Includes Statements from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters; Ontario Invasive Plant Council; Invasive Species Centre
OFAH Applauds New Invasive Species Act
PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 5, 2014) - The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) congratulates the provincial government on the re-introduction of the Invasive Species Act and its commitment to combat invasive species in Ontario.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) announced this morning that it would be re-introducing the legislation, which was originally introduced in February but was a casualty of the provincial election.
The act is intended to provide a framework to prevent, detect, eradicate, and manage invasive species that impact the natural environment or economy and can have a detrimental effect on our valuable fish and wildlife populations.
The OFAH is home to the Invading Species Awareness Program (ISAP) and works in partnership with the MNRF to provide a program of public education and information on invasive species. The ISAP works to promote early detection of both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, with the aim of preventing the introduction and spread of these species into sensitive ecosystems.
"I am pleased the Ontario government has re-introduced the Invasive Species Act, a positive step in the fight against invasive species," OFAH Executive Director Angelo Lombardo said. "The sale, movement and importation of invasive species in Ontario are serious concerns. This legislation will provide the minister with the much needed tools to immediately react when a new species or threat is identified."
If passed, the legislation would make Ontario the first and only jurisdiction in Canada with standalone invasive species legislation. It would give the MNRF more comprehensive inspection powers to determine compliance with the law, introduce a suite of enforcement provisions and penalties and give inspectors the right to take samples and prohibit movement that may result in the spread of invasive species.
"Invasive species have already impacted our lakes and woodlands, and the potential long term economic impact is staggering," explains ISAP coordinator Matt Smith. "The cost of not addressing this threat to our environment and the economy can be measured in the billions of dollars."
Ontario's Invasive Species Strategic Plan recognizes that stakeholders such as the OFAH have a key role to play in the management of invasive species and we are pleased to partner with the Ontario government on this important initiative.
For more information go to www.ofah.org or www.invadingspecies.com. With 100,000 members, supporters and subscribers, and 720 member clubs across Ontario, the OFAH is the VOICE of anglers and hunters and Ontario's largest and oldest fish and wildlife conservation organization. Visit us on Facebook (ofah.org/facebook) and follow us on Twitter (@OFAH).
The Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC) Supports Re-introduction of Invasive Species Act
PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 5, 2014) - The Ontario Invasive Plant Council is pleased to support the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry upon the re-introduction of the Invasive Species Act.
"Invasive species, their impact and removal costs, detract from Ontario's economy to the tune of millions of dollars each year", said Iola Price, President of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council. "Recreational trail managers and users find the paths impeded by overgrowths of the invasive shrubs Glossy Buckthorn and Common Buckthorn and by the invasive Dog-strangling Vine. Staff and volunteers spend countless hours and resources to ensure public access to our natural areas. Forest managers must also expend resources to free forests and forestry plantations from of Dog-strangling Vine and Garlic Mustard - both of which can cause extensive ecological and economic damage. And public health authorities are well aware of the problems caused by skin exposure to Giant Hogweed and Wild Parsnip" she noted.
The Ontario Invasive Plant Council looks forward to working with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry staff as the legislation and regulations move through the House over the coming year.
The Ontario Invasive Plant Council, founded in 2007, provides a coordinated response to the growing threat of invasive plants in Ontario. The OIPC is a multi-sector, non-profit organization made up of representatives from Conservation Authorities, academic institutions, First Nations, private consultants, industry and environmental nongovernment organizations, as well as all levels of government. The Council is committed to collaborative efforts between organizations and citizens in order to more timely and effectively respond to invasive plants.
For more information, visit our website www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca.
Invasive Species Centre Applauds Ontario for Reintroducing Invasive Species Legislation
SAULT STE. MARIE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 5, 2014) - The Invasive Species Centre commends the Government of Ontario for reintroducing much-needed legislation that will help to prevent introduction and slow the spread of invasive species in the province.
The proposed Invasive Species Act, reintroduced in the provincial legislature on November 5, 2014, will help to priorize those invasive species that pose the highest risk to Ontario's environment and economy, provide new regulations and penalties to help deter the introduction and spread of these species, and help to bring down silos that get in the way of stakeholders working together efficiently and effectively. Once passed, this legislation will give Ontario new tools and authority to ban activities such as possessing and transporting certain high risk invasive species. It will put mechanisms in place to support preventative measures and address urgent threats.
"Ontario is showing tremendous leadership with this new legislation, and is the only jurisdiction in Canada to propose such a comprehensive package of tools to proactively address invasive species," said Dilhari Fernando, Executive Director, Invasive Species Centre. "Invasive species threaten Canada's environment by altering natural spaces and endangering the species that are native to our regions. Imagine a Canada where fall colours are a thing of the past or where we can no longer take our families canoeing or fishing in our lakes and rivers. This could be our reality if we don't act to address the threats posed by invasive species."
"Invasive species are expensive to manage and cause losses for the forestry, fishing and tourism industries while also chipping away at the urban forests in our cities. Ontario's investment in this legislation will reap savings over time," said Fernando. "Prevention and response have a cost, but it is not as high as managing the economic and environmental fall-out of invasive plants, insects or fish once they become established in landscapes and waterways."
In Canada, there is no single entity that is responsible for invasive species prevention and control. The responsibility is widely shared, and distributed, across all levels of government, not-for-profit groups, volunteer organizations, academia and others. "Invasive species are an invisible threat, meaning that the current level of awareness among Ontarians is quite low. We need to better engage the general public and get them excited about how they can contribute to preventing invasive species," said Fernando. "This legislation will help to build momentum to more fully involve the private sector, students and teachers, and families across Ontario in playing an important part in invasive species control."
Since April 2011, the Invasive Species Centre has invested almost $4.3 million on over 150 projects in natural and applied science, innovation and technology transfer, education and outreach on invasive species. This work forms an important part of Ontario's efforts to prevent the introduction of new invasive species and to proactively manage those species that have established to minimize their negative economic and environmental impacts.
About the Invasive Species Centre:
The Invasive Species Centre is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that connects stakeholders, knowledge and technology to prevent and reduce the spread of invasive species that harm Canada's environment, economy and society. The Invasive Species Centre: brings together experts; supports, coordinates and leads projects; and communicates findings and outcomes to prevent the spread of harmful invasive species. Visit our website at www.invasivespeciescentre.ca.