Be informed of and follow laws and regulations

Be informed of and follow laws and regulations (international, federal, provincial) regarding acquisition, collection, possession, purchase, sale and release.

The management and control of invasive alien species is governed by certain international, national and provincial initiatives. These initiatives vary in approach and scope. In this section, we provide an overview of the legislation, policies and directives that play an important part in the prevention and control of alien species in Canada and that are most likely to have an impact on the activities of aquarium hobbyists, backyard pond owners and water gardeners.


Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was introduced on June 5, 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Canada signed and ratified the CBD the same year and it came into force on December 29, 1993. The CBD is the result of recognition by the world community of the need to ensure global sustainable development through conservation of plant and animal species, the ecosystems they inhabit and their genetic diversity. The CBD sets out the obligations of its partners to develop a national strategy to meet the objectives of the Convention and promote sound ecological management. Environment Canada, in cooperation with provincial and territorial governments, oversees implementation of the CBD and the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy.


The Canadian Biodiversity Strategy Strategy is Canada's response to its obligation, as a Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to develop a national strategy to prevent the introduction of harmful alien species and prevent their adverse effects. The development of the Strategy, and its on-going implementation, involves the cooperation and input from a wide scope of stakeholders, including industry, the scientific community, academia, conservation groups and organizations, and federal, provincial and territorial governments. While Environment Canada is the organization responsible for overseeing overall implementation of the Strategy, implementation mechanisms may vary among the jurisdictions involved.

The National Invasive Alien Species Strategy (IAS), is a joint federal/ provincial/ territorial government initiative which was introduced in September 2004. The key objectives of this strategy focus on minimizing the risks posed by invasive alien species on the environment, the economy and society, and on protecting environmental biodiversity and sustainability. This national strategy incorporates specific action plans, including a Canadian Action Plan to address the threat of Aquatic Invasive Species. As with similar initiatives, Environment Canada is the lead organization responsible for the IAS Strategy, however implementation involves cooperation among federal, provincial and territorial governments, non-governmental agencies, academic institutions and the public.

The Wild Animal and Plant Protection Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA), is a federal Act which aims to protect certain species of wild animals and plants in Canada and regulate importation and trade, both interprovincially and internationally, of species deemed as being harmful to them. Environment Canada is responsible for implementation and enforcement of this legislation.

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) is a federal Act designed to prevent the intentional introduction of invasive alien species into Canada. According to the provisions of this Act, introduction of new, potentially invasive plant and animal species, not covered by other federal legislation, is subject to assessments to determine whether they are toxic or can become toxic to the environment or humans. Environment Canada is responsible for implementation and enforcement of this legislation.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is a federal agency that has introduced initiatives aimed at educating importers and exporters about proper and accurate reporting and accounting for live aquatic organisms in commercial trade. The CBSA's goal is to better monitor trade and ensure compliance with regulatory import/export requirements. Border Information Services (BIS) line is: 1-800-461-9999 - english and french.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), through its Invasive Alien Species Section, Plant Health Division, is responsible for developing and implementing programs consistent with the national Invasive Alien Species (IAS) Strategy, as it relates to invasive alien plants and plant pests. It's mandate is to prevent entry and spread of potentially harmful plants and pests through science-based regulation, surveillance, pest eradication, risk management and public awareness.

The CFIA is currently reviewing its policy on aquatic plants as part of the Government of Canada's initiative on invasive alien species. As a result, certain aquatic plants that may pose a risk of becoming invasive plants, will not be allowed entry into Canada until a pest risk assessment has been completed. Once completed, the CFIA's aquatic plants policy will be finalized and posted on the CFIA web site. Importers of aquatic plants will be notified accordingly.

The aquatic plants that will not be allowed into the country until a risk assessment has been completed are :

  • Cardamine impatiens L.
  • Hydrilla verticillata (L. f.) Royle
  • Limnophila indica (L.) Druce
  • Limnophila sessiliflora (Vahl) Blume
  • Ludwigia grandiflora (M. Micheli) Greuter & Burdet
  • Ludwigia peruviana (L.) Hara
  • Marsilea quadrifolia L.
  • Myriophyllum aquaticum (Vell.) Verde.
  • Najas minor All.
  • Nymphoides peltata (Gmel.) O. Kuntze
  • Sagittaria sagittifolia L.
  • Salvinia minima Baker
  • Trapa natans L.

The CFIA web-page for Invasive Alien Species may be found at :
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Butomus umbellatus

© Photo : Ben Legler - WTU Herbarium Image Collection - Burke Museum

Hydrocharis morsus-ranae

© Photo : Dragisa Savic - Nature Photography

Eichhornia crassipes

© Photo : Marian Rodríguez -

Marsilea quadrifolia L.

© Photo : Dragisa Savic - Nature Photography

Trapa natans

© Photo : Karl Gercens -

Nymphoides peltata

© Photo : Dragisa Savic - Nature Photography

Myriophyllum aquaticum

© Photo : Ben Legler - WTU Herbarium Image Collection - Burke Museum

Provincial / Territorial


New Brunswick