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Invasive Species Centre Applauds Ontario Invasive Species Legislation

SAULT STE. MARIE, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 02/27/14 -- The Invasive Species Centre commends the Government of Ontario for advancing much-needed legislation that will help to support the prevention, early detection, rapid response and eradication of invasive species in the province.

The proposed Invasive Species Act, introduced in the provincial legislature on February 26, will set priorities by identifying the invasive species that pose the highest risk to Ontario's environment and economy, define how these species will be managed and identify how pathways of entry and spread will be closed. It would give Ontario the tools to ban activities such as possessing and transporting certain high risk invasive species and enable rapid response actions to 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 Invasive Species Centre Executive Director, Dilhari Fernando. "Invasive species threaten Ontario's environment by altering natural spaces and endangering the species that are native to our regions. Imagine an Ontario 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 they harm the global economy to the tune of $1.4 trillion each year. Ontario's investment in this legislation will reap savings over time," Fernando continued, "Prevention and response have a cost, but it is not as high as managing the economic and environmental repercussions of invasive plants, insects or fish once they become established in Ontario's landscapes and waterways."

In Canada, there is no single level of government or any one organization that is solely responsible for invasive species prevention and management. Roles and responsibilities fall to many levels of government and to others such as universities and not-for-profit groups such as the Invasive Species Centre.

Minister of Natural Resources David Orazietti noted that managing invasive species has always been a collaborative effort - across all levels of government, as well as with industry, environmental groups and the public. He stated that, "Ontario would continue to collaborate with all those involved in invasive species management, including municipalities and the federal government, which have an important national role in invasive species management."

Since April 2011, the Invasive Species Centre has invested over $3.3 million on 130 individual projects focused on prevention, detection, response and management of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species. A further 26 projects and programs valued at $1.1 million are planned for 2014-15. 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, partnership-based organization that addresses the threat of invasive species by seeking collaboration and cooperation among the wide range of stakeholder groups involved in the prevention, detection, response and management of invasive species. The ISC links all government and non-government players; functions as a clearinghouse for information and education; funds and leads projects that promote a coordinated, evidence-based approach to invasive species.

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