This consultation was open from:
June 10, 2019
to July 25, 2019
Ontario is updating its Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance and Response Plan to reflect current scientific knowledge, lessons learned from other jurisdictions, and the evolving roles of government agencies. We are also seeking input on potential legislative amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 to support this plan.
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.
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:
- spinal column
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.
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