Top 10 Things You Need to Know About
Ontario's Invasive Species Act
1. The Invasive Species Act (“the Act”) is a new provincial statute which comes into force on November 3rd, 2016.
2. The Act will be a significant step forward in Ontario’s on-going efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of invasives by giving the province the tools to do so. It aims to support “the prevention, early detection, rapid response and eradication of invasive species.”
3. The Act “fills in the gaps’ found in the existing patchwork of over 20 different pieces of legislation pertaining to invasive species (i.e. Plant Protection Act, Canadian National Parks Act, etc.).
4. The Act stresses the importance of education as a key tool to stop the spread of invasive species and reduce the effects on Ontario's ecosystems.
5. The Act differentiates between a "prohibited" and "restricted" species. Prohibited species have a high threat of introduction. Restricted species are already established in the province and it is hoped that the province can reduce their impacts through regulation.
6. The 16 species classified under the proposed regulations of the Act are the Great Lakes Governors’ and Premiers’ “Least Wanted Aquatic Invasive Species List” and any species in the family of Channidae as prohibited, and Phragmites, Dog Strangling Vine, and Japanese Knotweed as restricted.
7. Classified species are either a "significant" or "moderate" threat to Ontario's natural environment based on biological characteristics, potential harm they pose, dispersal rates, and socioeconomic impacts.
8. Inspection and enforcement measures include restrictions to releasing, transporting, depositing, propagating, leasing, selling, trading, or instigating the establishment of any classified species identified in the Act. Prohibited species fall under prohibitions outlined in Section 7, where restricted species fall under Section 8.
9. Section 7 outlines the fines and penalties which result from failure to abide by regulations (i.e. possessing or transporting a member of a prohibited invasive species).
10. Exceptions to the prohibitions make certain activities permissible under the Act including emergency response situations, incidentally catching a regulated species, educational purposes, and preserving a species to ensure reproduction does not occur.