Invasive Species Centre

Fiscal Year

Faces of two smiling women

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

– Helen Keller

This quote embodies all that the Invasive Species Centre represents. It was built on a foundation of partnerships. In 2016-17 we took those partnerships to new heights by enhancing our relationships with provincial and federal governments, municipalities, our NGO partners, and citizens. With a shared goal of taking effective steps towards battling invasive species, we saw our partnerships grow to make significant achievements towards this goal. Our staff support continues to grow as we develop the expertise and skills needed to accomplish the important work our partners and supporters identify in Canada and beyond.

We are very grateful to our funders and supporters who enabled us to take the necessary steps to expand our network over the last year and to undertake so many significant projects. We have a committed team of directors and staff who continue to go above and beyond to support the work that we do.

We encourage you to read this annual report to learn more about the work that we do with our partners at the Invasive Species Centre, and to learn more about how you can be a part of it!

Executive Director, Tracey Cooke
Chair of the Board, Dr. Kandyd Szuba

What we do

Our Mission:

The Invasive Species Centre connects stakeholders, knowledge and technology to prevent and reduce the spread of invasive species that harm Canada’s environment, economy and society.

Our Vision:

The Invasive Species Centre’s vision is a Canada where land and water are protected from invasive species.

Our Values:

SUSTAINABILITY - helping natural resources last for future generations

COLLABORATION - drawing on all stakeholders to achieve success

CREDIBILITY - using a consistent, evidence-based approach

PROFESSIONALISM - maintaining dedication to excellence in management and delivery

EFFICIENCY - breaking down organizational silos and reducing overlap

How we do it

The Invasive Species Centre achieves its mission and vision by connecting with a broad array of stakeholders to catalyze invasive species management, and communicate policy and science knowledge.

Connecting Stakeholders
Catalyzing Invasive Species Management
Communicating Policy and Science Knowledge

Impacts 2016/2017

The Invasive Species Centre measures and tracks the impacts of our work and progress year-over-year using key performance indicators. The ISC achieves its mission by:

Connecting Icon CONNECTING

Building relationships, engaging stakeholders, coordinating and supporting invasive species management projects and knowledge.

224 stakeholders consulted

755 knowledge transfer & training event attendees

33 new network partners

Catalizing Icon CATALIZING

Sparking evidence-based discussion, developing actionable recommendations, identifying needs for knowledge tools, and resources.

8 general policy impacts

18 risk assessments

15 best management practices

7 official government document citations

1 political communication citation

Participation in 3 stakeholder consultations

Briefings & presentations to 50 government officials

Communicating Icon COMMUNICATING

Bridging science, policy, and public discourse; transferring policy and science knowledge to the broader public.

Digital & Social Media:

Web activity #users: 31,197

Twitter Followers: 3,646

Facebook Likes: 1,248

LinkedIN Followers: 164

YouTube views: 175

# of web page views: 86,797

Email opens on distribution: 10,288

Media Mentions: 37

Public presentations: 1,671

Exhibit/display attendees: 2,935

Policy and Invasive Species Management

Legislation Impact: The Invasive Species Act

“The Invasive Species Centre was instrumental in the creation of Ontario’s Invasive Species Act, which is helping us to quickly identify and respond to invasive species, like phragmites, and fight these species in communities across this province. We are proud of our strong relationship with the ISC and I look forward to continuing our efforts to protect our environment and economy.”

– Hon. Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

All Hands on Deck: The Invasive Species Act

As requested by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF), the ISC commissioned research that identified gaps in invasive species legislation and policy which helped the OMNRF support the need for stand-alone legislation dedicated to invasive species.

2011 to 2012

The Ontario Invasive Species Strategic Plan laid out the political framework to address invasive species threats.

With input from many stakeholders, the legislature passed the Invasive Species Act on November 3, 2015. To become effective, regulations classifying species were required.

2015 to 2016

The ISC prepared ecological and socio-economic risk assessments and analyses for the OMNRF to help them define prohibited and restricted species and brought together experts to review this work.

The Invasive Species Act became law on November 3rd, 2016. The Act provides the power to make regulations prescribing invasive species and classifying them as either prohibited or restricted.

2016 to present

The ISC continues to support the province by writing risk assessments and analyses on priority species, to prevent the intro and spread of invasive species.

Assessing risk to set priorities: risk assessments and expert review

The Invasive Species Centre (ISC) conducts risk assessments or analyses of the potential risk that non-native species could have on ecological, social, and economic values. The assessments allow the transfer of science to policy to influence legislation. This year, they were used by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) to help determine which species were regulated under the Invasive Species Act.

Risk assessments were conducted on common yabby, European water chestnut, hydrilla, stone moroko, grass carp, black carp, silver carp, and bighead carp.

One stop shop: risk assessment database

The risk assessment database is an accessible, searchable version of a report prepared for the OMNRF in 2015/2016 that showcases invasive species risk assessments and risk assessment methodologies used by Canadian and U.S. government organizations.

Online Data icon

The Invasive Species Centre’s Online Database

The Invasive Species Centre’s online, accessible, searchable database makes it easy for users to find assessments with similar styles that can be customized to their jurisdiction.

Invasive species and our cities: economic impacts on municipalities

The ISC surveyed municipalities across Ontario to learn about their costs for invasive species management, control, and prevention. The survey results were analyzed by an environmental economist:

Icon of Ontario indicating 77% of the budget spent

Based on a sample of 35 Ontario municipalities, 77% of invasive species budgets were spent on control and management activities, as opposed to prevention and detection.

Icon indicating a $2.95 per person cost

Estimated costs for municipalities alone is $55M annually, an average per capita expenditure of $2.95 per person.

Icon of an emerald ash borer

Respondents reported an actual total expenditure of $15,898,000 on emerald ash borer in 2016.

Other species identified as top priorities for municipal spending were:

Giant Hogweed
Garlic Mustard
Common Buckthorn

Aquatic Health

Access and availability: aquatic herbicides workshop and pesticide registration report

The Invasive Species Centre (ISC) acts as a coordinating body for improving access and availability of pesticides for invasive species control. Partnered with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) and Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation (AERF), the ISC hosted an Aquatic Herbicide Workshop in Ottawa to discuss the current registration process and the need for aquatic herbicides to manage invasive aquatic plants in Canada. This workshop brought together individuals from provincial and federal agencies, national conservation organizations, industry, and expertise from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. As a result of the workshop, a pesticide registration report that provides an overview of the current registration process for pesticides, was updated to reflect the challenges of the current registration process of pesticides used to control invasive species. The ISC continues to work on this project with the goal of improving access and availability of pesticides for invasive species control.

Know your options: aquatic invasive species response assessment

The aquatic invasive species (AIS) response assessment, prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, reviewed all management options for AIS in Ontario. It examined control methods used in other jurisdictions, as well as in Ontario, creating a better understanding of what control methods work well and when they should be used. The AIS response assessment provided management tactics for removing an invasive species from a water body. These tactics can be matched and applied to new invasive species that have similar characteristics.

information icon

The Invasive Species Centre can inform future discussions regarding rapid response options for AIS management in Ontario and beyond because of the AIS Response Assessment.

Protecting the Great Lakes Basin: Asian Carp Canada

Through the Asian Carp Canada program, the Invasive Species Centre (ISC) provides resources, information, and news regarding Asian carp developments in Canada. The ISC engages and informs discussion about the threat of Asian carps to the Great Lakes Basin and builds practical management tools.

Face-to-face events

Through the Asian Carp Canada program, the ISC hosts public information events that engage stakeholders in key geographic areas that are at risk of invasion. These events bring experts, government, NGOs, and the interested public together to discuss Asian carps and create opportunity for the ISC to engage in-person with new audiences and expand information outreach opportunities.

The ISC hosted public open houses focused on Asian carps education and awareness in coordination with DFO, OMNRF, and the OFAH.

Digital Engagement

The Asian Carp Canada online webinar series joins academics, government, and interested individuals for digital events. The greater geographic reach of digital presentations harnesses a large audience who will help keep Asian carps from establishing in the Great Lakes. Topics covered this year were food web impacts, grass carp initiatives in Ohio, the Binational Ecological Risk Assessment for Bighead Carp, and Confused with Carp.

The Asian Carp Canada website, housed and curated by the ISC, features more resources and tools than ever before including Confused with Carp (listing commonly misidentified native species with the key identification features to differentiate them from Asian carps), Research

in Progress (recent Canadian scientific research), and a summary of the Binational Ecological Risk Assessment for Bigheaded Carps.

ISC Asian Carp Canada staff created three targeted social media campaigns that addressed knowledge gaps specific to Asian carps. The campaigns had significant reach on social media platforms, and received an award for innovation in web and social media:

digital engagement icon

Using Facebook, Twitter and Google Ads as platforms to share information, the ISC reached 491,791 individuals.

Confused with Carp

Confused with carp (winner of the SSMARt Innovation Award for Innovation in Web and Social Media)

Knowledge Surveying

Knowledge Surveying

World Water Week

World Water Week

SSMARt Innovation Award

Highlight Icon HIGHLIGHT:

Web activity #users: 10,082

# of website views: 22,336

Twitter Followers: 606

Facebook Likes: 355

asian carp

Forest and Lands Health

The ISC’s Forest Invasives website is a hub for information about invasive forest species and also houses information shared from the CFIA. Using the website and social media platforms, the ISC uses targeted campaigns to inform the public about regulated species. The collaboration between the ISC and CFIA is a notable example of public-private teamwork.

icon of hemlock seed

A growing concern: hemlock woolly adelgid

To analyze the current hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) situation in Ontario, the ISC examined current practices of the CFIA and its partners, and conducted interviews with:

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF)

Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service

Ancient Forest Exploration and Research

City of Toronto

City of Ottawa

Credit Valley Conservation

Municipality of York

Niagara Parks Commission

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Invasive Plant Council

Parks Canada

Quality Deer Management Association


Town of Oakville

icon of the hemlocl woolly adelgid

Our analysis of the HWA situation identified gaps in knowledge and action and provided recommendations for developing an effective, actionable management plan for HWA.

Getting out ahead: mountain pine beetle risk analysis

The ISC is conducting an ongoing risk analysis project to determine the risk of mountain pine beetle (MPB) to Ontario.

icon of mountain pine beetle

A pest risk analysis better informs and enables rapid response.

The ISC and partners assessed the threat of MPB and Ontario’s capacity to respond to a potential MPB introduction.

Insect diagnostics: what’s in your forest?

Insect diagnostics—identifying and cataloguing insects submitted to the Invasive Species Centre’s lab—contributes to the sustainable management of Canada’s forests by providing reliable identification of both native forest insects and non-native invasive alien insect species to researchers on priority forest insects.

insect icon

Of the 526 samples submitted last year



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OFAH submitted



sample icon

The public submitted approximately



Citizen Science

In my backyard: Early Detection and Rapid Response Network

The Early Detection and Rapid Response Network Ontario (EDRR Network) is training communities in the fight against invasive plants and insects by equipping a network of citizen scientists with the skills and tools to identify, detect, monitor and control invasive species.

The EDRR Network is focused on providing opportunities for community leaders and network volunteers to get hands on experience in invasive species monitoring, reporting and control.

The Invasive Species Centre coordinated volunteer activities

garlic mustard icon

Garlic mustard surveys and pulls in Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, and Mississauga

emerald ash borer icon

Emerald ash borer detection surveys in Thunder Bay

invasive species workshop icon

An invasive species workshop at Sheridan College

asian longhorn beetle icon

Asian longhorn beetle demonstrations in Georgetown and Sault Ste. Marie

dog strangling vine icon

Dog strangling vine surveys and removal in the Halton Region

Ontario Trillium Foundation logo

Thanks to funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, this collaborative approach has resulted in new species detection and control efforts.

learning icon

Since its inception, the EDRR Network enables the Invasive Species Centre and the Ontario Invasive Plant Council to educate the public on important invasive species concerns, while affecting positive environmental change through monitoring and control efforts.


ICAIS logo

Global advances in research and management: 19th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species

The International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species (ICAIS) is widely considered the most comprehensive international forum on aquatic invasive species. The Invasive Species Centre is the ICAIS Secretariat and brings together leaders from academia, industry, government, NGOs, and other stakeholders to address new and emerging aquatic invasive species issues by sharing research and policy developments and innovative ideas through presentations and opportunities for collaboration.

globe icon

ICAIS welcomed 235 conference participants representing 13 countries to Winnipeg from April 10-14, 2016. The conference theme was “Global Advances in Research and Management of Aquatic Invasive Species.” The final program and many of the presentations can be viewed at

A challenge to the environment, economy and society: North American Envirothon 2016

Envirothon is the world’s largest high school natural resources education competition. As a component of the ISC’s ongoing education strategy, the ISC was a gold co-sponsor of the 2016 North American Envirothon which took place in Peterborough, Ontario from July 24-29, 2016 at Trent University.

Since the inception of Envirothon, more than


ISC In Action: icon of a man in a running pose

The Invasive Species Centre participated in the Envirothon competition by:

Drafted invasive species special topic title and learning objectives

Reviewed study guide and test

Prepared and delivered:

special topic presentation on invasive species management

problem scenario where students presented their solutions to panel of experts

workshop about aquatic invasive species

Highlighting local science and technology: Sault Ste. Marie Science Festival

The Sault Ste. Marie Science Festival (April 2016) highlighted local natural and applied sciences and technologies and the ISC brought an invasive species focus to the festivities. With Science North and six local partners, we planned a week full of exciting events for the community. The ISC had a booth at the Science Carnival for families and at the Hanger After Dark event for adults, educating 1,740 visitors about invasive species and their impacts.

trophy icon

In March 2017, the Science Festival won the Festivals and Events Ontario Best New Festival or Event Under $100,000 Award

Festivals and Events Ontario Achievement Award



The ISC focuses on mission and organizational sustainability through careful planning of net assets, to levels appropriate for a midsized non-profit organization.

a line graph showing a net asset increase from $41,838 in 2016 to $190,955 in 2017


a circle graph illustrating the following revenue chart
Revenue Composition
Federal Government $255,346 15%
Provincial Government $1,131,384 66%
Foundations $161,517 9%
Events $142,545 8%
Other $27,560 2%
Total $1,718,352

The ISC continues to diversify its funding mix to ensure long-term viability.


a circle graph illustrating the following expenses chart
Expenses Composition
Programs $1,449,208 87%
Management and General $120,027 13%
Total $1,569,235

The ISC demonstrates managerial efficiency and commitment to mission with 87% spent on invasive species program work.

Our People

Dr. Kandyd Szuba


Dr. Brendon Larson

Chair (to June 2016)

Mr. Angelo Lombardo

Vice Chair

Dr. Tat Smith


Mr. Ian Buchanan


Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Smith

Director (to June 2016)

Dr. Jim Brandle


Mr. Rob Keen


Ms. Mary Bea Kenny


Mr. Bob Lambe


Mr. Dave Burden

Ex-officio Board Member - DFO (to December 2016)

Mr. James Crawford

Ex-officio Board Member - CFIA

Mr. Jason Travers

Ex-officio Board Member - MNR

Mr. Dale Nicholson

Ex-officio Board Member - DFO

Ms. Tracey Cooke

Ex-officio Board Member - Executive Director

Dr. David Nanang

Ex-officio Board Member - NRCan

Expert Advisors

Jeremy Downe
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Francine MacDonald
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Erin Bullas-Appleton
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Dr. Taylor Scarr
Natural Resources Canada

Jeff Brinsmead
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Gavin Christie
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Becky Cudmore
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Dr. Richard Wilson
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Matt Smith
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Dr. Michael Irvine
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Sarah Neinhaus
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Julia Colm
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Hilary Prince
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

the Invasive Species Centre logo

The Invasive Species Centre thanks all supporters, partners and collaborators for helping us have a successful year. Our network is vital to the Invasive Species Centre achieving its mission to connect stakeholders, knowledge and technology to prevent and reduce the spread of invasive species that harm Canada’s environment, economy and society. Without you, we would not be able to offer the quality programs that we do.
Thank you!

Thank you to our supporters