Proposal to reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease entering Ontario

ERO number
019-2065
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
July 15, 2020 - August 31, 2020 (47 days) Open
Last updated

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
August 31, 2020

Proposal summary

We are proposing to amend regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 to implement additional measures reducing the risk that Chronic Wasting Disease may enter Ontario.

Proposal details

Background

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a degenerative, fatal brain disease that affects cervids (members of the deer family). Through surveillance of both wild and captive cervids since 2002, Ontario is currently believed to be CWD-free.

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

  • brain
  • spinal column
  • eyes

Consistent with commitments made in the Chronic Wasting Disease Prevention and Response Plan (2019), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is proposing the following regulatory measures to reduce the risk of CWD entry into, or spread within, Ontario.  These regulatory measures include:

  1. Prohibiting import of all species of live cervids into Ontario while allowing for certain exceptions:

The transport of live captive cervids infected with, but not exhibiting symptoms of CWD between farms in different jurisdictions is a primary driver of CWD spread throughout North America.

While there are permitting and other requirements that apply to the import of native cervids into Ontario (white-tailed deer, American elk, moose), currently cervids that are not native to Ontario may be imported without an MNRF-issued import permit, are not required to be enrolled in a herd certification program, and do not have to be held at a location meeting any biosecurity standards

We are proposing to prohibit the import into Ontario of all live cervids of all species from other jurisdictions, while allowing exceptions for live cervids fully certified in a state/provincial CWD herd certification program that are imported from jurisdictions free from CWD during the six-year period prior to the date of import and authorized via an MNRF-issued cervid movement permit.

We propose to require premises (farms) in Ontario to which all live cervids are being imported to meet the existing regulatory requirements for import of live native cervids relating to biosecurity (fencing/gating) and identification (ear tags; radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag).

Live cervids in transit through Ontario to another jurisdiction (e.g. British Columbia to Quebec) would be subject to the above restrictions and permit requirements; animals would also remain sealed in their transport vehicle while transiting through Ontario.

  1. Prohibiting the movement of live captive cervids between locations within Ontario while allowing for exceptions:

We propose to prohibit movement of live cervids between points within Ontario unless the animals have lived in or were imported into Ontario not less than five years prior, and the movement is supported by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency -issued Cervid Health Certificate and MNRF-issued cervid movement permit.

Premises to which live cervids are being moved to within Ontario would be required to meet the same regulatory requirements for biosecurity (fencing/gating) and identification (e.g. ear tags; RFID tag) as those that apply to live cervids imported from outside Ontario.

An exemption from the permit requirement would be allowed for live cervids sent to slaughter or being exported from Ontario, as well as for short-term movement to exhibits, shows or displays where animals are returned to the originating premises within a fixed timeframe.

  1. Expanding the existing prohibition on the possession and use of lures, scents and attractants made from parts of cervids:

We are proposing to expand the existing prohibition on the possession and use of natural lures made from body parts of cervids for the purpose of hunting to include all purposes. This would further reduce the likelihood that CWD is introduced to Ontario through this path.

Synthetic lures and scents which do not contain any parts or body fluids of cervids, and which are readily available at similar if not lower cost than natural lures would continue to be permitted for use by hunters.

  1. Expanding the existing prohibition on import into Ontario of high-risk parts of cervids hunted in other jurisdictions:

We are proposing to further restrict the import of high-risk parts of cervids hunted in other jurisdictions, allowing exemptions only for cut (butchered) meat, taxidermy mounts, tanned hides and skulls, canine teeth and antlers from which all tissue has been removed.

These changes clarify the intent of the existing regulation and further reduce the risk of CWD entering Ontario by prohibiting import of untanned hides and field- dressed carcasses.

We intend to amend Ontario Regulation 665/98 (Hunting) and Ontario Regulation 666/98 (Possession, Buying and Selling of Wildlife) under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to implement the proposal should it proceed. No additional opportunity for comments will be provided.

Regulatory impact statement

The anticipated environmental consequences of the proposal are neutral to positive. There are no negative environmental consequences from enhancing CWD preventative measures, and the proposal may provide environmental benefits by protecting the health of Ontario’s wild cervid populations and related ecological benefits they provide, as well as protect the trade value, marketability and long-term value of Ontario cervid farm operations.

The anticipated economic consequences of the proposal are anticipated to be neutral to slightly negative.

Cervid farmers may incur additional administrative costs associated with completion of applications for import permits as well as additional operating costs in obtaining and affixing identification tags to captive cervids when required, ensuring gating and fencing meet biosecurity requirements, and due to restrictions on potential sources of live cervids for re-stocking of herds. However, the proposed restrictions are intended to reduce the likelihood that CWD is imported into Ontario, thereby increasing the likelihood that Ontario will remain CWD-free, and the Ontario cervid farming industry will maintain a healthy, disease-free status, assuring trade value, marketability and long-term value of Ontario cervid farm businesses themselves. Some taxidermists may incur losses where they currently tan hides of deer hunted outside of Ontario.

The anticipated social benefits are positive as they would support the continued recreational and sustainable use of Ontario's wildlife consistent with hunting heritage traditions.

Supporting materials

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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.

MNRF Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch – Wildlife Section
Address

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

Office phone number

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Phone number
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MNRF Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch – Wildlife Section
Address

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

Office phone number

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Contact

Public Input Coordinator

Phone number
Office
MNRF Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch – Wildlife Section
Address

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

Office phone number

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