Discussion paper: Developing strategic direction for managing forest pests in Ontario

ERO number
Notice type
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal posted
Comment period
December 20, 2019 - February 18, 2020 (60 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:

December 20, 2019
to February 18, 2020

Proposal summary

We are seeking feedback on how to improve forest pest management in Ontario, to help protect forest health and improve the resilience of Ontario’s forests. In the face of invasive species and climate change a more resilient forest will help to protect biodiversity and the sustainability of Ontario’s wood supply.

Proposal details

The discussion paper is seeking feedback from Ontarians on how forest pest management can be enhanced within Ontario’s current approach to sustainable forest management.

Forest pests are native or invasive species of insects, diseases, and plants that threaten forest health. Severe outbreaks of native pests and introductions of invasive pests can negatively affect forest health and human values at a landscape scale. Outbreaks that cause widespread damage or tree mortality can affect forest health and may increase fire hazard, reduce biodiversity, compromise cultural values, reduce the quantity and quality of wood supply and limit opportunities for tourism and recreation. Pest outbreaks may have serious socioeconomic implications for northern communities reliant on the forest sector and wood supply. And they can influence global trade, as some countries may choose to impose trade restrictions on wood products to reduce or avoid the chance of introducing new species into their forests.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is responsible for forest pest management on Crown land and for pests regulated under the Invasive Species Act on all land in Ontario. The ministry recognizes the importance of prevention, early detection, and early response in managing native forest pests and in avoiding the establishment of/eradicating invasive species.

As part of that responsibility, the MNRF is proposing strategic direction for managing forest pests to modernize and enhance current forest pest management efforts by enabling a cohesive and coordinated effort across the province. The proposed strategic direction is based on what we’ve learned from past experience and considers the ongoing need to respond quickly to both native forest pests and invasive species. The strategic direction will improve service delivery by ensuring strategic and efficient government response to pest outbreaks. Improved response will help to protect forest health and improve the resilience of Ontario’s forests. A more resilient forest will help to protect the sustainability of Ontario’s wood supply in the face of new and changing pressures on our natural resources.

Managing both native and invasive pests is becoming more complex due to global trade and climate change. Federal, provincial, First Nations, municipal and private jurisdictions all play a role in forest pest (e.g., insect and disease) management. Currently, Ontario’s legislation does not: explain the purpose of forest pest management; establish criteria to define priorities or decision-making processes; and does not have assigned roles and responsibilities. These gaps can cause significant delays in responding to pest events. MNRF has developed a draft discussion paper to address these issues that can be posted to the Environmental Registry for consultation.

The discussion paper proposes establishing strategic, risk-based direction to enhance our response to forest pest outbreaks, help protect forest health and improve resiliency of Ontario’s forests by:

  • increasing focus on integrating and coordinating forest pest management across government and jurisdictions that will support more timely and targeted action during an outbreak
  • adopting a proactive approach, where risk of forest pests (e.g. to wood supply) are assessed in advance of an outbreak to action a response appropriately and allocate resources effectively
  • improving efficient allocation of limited government resources to management actions that will have the greatest benefit for Ontarians

The proposal combines existing direction with new actions to establish a strategic approach for forest pest management. Most actions represent foundational, ongoing work that is critical to decision making like monitoring, research, and response. Other actions reflect new areas of focus that will help with overall preparedness, including risk assessment and communication.

Assessing risk will identify the highest priority pests and actions to improve efficient allocation of limited resources to management actions with the greatest benefit. This entails prioritizing pests posing greatest risk and actions to address individual pests. Not all management actions will be required - based on priorities and expected outcomes.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Bondar Building

70 Foster Drive
3rd Floor - West Tower
Sault Ste Marie, ON
P6A 6V5


Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from December 20, 2019
to February 18, 2020

Connect with us


Hugh Lougheed

Phone number
Email address
Forest Sustainability and Information Section, Crown Forests and Lands Policy Branch

70 Foster Dr, Suite 400
Sault Ste Marie, ON
P6A 6V5

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