Ontario axes Ontario Ranger program in MNR Transformation Plan
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is moving forward with a plan to modernize its business and operate on a more cost efficient basis.
With its transformation plan, the ministry is reviewing its operations to ensure a clearer focus on its core mandate of natural resource management.
The review process includes public consultations on a proposed framework for streamlining and automating permitting and licensing processes to help individuals and businesses access services faster and more efficiently.
Other modernization efforts include:
- Focusing service at Ontario’s most popular provincial parks and changing the designation at 10 provincial parks with very low visitation rates.
- Introducing a new day-based youth employment program, the Stewardship Youth Ranger Program, to replace the overnight Ontario Ranger Program.
- Modernizing the way the ministry supports community-based stewardship activities to ensure a clearer focus on ministry priorities.
- Issuing reminders for Outdoor Card renewals through channels other than mail, such as social media and magazine ads, saving on postage and printing costs.
- Focusing the structure of the ministry to support modernized service delivery.
These and other changes will result in the elimination of 28 full-time and 102 seasonal positions. They will also save the ministry $7.1 million each year and future capital costs of $12.3 million.
The 10 parks affected include Caliper Lake (Nestor Falls), Fushimi Lake (Hearst), Greenwater (Cochrane), Ivanhoe Lake (Foleyet), Mississagi (Elliot Lake), Obatanga (between Wawa and White River), Rene Brunelle (Kapuskasing), Springwater (Midhurst), and Tidewater (Moosonee).
Loss of the Ontario Ranger Program
The loss of the Ontario Ranger Program is devastating for so many who had the life altering experience of being a Ranger as a teenager.
The program was open to youth in their 17th year. Camps of 24 all-boy and all-girl camps were located in northern Ontario. The Rangers spent 8 weeks living in a camp, learning about natural resources, maintaining Ontario’s provincial parks, maintaining hiking and canoe trails, tree-planting, while learning valuable skills that would shape their careers, including team building, leadership, time management, along with first aid, and health and safety training. For many, it is the first time away from home, and for some – the first time away from southern Ontario.
The program, formerly called the Junior Ranger Program, first started in 1944 and was originally only open to boys. There were many more camps in the past, located throughout Ontario, including southern Ontario. Recently, just 13 camps were operating.
So many former Rangers still call their Ranger year the best summer of their lives, an experience that led them to a career in forestry, natural resources, or park maintenance.
The Ontario Ranger Program will be replaced by the Stewardship Youth Ranger Program. The workers will no longer stay overnight in camps.
Read the story of the Rangers of Wade Lake Camp, and how their summer changed their lives, as they headed home this past August.
This proposal has been posted for a 47 day public review and comment period starting September 27, 2012. If you would like to submit your comments, please do so by November 13, 2012.
Were you an Ontario Ranger?
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