Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

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Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Ministère des Richesses naturelles et des Forêts  (French)
Coat of arms of Ontario (HM Government).svg
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Offices - Peterborough.jpg
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry headquarters at Robinson Place in Peterborough
Ministry of the Government of Ontario overview
Formed 1972
Headquarters Peterborough
Ministers responsible
  • Jeff Yurek, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • Toby Barrett, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is a government ministry of the Canadian province of Ontario that is responsible for Ontario’s provincial parks, forests, fisheries, wildlife, mineral aggregates and the Crown lands and waters that make up 87 per cent of the province. Its offices are divided into Northwestern, Northeastern and Southern Ontario regions with the main headquarters in Peterborough, Ontario.[1]


The first government office was the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Northern District of North America, created in 1763[2] and initially headed by Samuel Holland. In 1827, this function was taken over by the newly created Commissioner of Crown Lands.[3]

From 1867 to 1972, these responsibilities were conferred on the following Commissioners and Ministers:

Period Name Minister (Commissioner before 1905)
1867–1905 Department of Crown Lands
1905–1906 Department of Lands and Mines
1906–1920 Department of Lands, Forests and Mines
1906–1946 Department of Lands and Forests
Department of Mines
1946–1972 Ministry of Lands and Forests
Ministry of Mines
1972–2014 Ministry of Natural Resources
2014–Present Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry[4]

From 1970, the Department of Mines became the Department of Mines and Northern Affairs, a predecessor of the current Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. The Department of Lands and Forests became the Ministry of Natural Resources in 1972. From 1995 to 1997 Natural Resources and Northern Development and Mines were under a single super ministry. In 2014 the ministry was renamed Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, but responsibilities did not change.


MNRF is organized into divisions; within each division are branches/regions, sections, and units.[5]

  • Regional Operations Division
  • Provincial Services Division
  • Policy Division
  • Corporate Management and Information Division


A Ministry of Natural Resources fire watch sign at Dryden, Ontario.

The Ministry is responsible for:

  • Fish & Wildlife Management – sustainably managing Ontario's fish and wildlife resources.[citation needed]
  • Land & Waters Management – leading the management of Ontario's Crown lands, water, oil, gas, salt and aggregates resources, including making Crown land available for renewable energy projects.[citation needed]
  • Forest Management – ensuring the sustainable management of Ontario's Crown forests.[citation needed]
  • Ontario Parks – guiding the management of Ontario's parks and protected areas.[citation needed]
  • Forest Fire, Flood and Drought Protection - protecting people, property and communities from related emergencies.[citation needed]
  • Geographic Information – developing and applying geographic information to help manage the province's natural resources.[citation needed]

The ministry also has responsibility for the Office of the Mining & Lands Commissioner and the Niagara Escarpment Commission agencies.[citation needed]

Ontario Parks[edit]

Ontario Parks protects significant natural and cultural resources in a system of parks and protected areas.[citation needed]

Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services[edit]

The Ministry’s Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) program coordinates forest fire detection, monitoring, suppression and public information and education services for Ontario. AFFES also provides aviation services for the Ontario government and leads emergency management planning and response for natural hazards such as forest fires, floods, erosion, dam failures, unstable soils and bedrock, droughts and oil and gas emergencies.[citation needed]

The Ministry's entrance into the field of aviation started with hiring Laurentide Air Services to carry out fire patrols however the government soon realized it could save money by carrying out the operations itself and formed the Ontario Provincial Air Service, (O.P.A.S.) in February 1924 with 13 second hand Curtiss HS-2L flying boats that had been originally built for the US Navy. The OPAS was an early pioneer in the use of aircraft for the discovery and extinguishing of forest fires. Initially this involved carrying warnings of fires back to existing fire patrols, to be extinguished by teams that travelled by canoe or overland but soon they began landing firefighters (never more than a few at a time due to the limited carrying capacity of the aircraft available) with a hand operated water pump near a fire. As a part of this program the OPAS completely rebuilt damaged aircraft before they began building a number of aircraft under license to meet their requirements such as the Buhl Air Sedan, and later provided considerable input on the development of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver and de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter and finally were central to the invention of the water bomber. The first water bomber was an OPAS DHC Beaver with a tank mounted on the float designed to dump the water out quickly. This had followed unsuccessful experiments with bags of water.[6]

Current AFFES Airfleet

Aircraft on display[edit]

OMNR Image Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry |". 
  2. ^ "History of the Office of the Surveyor General - Science and Information Resources Division - Ministry of Natural Resources, Government of Ontario". Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  3. ^ Alexander Fraser (1903). First Report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario. I. Toronto: L.K. Cameron, King's Printer. pp. 19–25. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Organization Chart for Ministry of Natural Resources - Communications Services Branch - Ontario Government, Ministry of Natural Resources". Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  6. ^ West, Bruce. Firebirds. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Queen's Printer, 1974.
  7. ^ "Current Fleet - Aviation and Forest Fire Management - Government of Ontario, Ministry of Natural Resources". 2007-12-05. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Transport Canada (2 July 2013). "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Government of Ontario (2008). "History of the Air Service". Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  10. ^ Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre (n.d.). "de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver". Archived from the original on 2010-09-18. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 

External links[edit]