New Act will help fight invasive species

by Guest Author | November 5, 2014

Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) photo by Ron Long, Simon Fraser University

The Ontario government re-introduced legislation today that will enable action to be taken when invasive species that threaten Ontario’s biodiversity are detected.

Recently, Khapra beetle larvae were found by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) specialists at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. This beetle is seen as one of the world’s most destructive pests to grains, cereals, and stored foods, and it’s currently the only insect that the CBP takes regulatory action against when found dead or alive.

“Invasive species have the potential to have very serious negative impacts to Ontario’s biodiversity, economy, and agriculture industry,” said OFAH Invading Species Awareness Program coordinator Matt Smith. “Intercepting the transfer of new invasive species, in addition to early detection of new species introductions, are vital to the protection of Ontario’s natural resources.”

The Invasive Species Act was first introduced in February but was a casualty of the provincial election. If passed, the act will do the following:

  • allow the province to ban activities such as possessing and transporting certain invasive species;
  • allow the government to intervene earlier and enable rapid response actions, including working with partners to stop an invasive species from spreading — for example by preventing the movement of contaminated firewood; and
  • help promote compliance through inspection and enforcement measures.

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