Media Release

Canadian Coalition for
Invasive Plant Regulation (CCIPR)

For Immediate Release
View / download as pdf

Ottawa- Sept. 1, 2022

Canada is in urgent need of a nationally coordinated plan to reduce the spread of invasive plant species, according to the newly-created Canadian Coalition for Invasive Plant Regulation (CCIPR). Our legislative framework is out-of-date and fragmented and responsibility for who controls invasive plants is unclear.

Improved federal, provincial and territorial legislation and regulations are required to limit the spread of both terrestrial and aquatic invasive plants. 

Specifically, CCIPR is calling for the following measures: 

  • The development of a national risk assessment database that can be shared. Plant risk assessments would include potential threats to the environment and public health. They would be conducted by scientists in consultation with stakeholders.
  • Bans on the sale and movement of high-risk invasive plant species
  • Labelling to identify and educate the public about lower-risk invasive plants
  • Public education including alternatives to invasive plants
  • Encouragements for the horticultural trades to adopt the current national Code of Conduct. This would prevent the introduction and spread of invasive plants.

Each year, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent in Canada to control invasive plant species, namely plants that arrived from outside of North America. Many of these invasive plants are sold to the public by the horticultural industry, as well as by the pet and aquarium trades. Examples include: periwinkle (Vinca sp), goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria), tamarisk (Tamarix ramosissima), yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus), parrot’s feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) and Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii). All are considered invasive in some parts of Canada. Once these plants escape into natural areas, parks and forests, they cause ecological, social, and or economic harm.

“Gardeners are often shocked when they discover that plants they bought at a nursery are invasive,” says Master Gardener Catherine Kavassalis, a well-respected environmentalist and plant expert who helped to launch CCIPR. “Invasive plants represent a small percentage of all plants sold, but they do enormous ecological damage. They really need to be regulated or restricted to limit their spread and impact.”

A grassroots coalition of conservationists, ecologists, invasive plant experts, and motivated home gardeners from across Canada, CCIPR wants to reduce the proliferation of invasive plant species. They are seeking the public’s support and help to call for change.

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