Updating our Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance and Response Plan

ERO number
019-0154
Notice type
Policy
Act
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
June 10, 2019 - July 25, 2019 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
June 10, 2019
to July 25, 2019

Decision summary

Ontario has approved updates to the Chronic Wasting Disease Prevention and Response Plan to reflect current scientific knowledge, lessons learned from other jurisdictions, evolving roles of government agencies, and new legislative and regulatory mechanisms under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 to support prevention and response actions

Decision details

A decision was made to proceed with the proposed updates to the Chronic Wasting Disease Prevention and Response Plan as described, subject to changes made below as a result of public consultation.

The goals of the plan are: to minimize the threat posed by Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) through an adaptive, coordinated approach that provides effective direction for CWD prevention and response; and to protect the socio-economic, cultural and ecological benefits provided by Ontario’s wild deer, moose, elk and caribou.

As part of this proposal, we also sought input on potential legislative amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA), 1997 under the Better For People, Smarter For Business Act, 2019 (Bill 132) intended to provide Ontario the means to respond to future wildlife health threats, such as CWD, which could cause serious harm to wildlife and the values they bring to Ontarians. The bill received Royal Assent on December 10, 2019. A separate notice on this amendment to the FWCA can be found at the link below.

Comments received

Through the registry

12

By email

8

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

The majority of the comments indicated general or implied support for the proposal, often providing additional observations or suggestions toward CWD prevention/control.

A few commenters were opposed to elements of the proposal, expressing opposition to the killing of deer for the purpose of disease testing, de-populating deer and imposing restrictions on deer rehabilitation. One of the comments opposed to the proposal consisted of a 548-signature online petition.

Most comments were supportive of the proposal. Some concerns and suggestions for change were provided and considered. Edits to the document addressing these concerns include:

  • Retitling the document with the word “prevention” – both in the title and throughout the document to better reflect the prevention aspect of the plan.
  • Expanding on content describing the nature of CWD in different cervid species, as well as the utility of various types of tests used to detect it.
  • Increasing to a minimum of six years (instead of three) for maintaining CWD response actions following a detection.
  • Clarified use of the terms “captive” vs. “farmed” cervids.
  • Confirming amendments made to the FWCA that provide additional legislative and regulatory mechanisms in support of wildlife disease response (see ER #019-1055).

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Species Conservation Policy Branch - Wildlife Section
Address

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Office phone number

Connect with us

Contact

Public Input Coordinator

Phone number
Office
Species Conservation Policy Branch - Wildlife Section
Address

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Office phone number

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Original proposal

ERO number
019-0154
Notice type
Policy
Act
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Proposal posted

Comment period

June 10, 2019 - July 25, 2019 (45 days)

Proposal details

In order to help minimize the risk of Chronic Wasting Disease entering or spreading within Ontario we are proposing to update our Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance and Response Plan. The CWD Surveillance and Response plan was originally drafted and approved in 2005. A link to the proposed updated plan is found below.

We are also seeking input on potential amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 which would, if made, support the CWD Surveillance and Response Plan CWD prevention and response objectives. As well, these proposed changes would also provide Ontario the means to respond to other significant wildlife health threats which may arise in the future and which may cause serious harm to wildlife and the values they bring to Ontarians.

Background

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a degenerative, fatal brain disease that affects members of the deer family (e.g. white-tailed deer, elk, moose and caribou).

The disease is believed to be caused by abnormal proteins which are concentrated in certain body parts, such as the:

  • brain
  • spinal column
  • eyes

Although CWD has not been detected in Ontario, it poses potential risk to wild and captive animals, particularly deer and elk. The disease has been found in:

  • 26 U.S. states
  • three Canadian provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Quebec)

Proposed update to the CWD Surveillance and Response Plan

We are proposing to update our Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance and Response Plan. The plan provides policy direction on our approach to addressing the threat of CWD.

The goals of the plan are to:

  • minimize the threat through an adaptive, coordinated approach providing effective direction to prevent and respond to CWD in Ontario
  • protect the socio-economic, cultural and ecological benefits provided by Ontario’s wild deer, moose, elk and caribou.

The plan will achieve these goals by:

  • using and improving scientific knowledge to increase understanding about CWD
  • taking proactive measures to prevent CWD from entering Ontario
  • rapidly responding to CWD detection when/where necessary
  • increasing awareness and knowledge about CWD among the public, stakeholders and Indigenous communities and organizations

Proposed legislative changes

In addition to updating our Plan, we are also seeking input on potential amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 (FWCA) to support the proposed CWD Surveillance and Response Plan goals – as well as supporting responses to other potential wildlife diseases that may cause serious negative impacts to Ontario wildlife and the values they provide.

These potential legislative changes include:

  • granting the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry order-making powers to take actions in response to CWD and other emerging wildlife disease threats that may pose serious harm to Ontario’s wildlife, including the creation of wildlife disease response and control zones,
  • creating regulation-making authority to establish regulations supporting prevention and response to emerging wildlife diseases, and
  • providing the ministry with the means to authorize persons or classes of persons to take beneficial actions that may otherwise be prohibited under the FWCA in support of wildlife disease response.

These potential changes would enable us to pursue additional amendments to regulations under the FWCA that would support prevention of, and response to CWD and other emerging wildlife diseases. A separate Environmental Registry posting would be provided on any future potential regulations.

Draft White-tailed deer population objective setting and harvest management guidelines

In a related proposal posting, Ontario is also proposing to establish guidelines that outline the processes used for determining white-tailed deer population objectives, and for identifying appropriate harvest strategies for white-tailed deer management in Ontario.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Species Conservation Policy Branch - Wildlife Section
Address

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Office phone number

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from June 10, 2019
to July 25, 2019

Connect with us

Contact

Public Input Coordinator

Phone number
Office
Species Conservation Policy Branch - Wildlife Section
Address

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Office phone number