Ontario Protecting Environment from Harmful Invasive Species

$16 million investment will help communities better manage this growing threat

June 20, 2024

Natural Resources

The Ontario government is investing $16 million over three years to protect the economy and environment from the threat of invasive species. The grant funding will help municipalities, conservation authorities and Indigenous communities help stop invasive species from establishing or spreading in the province.

“Invasive species are one of the main threats to biodiversity in Ontario and they also have a negative impact on our economy,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources. “This investment is the latest step our government is taking to protect Ontario’s critical industries as well as our natural environment to ensure we can continue to enjoy the natural beauty in our province.”

The funding will be administered by the Invasive Species Centre and Nature Conservancy of Canada to support a comprehensive, Ontario-wide plan to fight the invasive plant Phragmites, and for the Invasive Species Action Fund to provide grants to municipalities, conservation authorities and Indigenous communities to manage other harmful invasive species.

“Invasive species pose a serious threat to our environment and can have devastating impacts on community staples such as agriculture businesses and our parks and rivers,” said Dawn Gallagher, MPP, Newmarket-Aurora. “By funding organizations to manage and prevent the spread of these species, we are taking crucial steps to preserve the natural beauty and stability of Newmarket-Aurora for future generations.”

In 2019, the Invasive Species Centre estimated that the potential impacts of invasive species to agricultural, fisheries, forestry, health care, tourism and the recreation industry may be as high as $3.6 billion per year in Ontario.

To further prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species in the province, Ontario recently added 10 new non-native species and four genera (groups of species) under the Invasive Species Act, 2015 and is renewing the Ontario Invasive Species Strategic Plan to ensure we have the most robust plan possible in place.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario invested $5 million in 2023-24 to support ongoing research, monitoring, and management of invasive species through programs and education across the province.
  • The Invasive Species Act, 2015 currently lists 42 species, four groups, one family and two carriers. The Act provides legislative tools to prohibit and restrict certain invasive species, as well as carriers that facilitate the movement of invasive species.
  • Ontario has the highest number of invasive species in Canada. Once established, invasive species can harm the natural environment and are extremely difficult and costly to control or eradicate.