Ontario launches new plan on the health benefits of visiting provincial parks

 

The province is launching a new plan to help Brampton’s residents enjoy provincial parks while protecting the environment.

On Monday, October 1, the government launched a public consultation about how to ensure all of Ontario's residents experience the health benefits of nature.

This is part of the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, which is a commitment to provide Ontarians with more opportunities to enjoy provincial parks and support the worldwide Healthy Parks Healthy People movement.

Healthy Parks Healthy People is a worldwide movement to promote the positive health benefits that nature can provide.

"Spending time in nature and green spaces has a positive impact on our health and wellbeing," said Jeff Yurek, the 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 government states it 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 resident's awareness of and access to the health benefits of provincial parks and green spaces.

According to the government, Canadians spend 90 per cent of each day indoors and 69 per cent of their waking time sitting. Only 9 per cent of Canadian children aged 5 to 17 get the 60 minutes of 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 province also states it 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 the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.

The Healthy Parks Healthy People consultation will be open for comment until November 25.

You can find the consultation here.

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