The Ontario Invasive Species Act​

In 2015, the Ontario provincial government introduced the Invasive Species Act (2015), which explicitly regulates the prevention and management of invasive species in Ontario. 22 species are prohibited under this Act, meaning it is illegal to import, possess, transport, or release these species anywhere in Ontario. 11 additional species are restricted, meaning it is illegal to bring them into provincial parks or conservation reserves and illegal to import or release them anywhere in Ontario.

Species are chosen for regulation under the Invasive Species Act based on their invasive qualities and their potential impact on the environment, the economy, and society well-being.

Read the full Ontario Invasive Species Act here.

Learn more about federal and Ontario provincial invasive species legislation here.

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry regulated 13 additional invasive species and watercraft as a carrier of invasive species under the Invasive Species Act and finalized Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs. The regulatory changes took effect on Jan. 1 , 2022. 

The new species additions include: 

Prohibited: marbled crayfish, red swamp crayfish, New Zealand mud snail, tench, Prussian carp, and mountain pine beetle. 

Restricted: yellow floating heart, Carolina fanwort, European frogbit, Bohemian knotweed, giant knotweed, Himalayan knotweed, and pig.

There is more information on each of the regulated species below.  

In addition, the province passed a series of amendments to the Invasive Species Act that will recognize certain watercraft and related equipment as vectors of spread for Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). Learn more here.

The amendments also contain new regulations as they pertain to pigs. Learn more here.

In 2015, the Ontario provincial government introduced the Invasive Species Act (2015), which explicitly regulates the prevention and management of invasive species in Ontario. Sixteen species are prohibited under this Act, meaning it is illegal to import, possess, transport, or release these species anywhere in Ontario. Four additional species are restricted, meaning it is illegal to bring them into provincial parks or conservation reserves and illegal to import or release them anywhere in Ontario.

Species are chosen for regulation under the Invasive Species Act based on their invasive qualities and their potential impact on the environment, the economy, and society well-being. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is currently reviewing the potential addition of 13 new species and one carrier for regulation under the Act.

Read the full Ontario Invasive Species Act here.

Learn more about federal and Ontario provincial invasive species legislation here.

Restricted species in Ontario

It is illegal to import, deposit, release, breed/grow, buy, sell, lease or trade restricted invasive species. (Ontario Invasive Species Act)

Additional Information

The province passed a series of amendments to the Invasive Species Act that will recognize certain watercraft and related equipment as vectors of spread for Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). This means that there are now limitations that concern the movement of watercraft between waterbodies in order to prevent accidental transportation of aquatic hitchhikers. For instance, watercraft such as motorboats, rowboats, canoes, punts, sailboats, rafts, or other related equipment may only be transported if drain plugs and other devices used to control drainage of water have been opened or removed. A summary of the changes can be found here. 

The amendments also contain new regulations as they pertain to pigs. It is now prohibited to release pigs into the natural environment, hunt wild pigs with the exception of for the protection of property, and to import, possess, transport, propagate, lease, trade, buy or sell Eurasian wild boar and their hybrids. Regulations regarding the pigs allows for the province to facilitate control strategies that can manage their spread and damage to natural environments. More information on the provincial wild pig strategy can be found here 

Species under review for the Ontario Invasive Species Act

In early 2020, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry proposed the addition of 13 new species and one carrier to the Act. The public comment period ended on April 13, 2020, and the proposal is currently under review. 

To date, the Ontario Invasive Species Act has not included pathways of spread. Under the new proposal, the Ontario MNRF is looking at regulating boating as a carrier for aquatic invasive species. This would involve regulations for the movement of boats over land and standardized Clean, Drain, Dry principles. Learn more about these developments here.

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