development in Canada and the United States (pp. 223-234). Springer Netherlands.

For more information on the TRCA, check out their homepage at:

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