Letter to The Hon. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health

OTTAWA (May 28, 2021) –

Dear Minister Elliott,

Ontario’s accredited zoos and aquariums understand the current pandemic is a health crisis, we also believe it is one we can safely operate in. In 2020, accredited zoos and aquariums across Ontario, 11 in all, led the way in providing visitors with a safe experience. We did it then, we can do it again.

Ontario’s capacity to administer vaccinations has demonstrated it can handle whatever quantity of vaccines are supplied. Government data illustrates we are ahead of schedule, this hopefully will result in an earlier implementation of phase one of the Government’s Roadmap to Reopen.

In Step One, limited retail and stores in Malls that have a street facing entrance are permitted to open. All 6 CAZA members in Ontario who are currently not permitted to open until phase three, have street facing entrances and are prepared to operate at limited capacity. Our members just want to open, we can, and have done it safely.

Minister, we respectfully request the following:

  • That Step One be moved-up, and beginning as soon as possible; and
  • that all of Ontario’s accredited zoos and aquariums be included in Step One.

CAZA members want to help your Government have a “great July” (to quote Premier Ford), waiting until July 26th will not do that.

Thank you for your consideration.

Jim Facette
Executive Director


cc:            The Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario

The Hon. Sylvia Jones, MPP – Solicitor General

The Hon. Lisa MacLeod, MPP – Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

Mr. Dolf Dejong, CEO – Toronto Zoo

Mr. Peter Doyle, General Manager – Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Mr. Mike Takacs, President – African Lion Safari

Mr. Paul Goulet, Founder & CEO, Little Ray’s Nature Centres

Mr. Kevin Dungey, Zoo Director – Little Ray’s Hamilton

Mr. Paul Buhay, Acting Manager – Polar Bear Habitat

Mr. Jim Moloney, Manager and Curator – Riverview Park and Zoo

Mr. Travis Small, COO – Reptilia

Mr. Tim Tykolis, Owner – Safari Niagara

Ms. Marilyn Vann, Owner, Manager – Bird Kingdom

Ms. Meghan Mitchell, Staff Scientist – Science North

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