The introduction and spread of invasive species threatens the environment, the economy, and society, including human health. However, the true cost of invasive species to Canadian municipalities remains unknown. For this reason, the Invasive Species Centre and Environment and Climate Change Canada, with the support of the federal-provincial-territorial Invasive Alien Species National Committee, are conducting a review of known economic costs of invasive species to municipal and local governments across Canada. In 2019 the Invasive Species Centre conducted an Ontario-wide survey, the result of this survey found that the combined potential impacts of invasive species on agriculture, fisheries, forestry, healthcare, tourism, and the recreation industry are estimated to be approximately $3.6 billion per year in Ontario! Municipalities and conservation agencies invest $50 million per year to control invasives.
Building on the success of the Ontario-wide survey, a questionnaire has been developed to assess the direct costs of invasive species detection, prevention, and management by Canadian municipalities. Examples include hiring contractors to cut down dead ash trees impacted by emerald ash borer, conducting research to prevent the spread of invasive goldfish, hiring summer students to attend outreach events, promoting boat wash stations, and more! A better understanding of our individual and collective costs will help improve and prioritize planning and resource allocation for this serious and growing issue, along with helping you to use this data in your own municipal planning and presentations to your municipal committees and Council. We are calling on all municipalities in Canada to report their expenditures, identify their priority species, and help contribute to this important survey. Please note that for the purpose of this survey, municipalities and local governments include all cities, towns, villages, parishes, rural (county) or metropolitan municipalities, etc., for the thirteen provinces and territories across Canada.
Please help contribute to this important survey by September 30, 2021. Please consider responding even if you have no invasive species expenditures in your municipality or department, as additional important information can be captured under this survey.