Ontario Supports Telephone-Based Social and Educational Programs for Seniors

TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing $467,500 to the Older Adult Centres' Association of Ontario (OACAO) to administer the new Seniors' Centre Without Walls Micro-Grants program and other capacity building initiatives. The funding will support a broad range of seniors' organizations and help people stay connected to their communities through telephone-based social and educational programs.

The announcement was made today by Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility.

"Our government is committed to ensuring that our seniors have the support and resources they need to maintain their health, wellbeing, and a good quality of life," said Minister Cho. "Social isolation can be particularly challenging for seniors, especially during the pandemic. Our investment will help ensure more seniors can access valuable telephone-based programs to combat social isolation and help keep them safe."

The Seniors' Centre Without Walls Micro-Grants will help organizations deliver remote teleconference programming to meet the unique needs of older adults in Indigenous and Francophone communities, as well as seniors living in rural and remote areas of the province.

Indigenous communities and non-profit organizations that serve seniors are eligible to apply for the program until September 30, 2020. Visit the OACAO's webpage to find full program guidelines and access an online application. 

"The Older Adult Centres' Association of Ontario is pleased to work with the Government of Ontario as our funding partner to offer the Seniors' Centre Without Walls Micro-Grants Program," said Sue Hesjedahl, Executive Director of the OACAO. "The health and safety of Ontario's seniors is most important during the COVID-19 pandemic, including their mental health and social connectedness. Seniors' Centre Without Walls is an accessible and inclusive telephone-based program model which reduces the negative impacts of social isolation and ensures that participants remain engaged in their communities."

This work builds on Ontario's commitment to help seniors stay independent, healthy and active within their communities. In June, the government announced an investment of up to $4 million for the Seniors Community Grant program, which provides funding for non-profit organizations, local services boards or Indigenous groups to develop programming for seniors.

Quick Facts

  • The Seniors’ Centre Without Walls model is a free interactive telephone-based group program for socially isolated seniors and people with disabilities who find it difficult to leave their homes.
  • By 2023, there will be three million Ontarians over the age of 65; this is the province’s fastest growing demographic.

Additional Resources

September 21, 2020

Investing in Training and Job Opportunities in Lindsay and Peterborough Region

Investing in Training and Job Opportunities in Lindsay and Peterborough Region

LINDSAY — Ontario is investing $225,032 to help people in the City of Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough train for good jobs in a variety of employment sectors.

“Jobs change lives,” said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. “Improving employment services by focusing on the local needs of our community will help people upgrade important skills employers are looking for and enable them to get back into the work force in high demand sectors that will contribute to the province getting back on track. The “Filling the Gap” program will connect people to jobs and employers to people.” “VCCS Employment Services Inc. is pleased to be able to deliver programming through the Skills Catalyst Fund. Our project, Filling the Gap: Using Competency-Based Hiring and Portfolio Development to Connect Job Seekers and Employers is an integrated model which will bridge the disconnect between employers who have employment opportunities to fill and the job seekers who are looking for meaningful employment.” Brenda Roxburgh, Executive Director VCCS Employment Services Inc. A $225,032.00 investment in the program run by VCCS Employment Services Inc. to train 40 job seekers and 10 employers across a variety of local and regional industries where filling available employment opportunities has been a challenge. Participants in the program will represent those individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in the labour market, including women, youth, persons with disabilities and newcomers/international students. In-class training will begin in October. Training includes focused competency portfolio development prior to a job placement / offer of employment by participating employers who will receive support and individualized training plan development and ongoing support.
“This community-based project will work in partnership with program stakeholders including those from Literacy and Essential Skills services, Workforce Development, and regional Employment Services service providers as well as dedicated employer partners. Through the implementation of competency-based hiring and portfolio development to highlight the skills of job seekers will enable employers to build a pipeline of talent to meet their hiring needs.” Brenda Roxburgh, Executive Director, VCCS Employment Services Inc.

“As our economy continues to reopen the need for, training and retraining is essential,” added Scott “Projects like “Filling the Gap will connect people to the jobs they need and businesses to skilled workers.”

Provincewide, the government is investing $37 million in 86 projects to help thousands of job seekers get the skills they need to become job ready. Local training is provided by university, college, community and industry organizations. 


Employment and Training Services in Ontario

Open for Business



September 14, 2020

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business & Charities

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business & Charities

On June 1st, the Ontario government announced the $8 million 'COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business' (CEAP-SB), to provide targeted relief for small businesses and charitable organizations struggling with bill payments due to the pandemic. Click here to read the news release

Under this program, small business and registered charities may be eligible for up to $850 in support towards their electricity bill if they primarily use electricity for heating, or up to $425 otherwise. Small business and registered charities may also be eligible for up to $425 in support towards their natural gas bill.

Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock small businesses and charities can now apply for the CEAP-SB.

Click here for the Hydro One application.

Click here for the Elexicon Energy application

There is also assistance for residential customers.

The Ontario government is also offering $9 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) to support consumers struggling to pay their energy bills during the pandemic. CEAP will provide one-time payments to consumers to help pay down any electricity bill debt incurred over the COVID‑19 period.

Click here for the Hydro One residential application.

Click here for the Elexicon Energy residential application.

Please feel free to contact my office if you require any assistance with your applications. Thank you and stay safe!


Laurie Scott, MPP

Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock


14 Lindsay Street North

Ontario, K9V 1T4

Tel. 705-324-6654

Toll Free. 1-800-424-2490

Fax. 705-324-6938


September 01, 2020

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB)

On June 1st, the Ontario government announced the $8 million 'COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business' (CEAP-SB), to provide targeted relief for small businesses and charitable organizations struggling with bill payments due to the pandemic.

We thank all the small businesses across our province who took the necessary actions to follow public health guidelines and protect the public during the state of emergency.

Small businesses and charitable organizations can apply for CEAP-SB through their local distribution company/utility starting August 31.

News Release June 1, 2020

August 28, 2020

Ontario Supporting Agricultural and Rural Fall Fairs and Exhibitions

LINDSAY — The Ontario government is expanding eligibility for agriculture societies to apply for funding to help offset the financial losses due to the cancellation of fall fairs, exhibitions and activities during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. For this year only, nearly $1 million will be made available to all qualifying agricultural and horticultural societies to help ensure operations. In previous years, organizations could only qualify for provincial funding if they operated fall fairs.

The announcement was made today by Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

"Our agricultural and horticultural organizations are part of the backbone of rural Ontario. We know that the decision to cancel their fairs and events was a difficult but important one in order to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Minister Hardeman. "We are providing this funding to help continue operations and relieve some of the burden they are experiencing during this difficult time."

"Our horticultural and agricultural societies have educated and entertained us on the importance of agriculture for more than a century," said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. "This funding will help support this important sector of Ontario's economy as the province recovers from the impacts of COVID-19."

The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OASS) has reported that over 175 fall fairs and events have been cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

"The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) is grateful for the Ontario government's support," said Vince Brennan, OAAS Manager. "This investment shows the confidence and appreciation that the Ontario government has for our over 200 Ontario Agricultural Societies, their members and volunteers and the significant contribution they make to their communities and rural life in Ontario."

"Thanks to the Ontario government for all of the support and assistance they have shown to all of the Societies/Clubs affiliated with the Ontario Horticultural Association (OHA)," said Charles Freeman, Vice President of the Ontario Horticultural Association. "Ontario's continuing support of the 27,000 plus membership across the province is appreciated by everyone involved with the OHA."

The province provides some funding to individual agricultural societies through grant payments enabled through the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act. Under the Act, Regulation 16 sets out that in the year an agricultural society is paid a grant they must hold an agricultural exhibition, such as a fall fair. The COVID-19 restrictions have prevented the events that would help to meet this criteria in 2020, with some societies at risk of closing their organizations without this support.

Quick Facts

  • The OASS is a provincial association representing over 200 agricultural societies from across the province.
  • The OHA is a volunteer charitable organization that encourages interest in gardening and related environmental issues representing over 280 horticultural societies from across the province.

Additional Resources

August 20, 2020

Ontario Takes Additional Steps to Better Protect Students and Staff

TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing more than half a billion dollars in supports to school boards to ensure schools across the province will reopen safely in September and to protect students and staff. These supports will enable school boards to provide more physical distancing in classrooms and direct funding to utilize non-school community spaces, and will allow boards to make adjustments based on their local needs.

Details on these important updates for the 2020-2021 school year were provided today by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, following extensive consultations with leading medical experts across Ontario.

"We have demonstrated throughout this outbreak that we will deliver the strongest and safest plan in Canada for Ontario students, with a recognition that we will continuously strengthen it over time," said Minister Lecce. "This investment and access to reserves will enable more social distancing and improve air quality, and ultimately strengthen the layers of protection to keep students and staff safe." 

Ontario is building on its plan and taking additional steps to ensure a safe return to schools in September, based on the best medical advice available. The government is allowing boards to make necessary adaptations, in consultation with their local public health unit. Adaptations could include smaller class sizes and leasing additional space. Additional measures include:


  • Unlocking access to reserves up to $496 million, an increase of $244 million, by allowing boards to access up to 2 per cent of their operating budget from their prior year accumulated surplus. This funding can be applied to local priorities of each board, based on the immediate needs on the ground to prepare for the start of school. For boards that do not have sufficient reserves, the government will provide up to an additional $11 million in funding to support equitable school re-opening plans provincewide.
  • Providing a record-setting $50 million in one-time funding to support improved ventilation, air quality and HVAC system effectiveness in schools. School boards will continue to maximize their use of existing school renewal funding, which totals over $1.4 billion this school year. Boards will focus on improving air systems in older schools, portables, and in neighbourhoods with higher rates of community transmission.


The government is also releasing a Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM)  that ensures students receive a high quality and consistent teacher-led remote learning experience. This directive will significantly strengthen minimum expectations, as well as provide a consistent approach across the province to ensure students are fully engaged in their learning, and have a predictable timetable for synchronous, live learning. It will include ministry-set requirements on the minimum time for synchronous learning by grade, protocols for communicating with parents and students and access to technology. The directive also outlines effective practices, such as training and technical support, which will enhance the implementation of synchronous instruction for students and staff.

In addition, the government is ensuring accountability for parents and an improved remote learning experience by investing $18 million to help school boards hire principal and administrative support to better deliver and oversee synchronous, live learning. Students will continue to have several opportunities throughout the school year to re-enter classroom learning, and boards need to provide at least one re-entry point in the fall.

"We are taking action to ensure live, synchronous learning is improved, providing parents with consistency and a timetable to mirror the in-class experience," said Minister Lecce. "In order for remote learning to be successful, we are urging unions to embrace this form of learning that parents expect and students deserve."

The ministry will continue working closely with public health and school boards to monitor and report on the health status of school communities as part of the government's outbreak management plan.

Quick Facts

  • On July 30, 2020 the government released the Guide to Reopening Ontario’s Schools, which was developed in consultation with leading medical experts and approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. This plan committed over $300 million in funding to support a safe reopening of Ontario’s schools, which is part of the evolving layers of prevention the government is providing to students, parents, staff, and the communities they live and work in. The provincial guidelines provide a baseline and school boards are encouraged to adapt them to meet local needs and support students and families. They include:
    • In-person classes for elementary school students five days per week for the 2020-2021 school year
    • Masking for students in Grades 4-12
    • Focus on cohorting and limiting student contacts
    • Adapted secondary school delivery for designated boards
  • The Ministry of Education is working in partnership with school boards to deliver access to the fast, reliable and secure broadband internet connectivity needed to support modernized, digital learning in school. All secondary schools are on target to have access by September 2020, and elementary schools by September 2021. As of June 30, 2020, broadband modernization has been completed at 2,252 schools, including 755 rural schools and 461 northern schools. Work is currently in progress at 2,685 schools, including 338 rural schools and 40 northern schools.
  • On June 19, 2020, the government released a provincial reopening guidance plan to school boards and asked school boards to prepare their own restart plans for the upcoming school year, which were presented to the Ministry of Education.
  • In the 2020-2021 school year, the government is investing approximately $1.4 billion for school renewal needs, which meets the standards outlined by the Auditor General of Ontario.
  • The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) will supply key personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies to schools. Supplies needed for September are ready to be delivered to schools by mid-August.
  • Prior to school starting, School Mental Health Ontario will provide school boards with a professional learning framework and toolkit to support the mental health of all students that can be tailored at the board and school level for different audiences. The professional learning will have a strong focus on building students' social-emotional learning skills so that they can build resilience, manage their stress and build positive relationships.
  • On March 20, 2020, the Ministry of Education unveiled the Learn at Home / Apprendre à la maison portal, which provides online resources for families and students.
  • Parents and guardians have until August 31, 2020 to apply for Support for Families. Under this program, parents or guardians of children between 0-12 years old, or up to 21 years old for children and youth with special needs, are eligible for a one-time payment, per child, to purchase educational materials to support learning at home.

Additional Resources

August 14, 2020

MPP Laurie Scott announces more than $ 8 million dollars for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock

Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock — Today, MPP Laurie Scott announced more than $8 million dollars in provincial assistance for local communities across HaliburtonKawartha Lake–Brock in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.
“This is new money for our communities that will provide municipalities with the support they need to protect the health and well-being of Ontario residents,” said Laurie Scott MPP.  “This assistance will continue to deliver needed public services as the province continues down the path of renewal, growth and economic recovery.”
The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is delivering on its commitment to provide urgently needed emergency assistance to Ontario's 444 municipalities.  Communities in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock will receive funding to address municipal operating pressures related to the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the first round of emergency funding under the Safe Restart Agreement.
Local municipal funding is as follows: 


Municipal Funding Phase 1 Total (50%)

Transit Funding
Phase 1 (33.3%)

Algonquin Highlands

$    275,900  



$    323,200 


Cavan Monaghan      

$    217,100 


Dysart et al  

$    475,400                    

$     14,293

Haliburton County

$ 1,435,300 


Highlands East          

$    281,700 


Kawartha Lakes

$  4,835,000                           

$    108,793

Minden Hills              

$     402,200 


Total funding             

$  8,245,000           

$   123,086

What this means for our municipalities
Ontario secured up to $4 billion in emergency assistance for municipalities through the Safe Restart Agreement, which gives them the support and flexibility they need to protect the health and well-being of their communities, while continuing to deliver critical public services as the province continues on the path of renewal, growth and economic recovery. 
In September, Ontario’s 444 municipalities will receive $695 million in Phase 1 funding for municipal operating pressures. This funding will be allocated on a per household basis and would be shared 50/50 between upper- and lower-tier municipalities. 
Up to $695 million in additional funding will be available through Phase 2 for municipalities that have COVID-related financial impacts that exceed the initial per household allocation provided under Phase 1. Phase 2 funding will be application based.
Transit support
In addition to the support for municipalities, the government is providing over $660 million in the first phase of transit funding to the 110 municipalities with transit systems. The funding can be used to provide immediate relief from transit pressures, such as lower ridership, as well as for new costs due to COVID-19, such as enhanced cleaning and masks for staff. In the second phase, additional allocations will be provided based on expenses incurred to ensure the funding meets the needs of municipalities. As part of the Safe Restart Agreement with the federal government, up to $2 billion is being provided to support public transit in Ontario. 
The government is committed to working in partnership with municipalities to ensure they can emerge stronger than ever and help lead Ontario’s economic recovery.
  • The federal Safe Restart Agreement provides $19 billion to Canadian provinces and territories to help ensure a strong recovery and support frontline health care, families, and communities. Across all streams of federal investment, the Safe Restart Agreement provides over $7 billion in funding and in-kind supports to Ontario.
  • The agreement provides up to a total of $4 billion in funding to the province’s 444 municipalities.
  • The province is making a contribution of 50 per cent to the municipal supports and transit funding available through the Safe Restart Agreement, with the federal government contributing the other 50 per cent. 
  • Ontario is also providing municipal service managers and Indigenous housing partners an additional $212 million under the Social Services Relief Fund to help protect vulnerable people from COVID-19. This investment can help them protect homeless shelter staff and residents, expand rent support programming and create longer-term housing solutions. This brings the government’s total Social Services Relief Fund investment provided to service managers and Indigenous program administrators to $510 million, and builds on our COVID19 Action Plan to Protect Vulnerable Ontarians. 
  • Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government has worked with municipalities to provide them with the tools and supports they need, including enabling them to hold virtual council and local board meetings, and temporarily extending expiring development charge bylaws to ensure they could continue to collect this vital source of revenue. 

Additional Resources

August 13, 2020

Ontario Encourages All Residents to Take the Ontario Parks 30x30 Challenge

Toronto — The Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Jeff Yurek, issued the following statement for all Ontarians:

"For months individuals and families have been doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying inside, and I applaud everyone for their effort. With the progress we have made together, and as we move into Stage 3 of reopening the province, I am encouraging people of all ages and from all walks of life to take the opportunity to get out and safely enjoy our wonderful Ontario summer.

If you are looking for great reason to get outside, you can take up the annual Ontario Parks 30x30 Challenge. It is part of our government's Healthy Parks Healthy People initiative and runs for the month of August. To meet the 30x30 Challenge, participants must spend 30 minutes outside in nature each day for 30 days.

The 30x30 challenge can be a fun way to kickstart healthy new habits or renew old ones and take advantage of the life-long benefits. Spending time in nature can have a profound impact on our health and well-being, improve our overall mood, boost our immune system and reduce stress. There are countless ways to participate, from going on a bike ride, taking a long walk, or enjoying a provincial park or another greenspace near you.

Although we are encouraging people to be more active, it's important to remember we must continue to be responsible and follow public health advice, including practicing physical distancing whether inside or out, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is required, washing your hands frequently and avoiding large gatherings."

Additional Resources

  • Use the Ontario Parks locator tool to find a provincial park near you.
  • More ideas on what to do for the 30x30 Challenge can be found on the Ontario Parks Blog and YouTube channel.
  • As part of Ontario’s Healthy Parks Healthy People strategy, Ontario recently consulted people and organizations across the province to help us develop more effective programs, policies and partnerships to improve access to the health benefits of provincial parks and green spaces. Read a summary of what we heard.

July 31, 2020

COVID Alert Available for Download Beginning Today

TORONTO — As Ontarians continue to do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores. This app, which is available beginning today, lets users know if they may have been exposed to the virus. It is free, easy and safe to use. The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Work on COVID Alert was initiated in Ontario by the Ontario Digital Service and volunteers at Shopify, and was the foundation of the work by the Government of Canada. The app was developed in consultation with the Privacy Commissioners of Canada and Ontario to ensure the highest level of privacy for everyone using it.

"This important, made-in-Ontario COVID Alert app will be a critical part of our case and contact management strategy as more regions in Ontario enter Stage 3 today," said Premier Doug Ford. "This innovative tool was developed by some of the best and brightest minds in our province, working in partnership with Ottawa. As businesses open their doors and schools prepare for September, we need to help stop the spread and keep others safe by downloading this COVID Alert app."

The COVID Alert app uses Bluetooth technology to detect when users are near each other. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they can choose to let other users know without sharing any personal information. Ontarians who receive an exposure alert can then get tested and take action to help keep themselves, their families, and their friends from spreading COVID-19 throughout the community. The app does not collect personal information or health data, and does not know or track the location, name, address, or contacts of any user.


"Built with a privacy-first approach, COVID Alert is a safe and easy-to-use tool that Ontarians can download to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community from COVID-19," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "This Ontario-made app keeps people informed about being potentially exposed to the virus and allows them to act quickly to stop the spread of the virus. It is a key tool in our case and contact management strategy. I encourage all Ontarians to download the app, as early detection of cases will be important as we continue to carefully reopen more of the province."


COVID Alert is a key tool to strengthen Ontario's comprehensive case and contact management strategy, Protecting Ontarians through Enhanced Case and Contact Management. The app supports the efforts of public health units, allowing the province to quickly test, trace and isolate cases of COVID-19 to stop the spread of the virus and prepare for any potential outbreaks ― without sharing any personal information.

"As Ontario safely and gradually re-opens, we continue to take a digital-first approach to delivering simpler, faster, better services to support Ontarians, including the COVID Alert app, which will leverage technology to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario," said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board. "By making it easier for Ontarians to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities, we continue to deliver on our commitment to build a smarter government that works for you."

If an app user receives a message from COVID Alert that they may have been exposed to the virus, they should follow the public health advice given on the app and get tested. To notify other people if an app user has tested positive for COVID-19, they can enter their one-time key from Ontario's test results website ( into the app. A message will then be sent to other app users who have been within two metres of them for at least 15 minutes within the past 14 days, without sending any information that identifies the user, or the time and place of exposure.

To stay safe as more of the province reopens, Ontarians should continue to follow public health guidelines including physical distancing with people not in their social circle, wearing a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and if anyone thinks they have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, get tested.


Quick Facts

  • COVID Alert is available for free use and download from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
  • All aspects of COVID Alert are completely voluntary. Ontarians can choose whether to download the app, whether to use the app after downloading it, and whether to notify others if they test positive for COVID-19.
  • COVID Alert does not collect any personal information, health information, or location data. It uses Bluetooth technology to send out encrypted codes to other nearby app users and was built using the Apple/Google framework for exposure notification to ensure that it leverages global best practices to protect privacy.
  • COVID Alert is a Digital First Smart Initiative, one of many cross-government projects that focus on better outcomes and improving the customer experience.
  • The Government of Canada is also working with the other provinces and territories to get their jurisdictions on board with the app in the coming weeks and months.
  • In addition to his responsibilities as President of the Treasury Board, Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy is now overseeing Ontario’s efforts to lead digital and data transformation for the people of Ontario, including oversight of the Ontario Digital Service.

Additional Resources

July 31, 2020

Ontario Taking Steps to Protect Fish and Wildlife Habitat

FENELON FALLS - The Ontario government is taking steps to protect fish stocks and natural habitat from the harmful impacts of double-crested cormorants by introducing a fall harvest for the species. The harvest will help address concerns about impacts to local ecosystems by cormorants, a bird that preys on fish, eating a pound a day, and that can damage trees in which they nest and roost.

The announcement was made today by John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

"We've heard concerns from property owners, hunters and anglers, and commercial fishers about the kind of damage cormorants have caused in their communities, so we're taking steps to help them deal with any local issues," said Minister Yakabuski. "In large amounts, cormorant droppings can kill trees and other vegetation and destroy traditional nesting habitats for some other colonial waterbirds, so it's critical that we take action to strike a healthy balance in local ecosystems."

Following public consultations, the province has made changes to its initial proposal and has decided to introduce a hunting season that will run annually from September 15 to December 31, starting in 2020.

"We listened to those who provided comments about the cormorant hunting proposal, and as a result, we are introducing only a fall hunting season to avoid interfering with recreational users of waterways and nesting periods for some migratory birds," said Minister Yakabuski. "We have also reduced the maximum number of cormorants a hunter can take to 15 a day, which is a similar limit to one for federally regulated migratory game birds such as mourning doves, Snow and Ross's Geese, Rails, coot and Gallinules."

In 2019, the ministry and partner agencies surveyed cormorant colonies across the Great Lakes and select inland lakes in Ontario. Based on nest count surveys, there are an estimated minimum of 143,000 breeding cormorants in 344 colonies across the province. Combined with historical data, trends suggest that cormorant populations are increasing in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior and are stable on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Huron.

"Growing up in North Bay and spending many summers fishing on Lake Nipissing, I have seen firsthand the issues that cormorants have caused in some local areas," said Mike Harris, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. "A new fall hunting season will help communities manage cormorant populations where they have negatively impacted natural habitat and other waterbird species."

"Cormorants have been a growing problem on Sturgeon Lake and Balsam Lake, where they have covered islands with their guano, killing trees and vegetation," said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. "We're listening to local residents who have voiced their concerns and asked for additional tools to address the issue."  

Ontario has a healthy and sustainable cormorant population. We will continue to monitor the cormorant population status and trends to support sustainability of cormorants in the province.

Quick Facts

  • Double-crested cormorants are fish-eating birds, usually eating easy-to-catch fish species. They nest on the ground or in trees on islands and peninsulas.
  • In large amounts, cormorant droppings, called guano, can kill trees and other vegetation and destroy traditional nesting habitats for some other colonial waterbirds.
  • Competition between cormorants and some colonial nesting waterbirds has been well documented, including the displacement of some other species by cormorants.
  • Hunters are responsible for appropriately identifying their target and ensuring they are harvesting only double-crested cormorants.
  • While some hunters may choose to consume cormorants, those who choose not to consume the cormorants they harvest must retrieve the birds and dispose of them properly.

Additional Resources


“Our group fully supports a fall hunting season for double-crested cormorants. For the past decade, we have observed the destruction of Muskrat Island, which is clearly visible from our shoreline on Sturgeon Lake. The rapid population explosion of the colony has put extreme stress on our fish population. The birds have a voracious appetite, and trees and vegetation on the island have been destroyed by their toxic guano. Other species have also been driven from the island. In our view, this is a very serious problem that has required a response.”

Bob Stewart

Director, Stinson’s Bay Property Owners Association

“The Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association is concerned about the significant negative impacts of uncontrolled populations of cormorants on the ecosystem, including the commercial fishery. In addition to the serious destruction of vegetation that unchecked populations of cormorants have caused, cormorants have seriously undermined certain fish stocks on the Great Lakes. Each cormorant eats approximately one pound of fish, per day. We strongly support the government’s decision to introduce a fall hunting season, which will help to control damaging cormorant populations. Our position has not been to seek the extinction of cormorants from Ontario but for the management of cormorants to promote a balanced ecosystem, which is in the best interests for all Ontarians.”

Jane Graham

Executive Director, Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association

“We are pleased to see a provincial government finally take action to control overabundant cormorant populations to help protect Ontario’s ecosystems, and we are encouraged to see that the MNRF has made adjustments to the original proposal in response to concerns expressed by the OFAH and others.”

Angelo Lombardo

Executive Director, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

“The Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen’s Alliance fully supports Minister John Yakabuski as he introduces regulations under the FWCA allowing a fall hunting season for cormorants in Ontario. This hunting regulation will assist in preventing a variety of destructive ecological impacts resulting from over abundant cormorant populations in Ontario. The protection of healthy and sustainable fish populations is just one of the many tangible benefits that this hunting regulation will offer and we applaud Minister Yakabuski for his action in this regard.”

John Kaplanis

Executive Director, Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen’s Alliance

“As Delta Waterfowl is actively involved in wildlife management for waterfowl habitat and populations, we fully support the government’s efforts to manage cormorant populations in Ontario. This approach using hunters to manage populations is a common practice in wildlife management and similar to the approach in New Brunswick where cormorants are managed as unprotected wildlife similar to crows, starlings and other species.”

Scott Petrie

Chief Executive Officer, Delta Waterfowl

July 31, 2020