Press release


Canadians Called to Take Action on Invasive Species

Across Canada, unwanted invasive species such as Feral Pigs, Asian Gypsy Moth or Giant Hogweed are just a few of the over 1400 species that are taking over Canada’s special places. Join Canadians in taking action against invasive species – protect your local parks, backyards and lakes and rivers from highly destructive invasive species. Whether you are gardening, going for a hike, taking a walk in the park or building a campfire – there is something that you can do to help protect Canada’s special places during the first Annual National Invasive Species Week, May 16-23, 2020.

Hosted by the Canadian Council on Invasive Species (CCIS), partners and organizations have been given access to easy tools and actions that can be taken in communities in every corner of Canada during this week.

This week not only allows CCIS and our partners to highlight existing programs, like Clean Drain Dry, Be Plant Wise and Play Clean Go, but also provides an opportunity to educate Canadians on emerging and established invasive species from across Canada.

Take action this week – adopt at least one action to protect our communities and natural places from invasive species. Canadians can:

  1. Clean Drain Dry boats and fishing gear to prevent the movement of aquatic invasive species.
  2. Be Plant Wise and choose a non-invasive plant for your garden.
  3. Buy Local Burn Local and only use local firewood to avoid moving forest pests and diseases.
  4. Play Clean Go and brush off your boots, gear, and pets after hitting the trail.

Some of the invasive species that are threatening Canada from coast to coast include:

  • Feral Pigs – “The growing wild pig population is not an ecological disaster waiting to happen—it is already happening,” said University of Saskatchewan’s Ryan Brook, lead researcher for the Canadian Wild Pig Project.
  • Asian Giant Hornet – Originates from China and Japan, preys on honeybees and has a painful and venomous sting. It has been found in Nanaimo BC in the summer of 2019, and two nests were eradicated.
  • Whirling Disease – In Alberta, an infectious disease caused by a microscopic parasite that affects salmonid fish (e.g. trout, salmon and whitefish). Young fish are the most vulnerable and can experience up to 90% mortality rates.
  • Invasive Phragmites – A tall grass species which invades wetland areas where it outcompetes native plants. The species was considered Canada’s “worst invasive plant” by Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada in 2005 and has since continued to spread, eliminating habitat, posing a fire hazard to nearby infrastructure, and causing roadside sightline issues among others.

CCIS has developed a toolkit with daily themes, sample social media posts and helpful resources. We encourage our partners and other organizations to employ this toolkit to help raise awareness and promote action and learning against invasive species in their province or territory during National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

Find the partner toolkit, social media graphics and webinar registration links here:

A National Invasive Species Awareness Week webinar series will be hosted to promote awareness and action against invasive species; webinars include:

Preventing Aquatic Invasive Species through Clean Drain Dry

– Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Learn from the CCIS about the steps they have taken to build and expand a national Clean Drain Dry program and the tools and resources available to your organization, as well, hear from Kristin Elton, Program Coordinator of the New Brunswick Invasive Species Council, about the innovative ways they are implementing CDD at a provincial level.

Be Plant Wise: Preventing the Spread of Garden Invaders through Partnership

– Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Learn how the CCIS has worked in partnership with industry through the National Invasive Horticulture Working Group to develop key components of the Be Plant Wise program including a National Code of Conduct and how the CCIS is continuing to expand the program across Canada. Also, hear from Vicki Simkovic of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council on how their Grow Me Instead Program has ‘grown’ into a successful provincial campaign and the steps they have taken to expand and maintain the program.

Reducing the spread of Invasive Species through Play Clean Go

– Thursday, May 21, 2020

Learn how CCIS and partners are encouraging outdoor recreation while protecting valuable natural resources in parks, along trails and other spots by preventing the spread of invasive species. Hear from our partners including Andrea Altherr of the Yukon Invasive Species Council and Kim Kaiser of Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society to learn about Play Clean Go initiatives being implemented in the Yukon and BC.



About the Canadian Council on Invasive Species

The Canadian Council on Invasive Species works collaboratively across jurisdictional boundaries to build awareness, increase responsible actions and provide tools and information to help reduce the threat and impacts of invasive species. Provincial/territorial chapters, Indigenous, business and government representatives all work to guide this federal society and work together to reduce the impact of invasive species across the country.  For more information and to get involved, visit our website. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @CanadaInvasives

Media contact:

Kellie Sherman, Coordinator, Canadian Council on Invasive Species

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