The Ontario Legislature should soon get on with second reading
of Bill 37, An Act respecting Invasive Species. Once
passed, it would be Canada's first law specifically designed to
control invasive species.
In the last session, before the May 2014 election, this Bill
died on the Order Paper as Bill 167. It was reintroduced as Bill 37
on November 5, 2014, and started second reading debate on December
8. Now that the Legislature is back in session, with numerous sitting days between now and June 4,
there is ample time for the Ontario government to keep its promise
of moving quickly with this Bill.
Most of the relevant details, on how the Bill would
actually work, have been left to be determined through
According to the province:
"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."
Will the proposed Invasive Species Bill pass before invasive
Asian carp reach the Great Lakes, with devastating effects?
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