Ontario Considers Invasive Species Legislation

By Colleen Hartel

Invasive species
Image Credit: Bob Nichols/USDA

The Ontario Legislature is considering Bill 37, Invasive Species Act, 2014, which, if passed, would be Canada’s first law specifically targeted at controlling invasive species. The bill was first introduced during a previous session of the Legislature.

The legislation defines invasive species as species that are nonnative to all or part of Ontario and are either harmful to Ontario’s natural environment or likely to harm Ontario’s natural environment regardless of whether or not the species is currently present.

If passed, the bill would allow authorities to pass regulations, such as the prohibition of possession, release, transportation, or propagation, for invasive species. It would also enable the passage of regulations on carriers, such as plants, animals, or other organisms, that may harbor invasive species.

Notably, the bill includes provisions that would allow the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to temporarily designate invasive species in order to take more immediate action if it poses a significant threat. The Ministry would also be able to employ rapid response activities to prevent the spread of invasive species to mitigate the impact of a potential invasion on natural systems and the economy.

Currently, the bill is in its second reading by Ontario Legislature. After debate, the bill enters the Committee stage where the Legislature may call witness for testimony to potentially amend the bill before a third reading and a vote for passage.

Source: Environmental Law and Litigation (February 18, 2015)

Colleen Hartel is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Government Affairs & Partnership program.

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