The province is introducing changes to the Biodiversity Act to address concerns from provincial stakeholders and ensure collaboration remains a key focus, as was always intended.
The changes remove biodiversity emergency orders, offences and fines from the act, and limit the scope to Crown lands unless permission is given on private lands.
The act allows the province to work with private landowners in a voluntary fashion to develop biodiversity management zones on their property. The voluntary aspect of the proposed changes aims to help build trust in the new act.
“Listening to the concerns of my caucus members who have been speaking to their constituents contributed to these changes,” said Premier Iain Rankin. “It is so critical for us to find a path together to address threats and create opportunities for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in Nova Scotia.”
The act commits to the government reporting to the public on the state of the province’s biodiversity beginning within three years of it coming into force. The reporting will guide future actions for how the government addresses threats and opportunities for biodiversity in the province.
To ensure accountability, the government will propose a clause committing to reviewing the legislation in five years through public consultations.
“This legislation was always intended to be collaborative, with all parties working together to protect and sustainably manage biodiversity,” said Lands and Forestry Minister Chuck Porter. “We are proud to be able to bring in a Biodiversity Act, and we are determined to get it right.”
The next step in the legislative process is law amendments, where the committee will hear further feedback from stakeholders and individuals.