In February, the Liberal government introduced the Invasive Species Act in the Provincial Legislature to better address the social, ecological and economic threats that invasive species pose to Ontario’s natural environment. Unfortunately, the Invasive Species Act died when Andrea Horwath’s NDP decided to oppose the Liberal Budget and trigger a provincial election.
“Having introduced the Invasive Species Act and secured provincial funding for the Invasive Species Research Centre, I understand how important these jobs are to our community and to the entire province,” said David Orazietti, Liberal candidate. “The NDP killed not only this legislation, but 193 other bills that had spent countless hours moving through public consultation and parliamentary debate, to force an unnecessary election.”
The provincial Liberal government has supported the local Invasive Species Centre with $15 million toward the invasive species research initiative, including $1.6 million towards the facility, $800,000 for an invasive species research chair at Algoma University, and $4.9 million to support a variety of innovative projects, as well as on-going support for annual operating costs.
The Invasive Species Act would have:
· Given Ontario the tools to ban activities, such as possessing and transporting certain invasive species, such as Asian Carp
· Allowed the government to intervene earlier and enabled rapid response actions, including working with partners to stop an invasive species from spreading – for example by preventing the movement of contaminated firewood
· Helped ensure compliance through modernized inspection and enforcement measures
In addition to being an environmental threat, invasive species are causing serious economic devastation:
· The cost of managing invasive zebra mussels in Ontario alone is estimated at $75 million to $91 million per year, which includes costs to municipalities, businesses, and power producers
· Asian Carp could cause a significant negative impact to the province’s $2.2 billion recreational fishing industry
· In British Columbia the Mountain Pine Beetle has devastated forests and cost the BC government $917 million to date
· Globally, the cost of invasive species to the environment and other sectors is estimated to be $1.4 trillion, which is the equivalent of five per cent of the global economy and seven times the cost of natural disasters
The provincial Liberal government’s Invasive Species Act received widespread support, including local backing from Dilhari Fernando, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Centre who said: “The Invasive Species Centre is proud to work in partnership with Ontario…to combat invasive species in the province. The introduction of this proposed legislation would strengthen these partnerships and make our efforts to fight invasive species even more effective.”
Angelo Lombardo, Executive Director, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters said that: “Preventing invasive species from arriving and becoming established in Ontario is of utmost importance.”