Province looking for feedback to improve policies, programs and partnerships and
increase access to the health benefits of green spaces
Toronto, September 30, 2019 - Ontario's government is providing people with more
opportunities to enjoy provincial parks and promoting the link between nature and
human health while protecting the natural environment.
Today, our government launched a public consultation about how to ensure the health
benefits of nature are fully realized for all Ontarians. This is part of our Made-in-Ontario
Environment Plan commitment to provide people with more opportunities to enjoy provincial
parks and support the worldwide Healthy Parks Healthy People movement.
"Spending time in nature and green spaces has a positive impact on our health and
wellbeing," said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.
"We're fortunate in Ontario to have many beautiful parks and green spaces across
the province, but we want to find more ways for people to use them as part of a
healthy lifestyle.That's why we want to hear from you about how we can improve Ontario
Parks programs, policies and partnerships to connect more people with the health
benefits of nature."
The province is looking for valuable insights from the public, health care providers,
researchers, educators, environmental organizations and the tourism industry about
their experiences with nature and health. Feedback will help develop more effective
programs, policies, and partnerships to improve Ontarians' awareness of and access
to the health benefits of provincial parks and green spaces.
Ontario is committed to protecting natural areas, supporting conservation efforts
and promoting the importance of healthy, natural spaces for future generations to
use and enjoy, as outlined in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.
" Ontario is home to incredible parks and great natural landscapes that offer so
much to Ontarians. Getting active in nature and experiencing the outdoors can have
significant health benefits. I look forward to hearing from Ontarians about how
to expand these opportunities to better support our health and wellness." - Christine
Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
" Ontario's beautiful landscapes, rich forests and fresh water make our province
a natural playground for recreational fishing, hiking and other activities that
connect us to nature and improve our well-being. A Healthy Parks Healthy People
consultation will help more Ontarians benefit from spending time in the great outdoors."
- John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
" Ontario's natural attractions are admired around the world, not only for their
incredible beauty but for the unique ability they have to attract visitors and showcase
all that our province has to offer. I am thrilled that our province's parks are
playing a leading role in creating positive experiences for families, while demonstrating
that we offer the world in one province." - Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture
" For our students and educators, our natural environment provides valuable teaching
and learning opportunities. That's why I'm encouraging them to provide their unique
insights to ensure natural spaces, like our provincial parks, can make that greatest
impact in learning and life." - Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education
- Healthy Parks Healthy People is a worldwide movement to promote the positive health
benefits that nature can provide.
- Ontario Parks has supported this movement since 2015, offering signature events
including a Healthy Parks Healthy People day where there is no-charge for day-use
visitation at all provincial parks, the 30x30 Challenge in August, and First Day
Hikes on the first of January.
- Canadians spend 90 per cent of each day indoors and 69 per cent of their waking
- Only nine per cent of Canadian kids aged 5 to 17 get the 60 minutes of heart-pumping
activity they need each day.
- Spending time in nature can lower the risk of heart attack by 50 per cent, reduce
the risk of mental health challenges and help combat chronic disease.
- The Healthy Parks Healthy People consultation will be open for comment until November