Ontario is prohibiting and restricting 19 invasive species to prevent their arrival and control their spread in the province and protect the environment.
New regulations under the Invasive Species Act, now in effect, ban the import, breeding, purchase and sale of 19 invasive species within Ontario, including Asian carp and phragmites, which threaten the province’s environment and economy.
The new rules also allow government to establish special restrictions in certain areas of the province if these species are discovered, and to enforce strong penalties for individuals who knowingly bring these species into Ontario. Penalties for individuals who contravene the Invasive Species Act include fines of up to $250,000 or one year in jail.
These preventative measures are designed to keep the least wanted species from entering Ontario and the Great Lakes, and to support the combat and eradication of invasive species.
Ontario provides annual support to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters to deliver the Invading Species Awareness Program to track invasive species sightings and provide public education and outreach.
While some of the regulated species are not currently found in Ontario, most are present in the waters of neighbouring states, or have been identified as having a high potential for being introduced into the Great Lakes basin. Invasive species often out-compete native species for food and take over their habitats, threatening both the environment and economy.
Phragmites and some other species are present in some parts of Ontario, but through proper mitigation methods can be contained or even removed.
In 2013, the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers published a list of aquatic invasive species that they called their least wanted—these are all now prohibited in Ontario.
The President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Don McCabe noted:
” Farmers are often on the front line in the fight against risks to our environment – and dealing with invasive species is no exception. We are happy the government has listed phragmites as a restricted species under the Invasive Species Act and is committed to working with us to address this very serious issue.”
Manning Environmental Law is a Canadian law firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Our practice is focussed on environmental law, energy law and aboriginal law.
Paul Manning is a certified specialist in environmental law. He has been named as one of the World’s Leading Environmental Lawyers by Who’s Who Legal: 2016.
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