Update Ontario's Building Code to Save Birds

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Hon. Steve Clark
Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
17th Floor. 777 Bay St.
Toronto, ON, M5G 2E5

Dear Mr Clark,

Many of Ontario’s migratory bird populations are in steep decline. Each year, millions of birds die in Ontario by colliding with windows on buildings. Buildings therefore represent a major source of mortality for Ontario’s birds, including bird Species at Risk. Unless we take meaningful conservation actions, we risk losing irreplaceable bird species in the coming decades.

There are simple, inexpensive solutions that can prevent bird-window collisions at new buildings and save lives. Most collisions occur during the day because birds do not see or understand reflections on glass. To help birds see and avoid windows, bird-friendly materials (e.g. fritted glass, window films) can be incorporated into the design of new buildings. However, these solutions will not be implemented effectively province-wide unless they are required by law.

In 2019 the Federal government sponsored the development of a national standard for bird-friendly building design by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Currently there are no requirements for developers to follow the bird-friendly standard. A few municipalities have adopted bird-friendly by-laws and guidelines, but this piecemeal approach cannot extend far enough to protect migratory birds across Ontario.

We are urging The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) to incorporate the CSA 2019 Bird Friendly Building Design standard into the Ontario Building Code, requiring bird-friendly materials to be used in new residential and commercial building windows. Birds are ecologically, culturally and economically important to Ontarians. We cannot afford to continue growing the threats that endanger birds in our backyards.