Ontario is following through on its draft Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan commitment to provide people with more opportunities to enjoy the health benefits of provincial parks and green spaces with the conclusion of the Healthy Parks Healthy People consultation.
Over the 60-day consultation period, we received more than 2,500 comments from the public and stakeholders, including researchers, educators and park users, on how the government can ensure the health benefits of nature are fully realized for all Ontarians.
"I'd like to thank everyone who provided us with feedback on how we can better connect people with the health benefits of nature as part of a healthy lifestyle," said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. "With over 300 Ontario parks, Ontarians have many ways to enjoy the outdoors, including canoeing in lakes, hiking in forests and camping on protected land. We look forward to finding more opportunities for families and tourists to visit and improve their wellbeing."
As a next step, Ontario will review the responses to help inform our work to develop more effective programs, policies and partnerships and increase people's access to the health benefits of nature.
Canadians spend 90 per cent of each day indoors and 69 per cent of our waking time sitting. Spending time in nature can lower the risk of heart attack by 50 per cent, reduce the risk of mental health challenges and help to combat chronic disease.
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 draft Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.