This long overdue proposal would remove milkweed spp. (scientific name Asclepias spp.)
from the Schedule of Noxious Weeds in the Regulation. Milkweed is
an essential food for monarch butterflies, whose population has
crashed in recent years. Removing milkweed from the Schedule will
allow it to be planted widely, for example in gardens, on road
verges, and railway and powerline rights of way, as conservation
groups are encouraging people to do. This is a great
project to do with children.
"Under the Weed Control Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. W.5 (the Act),
every person in possession of land is obligated to destroy all
noxious weeds on it. However, this duty does not apply to noxious
weeds or weed seeds that are far enough away from any land used for
agricultural or horticultural purposes that the weeds or weed seeds
do not interfere with that use. As a result, any person in
possession of land where prescribed noxious weeds are present, and
which could negatively affect lands used for agricultural or
horticultural purposes, is responsible for controlling any
prescribed noxious weeds present on it. Under the Act, the person
in possession of the land may also be held responsible for the
costs associated with removal. Depending on the lands and the
conditions of use, this responsibility could rest with landowners
(including farmers), municipalities and conservation authorities,
The Schedule of Noxious Weeds lists milkweed spp. as the common
name of the weed and Asclepias spp. as the scientific name of the
weed. This description is very broad. As written, the term could
extend to all species in the Asclepias genus, which includes many
individual species, including four-leaved milkweed (a species at
risk in Ontario) and other species in the Asclepias genus that are
not considered a threat to agriculture or horticulture in
The species common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) has
traditionally been viewed as a noxious weed in Ontario. It is
considered to be common to widespread in many parts of southern and
northern Ontario and it forms an important part of the native and
naturalized vegetation in the province. Common milkweed also
provides an important habitat and a larval food source for the
Monarch butterfly. Milkweed species also play a key role in
biodiversity in Ontario. The presence of common milkweed on lands
that are not being actively farmed would be considered a low to
negligible risk to activities on nearby agricultural or
horticultural lands. Farmers can take proper management steps on
their own lands to reduce the threat that common milkweed can pose
to grazing livestock. Since milkweed spp. was added to the Schedule
of Noxious Weeds initially, there has been an expansion in the
number of management options available to farmers to address common
milkweed on lands that are actively farmed."
In addition, the List will now prohibit dog-strangling vine:
"Dog-strangling vine occurs in several places in southern
Ontario, growing in ravines, hillsides, waste areas, fence lines
and hedges. It forms dense patches and can overwhelm other
vegetation, including agricultural crops. It is an invasive plant
that can be difficult to control once established. Although the
Monarch butterfly is attracted to the plant, any eggs laid will not
survive. It is, therefore, considered a hazard to Monarch butterfly
The proposed changes would support important government
initiatives related to biodiversity and the environment, such as
the commitments made in Biodiversity: It's in Our Nature,
Ontario Government Plan to Conserve Biodiversity, 2012–2020,
the government's response to the Biodiversity Strategy. At the
same time, the proposed regulation would remove the legal burden on
persons in possession of land to remove common milkweed where its
presence could negatively affect lands used for agricultural or
horticultural purposes. The addition of dog-strangling vine will
provide more tools to local weed inspectors to address this
invasive plant species."
This proposal has been posted for a 45 day public review and
comment period starting February 28, 2014. If you have any
questions, or would like to submit your comments, please do so by
April 14, 2014.
EBR Registry Number: 012-1204: Updating the Schedule
of Noxious Weeds in R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 1096 – General,
made under the Weed Control Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. W.5 (removal of
milkweed and addition of dog-strangling vine)
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