Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs

ERO number
019-3468
Notice type
Policy
Act
Invasive Species Act, 2015
Posted by
Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
April 21, 2021 - June 7, 2021 (47 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
April 21, 2021
to June 7, 2021

Decision summary

Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs has been finalized. The strategy outlines a proactive approach to prevent the establishment of invasive wild pigs in the province.

Decision details

A decision has been made to finalize Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs, incorporating updates made below as a result of public consultation.

At this time, there is no firm evidence to suggest that wild pigs are established (i.e., self-sustaining and breeding) in Ontario. However, reports of wild pigs in Ontario continue to be made, indicating that wild pigs could become established unless continued preventative actions are taken. The least costly and most effective approach for managing wild pigs is to act early. As such, Ontario is setting the proactive goal of preventing the establishment of invasive wild pigs in the province.

This goal is supported by the following four objectives:

  1. Prevent the introduction of pigs into the natural environment.
  2. Address the risk posed by Eurasian wild boar in Ontario.
  3. Use a coordinated approach to remove wild pigs from the natural environment.
  4. Leverage expertise and resources by collaborating across ministries, with federal agencies, other jurisdictions, and industry stakeholders, and partners.

The strategy further defines these objectives and corresponding actions that are needed to achieve our goal. Actions are multi-pronged, highlighting the need for clear communications, robust policy, Ontario-specific research and management, and strong collaboration between governments, agencies, and industry partners.

As part of this proposal, we also sought input on a complimentary proposal to regulate pigs as a restricted invasive species under the Invasive Species Act, 2015. The proposed regulatory amendments were passed on October 14, 2021. For more information on the regulatory proposal see ERO# 019-1162. A separate notice on this amendment can be found at the link below.

Comments received

Through the registry

61

By email

7

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

The majority of comments acknowledged the risk of wild pigs in Ontario and supported or implied support for a proactive approach. General support was received for using tools under the Invasive Species Act, 2015, including taking steps to address the release/escape of captive pigs. Support was also received for ongoing communication with other jurisdictions, relevant agencies, and partners.

While mixed support was received from the public for prohibiting wild pig hunting, input received from stakeholders, academics, and research and management experiences from other jurisdictions indicate strong support, provided a coordinated approach is taken to remove wild pigs from the natural environment.  Although we are proceeding with prohibiting hunting wild pigs in Ontario, hunters can still play an important role in addressing the wild pig problem, such as reporting sightings, participating in wild pig research and, when asked, assisting pig owners in recapturing or dispatching escaped pigs.

Many comments acknowledged the risk posed by Eurasian wild boar and their hybrids, and generally supported phasing Eurasian wild boar and their hybrids out of the province over two years. Certain comments expressed concerns due to potential economic impacts to producers and other local businesses. Commenters also sought clarification on Eurasian wild boar hybrids. The concerns we received were weighed against the known risks associated with Eurasian wild boar.  Based on the input received, we are proceeding with the phase-out, and for added clarity, have provided a definition of Eurasian wild boar hybrid in the strategy.

Recommendations for additional actions included new fencing and containment standards for outdoor pig production, mandatory farm registration, enhanced municipal responsibilities and enforcement, and enhanced traceability of owned pigs. We did not proceed with these recommended changes given a lack of provincial authority and/or the additional actions are expected to provide minimal benefit.

Additional edits were made throughout the strategy to improve readability, provide clarification, and acknowledge the important contributions of others that have been instrumental in developing Ontario’s approach to address the threat of invasive wild pigs.

Supporting materials

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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.

MNRF - FWPB - Biodiversity and Invasive Species 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
019-3468
Notice type
Policy
Act
Invasive Species Act, 2015
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Proposal posted

Comment period

April 21, 2021 - June 7, 2021 (47 days)

Proposal details

Wild pigs have been coined ‘an ecological train wreck’ because of the extent and magnitude of damage they cause. They have significant impacts on the natural environment, native wildlife, and the agriculture industry. The issue of wild pigs is complex. No single government, ministry, conservation organization or sector can address the issue alone. Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs outlines the province’s proactive approach to respond the issue of wild pigs.

The draft strategy provides information on wild pigs and their status in the province, as well as an overview of their ability to spread, become established, and the resulting impacts. Based on experiences from other jurisdictions, it is clear that the least costly and most effective approach for managing wild pigs is to act early.

As such, Ontario’s goal is to “prevent the establishment of invasive wild pigs in the province”.

This goal is supported by the following four objectives:

  1. prevent the introduction of pigs into the natural environment
  2. address the risk posed by Eurasian wild boar in Ontario
  3. use a coordinated approach to remove wild pigs from the natural environment
  4. leverage expertise and resources by collaborating across ministries, with federal agencies, other jurisdictions, and industry stakeholders, and partners

The strategy further defines these objectives and corresponding actions that are needed to achieve our goal. For example, the strategy includes important actions to address the risk of certain types of wild pigs (i.e., Eurasian wild boar) and escaped domestic pigs. The actions identified in the strategy are multi-pronged, highlighting the need for clear communications, robust policy, Ontario-specific research, management actions, and strong collaboration.

Hunters have an important role to play in protecting native Ontario wildlife and the natural environment. The strategy clarifies the role of hunters in addressing the wild pig problem.

Certain actions require regulatory amendments under the Invasive Species Act, 2015. Further information on proposed regulatory amendments are provided through a complementary ERO regulation proposal notice https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-3465.

Background

A wild pig is defined as any pig that is not contained or under the physical control of any person or is otherwise roaming freely. This includes Eurasian wild boar, domestic pigs, and hybrids that have escaped or been released from captivity, as well as their offspring.

Wild pigs are not native to Ontario and can have a negative impact on native wildlife and ecosystems. They have high reproductive potential which means that populations can increase in number and spread rapidly, making their impacts more severe. Impacts to the natural environment include:

  • preying upon native plants and wildlife
  • competing with native wildlife for food, water, and space
  • rooting into the ground with their tusks and snouts to dig for roots, tubers, bulbs, worms, insects, slugs, and snails
  • spreading disease to wildlife

As well as posing a threat to the natural environment, wild pigs also impact the agricultural industry, and human health and safety. One of the most concerning impacts of wild pigs is their potential to transmit diseases and parasites. A notable disease concern is African Swine Fever. Although not currently present in North America, it is considered the largest threat to the global pork industry. Wild pigs can also cause serious damage to agricultural lands and stored crops. In areas where wild pigs have become established, jurisdictions are investing significant time and resources to compensate for damages and to undertake efforts to control their spread.

At this time, there is no firm evidence to suggest that wild pigs are established (i.e. self-sustaining and breeding) in Ontario. By implementing the actions in the draft strategy, we have an opportunity to proactively address the threat of wild pigs within the province.

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.

MNRF - FWPB - Biodiversity and Invasive Species 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 April 21, 2021
to June 7, 2021

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