There were positive steps forward on invasive species as the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry regulated 13 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 on October 19, 2021.  

The Invasive Species Centre supports the new regulations and strategy which effectively place more tools in the toolbox toward our collective efforts to prevent and slow the spread of invasive species.  

By regulating watercraft, Ontario made a big jump toward preventing the introduction and spread of many invasive species that can hitchhike on watercraft and spread to new waterbodies. The additional regulation of 13 now prohibited and restricted species will help Ontario to prevent their introduction and spread, as prevention is the best, most effective way to avoid future environmental, social, and economic harm, and management costs. Finally, the threat of wild pigs is being met with a proactive action plan to prevent the establishment of this damaging species in the province. 

Read on to learn more about what this means for Ontario’s land and water and how the new rules will come into effect and follow links to species profiles on our website to learn more about these newly regulated species.  

On this page:

Regulation Amendments Made to Prevent the Introduction and Spread of 13 Invasive Species and Regulate Watercraft as a Carrier of Invasive Species 

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry has finalized regulatory amendments to Ontario Regulation 354/16 under the Invasive Species Act, 2015 to classify 13 species as either prohibited or restricted invasive species and regulate watercraft as a carrier of invasive species. 

These regulatory changes take effect on January 1, 2022. 

Prohibited species cannot be brought into Ontario, deposited, released, possessed or transported in Ontario and cannot be propagated, bought, sold or traded in Ontario. 

Newly Prohibited Species in Ontario  

The following species are now prohibited in Ontario: 

Species 

Exceptions Allow For 

Marbled Crayfish (Procambarus virginalis)                          

  • Incidental capture of these species while fishing in Ontario. 

Red Swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii)                     

  • Incidental capture of these species while fishing in Ontario. 
  • Import, possession, transport and sale of Red Swamp Crayfish that are dead and prepared for human consumption (e.g., cooked). 

New Zealand mud snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) 

 

 

  • Incidental capture of these species while fishing in Ontario. 
  • Possession, transport and deposit of this species in the course of carrying out dredging activities, provided the dredging is being carried out in accordance with the applicable laws of Ontario and Canada. 

Tench (Tinca tinca (fish) 

  • Incidental capture of these species while fishing in Ontario. 
  • Import, possession and transport of these species if they are dead and eviscerated. 

Prussian carp  
(Carassius gibelio (fish) 

  • Incidental capture of these species while fishing in Ontario 
  • Import, possession and transport of these species if they are dead and eviscerated. 

Mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) 

 

Restricted Species in Ontario 

The following species are now restricted in Ontario: 

Species 

 

Yellow floating heart                       

Nymphoides peltata (aquatic plant) 

Carolina Fanwort                           

Cabomba caroliniana (aquatic plant) 

European frogbit                            

Hydrocharis morsus-ranae (aquatic plant) 

Bohemian knotweed                      

Reynoutria ×bohemica (terrestrial plant) 

Giant knotweed                              

Reynoutria sachalinensis (terrestrial plant) 

Himalayan knotweed                     

Koenigia polystachya (terrestrial plant) 

Pig                                                  

(Sus scrofa) 

More information on restricted and prohibited species:

Restricted species cannot be deposited or released in Ontario and cannot be brought into a provincial park or conservation reserve. 

Further prohibitions related to the above-listed plant species: 

  • Possess or transport in a provincial park or conservation reserve 
  • Bring a member into Ontario or cause it to be brought into Ontario 
  • Propagate 
  • Buy, sell, lease or trade or offer to buy, sell, lease or trade 

Section 11 of Ontario Regulation 354/16 has been amended to limit the application of this section to restricted plant species and to require that a person carrying out an activity described in this section take reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of the restricted invasive species outside the immediate area where the activity is taking place. 

Regulate Watercraft as a Carrier of Invasive Species  

Watercraft and watercraft equipment are regulated as carriers under the Invasive Species Act, 2015. 

Rules: 

  • A person shall not transport watercraft overland, unless i). drain plugs and other devices used to control drainage of water from the watercraft and watercraft equipment have been opened or removed ii). reasonable measures have been taken to remove any aquatic plants, animals or, algae from the watercraft, watercraft equipment, and any vehicle or trailer used to transport the watercraft or watercraft equipment overland 
  • Prior to reaching a launch site for a body of water, the watercraft, watercraft equipment and any vehicle or trailer used to transport the watercraft or watercraft equipment must not have an aquatic plant, animal or algae attached to it 
  • No person shall place a watercraft, watercraft equipment, or any vehicle or trailer used to transport a watercraft into any body of water if the watercraft, watercraft equipment, vehicle or trailer has an aquatic plant, animal or, algae attached 

Exceptions:

The requirement to remove the drain plug or other devices does not apply to: 

  • Drinking water systems, marine sanitary systems or closed engine cooling systems; or 
  • A livewell, if the person transporting the livewell overland is transporting live fish in the livewell pursuant to a licence to transport live fish issued under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 

Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs Finalized and New Regulation Created  

A decision has been made to finalize Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs, incorporating updates following public consultation. 

The strategy outlines a proactive approach to prevent the establishment of invasive wild pigs in the province. 

A new regulation (Ontario Regulation 703/21, Invasive Species Control Areas) has also been created to prescribe the province as a control area for pigs (Sus Scrofa) to prevent the establishment of a wild pig population in Ontario. 

These regulatory changes take effect on January 1, 2022. 

Strategy Goals 

At this time, there is no firm evidence to suggest that wild pigs are established (i.e., self-sustaining and breeding) in Ontario however, reports of wild pigs in Ontario continue to be made, indicating that wild pigs could become established unless continued preventative actions are taken.  

The least costly and most effective approach for managing wild pigs is to act early. Ontario set the proactive goal of preventing the establishment of invasive wild pigs in the province with four objectives: 

  1. Prevent the introduction of pigs into the natural environment. 
  2. Address the risk posed by Eurasian wild boar in Ontario. 
  3. Use a coordinated approach to remove wild pigs from the natural environment. 
  4. Leverage expertise and resources by collaborating across ministries, with federal agencies, other jurisdictions, and industry stakeholders, and partners.  

 

Rules for Pigs in Ontario 

The following rules apply to pigs in Ontario: 

  • It is prohibited to release any pig into the natural environment. Certain requirements must be met if a pig escapes or is otherwise released, including notifying the Minister via wildpigs@ontario.ca or 1-833-933-2355 immediately and capturing the pig as soon as practicable
  • It is prohibited to bring a live pig into a provincial park or conservation reserve
  • Hunting wild pigs is prohibited with exceptions for activities to protect property from damage caused by wild pigs. A person who captures or kills a pig for protection of property must immediately notify the Minister (wildpigs@ontario.ca or 1-833-933-2355) and provide relevant information (i.e., the location and number of pigs captured or killed) 
  • The import, possession, transport, propagation, lease, trade, buying, and sale of Eurasian wild boar and their hybrids is prohibited. Anyone who possesses a Eurasian wild boar when the regulation takes effect (i.e., January 1, 2022) is eligible for a two-year transition period, provided the Minister is notified

Provisions enable the use of section 23 (Declaration of an invaded place) and section 27 (Actions to control or eradicate invasive species) of the Act with respect to pigs. This provides the additional options to address the threat of pigs in the environment, if needed and facilitates control activities such as trapping and removal of pigs in the wild.

Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are one of the most invasive terrestrial mammals worldwide. They are native to Eurasia and parts of North Africa. Spread of wild pigs has been primarily through human introduction; they are also expanding through natural dispersal. 

Wild pigs have a broad geographic range and can easily adapt and survive in new environments due to their high fecundity (large number of offspring produced), early sexual maturity, varied diet, long lifespans, and highly adaptive nature. They are one of the most damaging invasive species in the United States and are becoming an alarming concern for Canadian provinces, especially in the Prairies.   

Wild pigs are extremely adaptable and pose a serious threat to Ontario’s natural environment, native species and agricultural industry. 

Wild pigs can also have economic and social impacts (AnimalDiversity.org; Ontario):  

  • Increased costs for farmers due to damaged crops, losing or having to treat infected livestock, and needing to build barriers to keep wild pigs out 
  • Aggressive behaviour towards humans or pets
  • High costs to control wild pigs if they become established in Ontario  

If you see a wild pig or have information about a sighting, please report it to:  iNaturalist Ontario Wild Pig Reporting web page www.inaturalist.org/projects/ontario-wild-pig-reporting or Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry’s email account for reporting wild pigs: wildpigs@ontario.ca 

Further Reading

  • Learn more about invasive species policy here.
  • Learn more about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species here.
  • Visit the Wild Pigs page on the Invasive Species Centre website here.  
  • Visit the Wild Pigs page on the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Invading Species Awareness Program website here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.