Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources is inviting "constructive"
comments by by April 14, 2014 on its proposed new Invasive Species Act. The proposed
Invasive Species law would make Ontario the first
jurisdiction in Canada with stand-alone invasive species
legislation. It would also contribute to progress on commitments
made in the 2012 Ontario Invasive Strategic Plan, the 2012 Canada
– U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and the Ontario
Great Lakes Strategy.Invasive species pose a huge environmental
threat. The government's new focus on it helps to explain why
the Ministry of the Environment made invasive species control such
a prominent feature of the new guidance on soil movements, which
was originally focussed only on contaminants. But with a spring
election widely expected, and several environmental Bills already
trapped in the Legislature, will this Bill ever be passed?
"Invasive species are a growing threat to Ontario's
environment, economy, and society. Once established, invasive
species can be difficult and costly to control and eradicate, and
the damage caused to the environment is often irreversible. The
Ontario government has been involved in invasive species prevention
and management activities since the early 1990's. Although
there are many examples where these efforts have been effective,
species continue to arrive and spread in Ontario. New approaches
and tactics are required to address the current and future threats
posed by invasive species in Ontario.
...the Invasive Species Act, if passed, would provide a stronger
legislative framework to prevent, detect, rapidly respond, and
manage invasive species that impact Ontario's natural
For the purpose of the proposed act, invasive species include
plants, animals or other organisms (e.g., bacteria) that are not
native to Ontario or a part of Ontario that have had, or that may
have, negative impacts to the natural environment and associated
economic and social benefits.
If passed, the proposed act would provide authority to:
Enable the passage of regulations which would list invasive
species. Upon listing, a suite of restrictions would be applied to
the species (e.g., illegal to possess, deposit, release, transport,
buy, sell, lease, trade, and propagate the species).
Enable, through the passage of regulations, restrictions on
carriers of invasive species. Carriers are things that harbour
invasive species and enable their movement and spread. Prohibitions
for carriers would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Provide for exemptions from the prohibitions under certain
circumstances (e.g., possession of an invasive species for
research, control, or educational purposes).
Enable the minister to temporarily designate an invasive
species that poses a significant threat, in order to take immediate
action. This provision would only be used where waiting to list the
species in regulation would cause significant harm to the natural
Enable the ministry to undertake rapid response activities such
as implementing control and eradication activities. These
provisions would only be used in limited circumstances, and would
be based on the scale of the threat and the potential impact to the
natural environment and economy.
Provisions are also included which enable the minister to
prepare provincial invasive species prevention and response plans
for extremely high risk species, and enter into agreements.
The proposed act, if passed, would come into force one year
after receiving Royal Assent.
The proposed legislation is intended to:
Provide a more proactive and comprehensive approach to prevent
the introduction of new invasive species, and manage the spread of
those species already established in Ontario.
Hold those responsible for introducing high risk invasive
species into Ontario, for the costs of control and eradication.
This will be achieved through strong penalties as well as cost
recovery mechanisms for expenses related to control and eradication
Promote shared accountability for managing invasive species
through enabling partnerships."
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
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