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QUEEN’S PARK — MPP for Guelph Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to news that Canada’s 2024 wildfire season is expected to be worse than last year’s.

“It’s hard to imagine a forest fire season worse than last year’s, when 700 fires raged across Ontario’s north and destroyed over a million acres of forest.

And yet we’ve received warning after warning for months now, from everyone from climate scientists to wildland firefighters.

The government’s response to date has been absolutely pitiful. It’s time for that to change.

Once again, I am calling on the Minister of Natural Resources to develop a credible forest fire action plan that includes:

  • Increased funding for both emergency response and preparedness measures to boost access to PPE, training and equipment, and to hire and retain more wildland fire staff;
  • The creation of a dedicated climate adaptation fund to help municipalities make infrastructure climate-ready and reduce the risk of future environmental hazards;
  • Classifying forest rangers as firefighters so they are eligible for better pay and health coverage;
  • A commitment to get Ontario off fossil gas and invest in cheaper, cleaner renewables and Indigenous-led climate solutions; and
  • Enhanced data collection regarding the public health impacts of forest fires.”
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