Province Consulting on Further Steps to Protect Ontario’s Deer, Elk and Moose Population

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Changes Proposed to Keep Fatal Wildlife Disease out of Ontario

July 15, 2020

The Ontario government is seeking public input on a proposal to increase protections for the province’s wildlife populations from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease that affects members of the cervid family – deer, elk, moose and caribou. While it has not been detected in Ontario, it is important for hunters, wildlife management and the general public to remain vigilant. CWD was discovered in 2018 on a deer farm in Quebec, close to the Ontario border. It has also been found in all five U.S. states bordering Ontario.

“We’re committed to doing everything we can to keep chronic wasting disease out of Ontario and preserve Ontario’s deer, elk and moose populations for generations to come,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “I would like to hear from members of the public on our proposed measures to ensure they will work effectively in every part of the province.”

“Last year, I had the opportunity to meet with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to discuss their experience with Chronic Wasting Disease and the severity of its impact” said Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “I am proud to say that learning from the best practices of regions such as Tennessee, our government is proposing proactive regulatory amendments under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to protect the people of Ontario and its wildlife populations from the threat of a CWD outbreak.”


The government is proposing amendments to regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act that would:

- Prohibit people from importing into Ontario live, captive cervids from outside of the province, with some exceptions.

- Prohibit people from moving live cervids from one part of Ontario to another, with some exceptions.

- Expand the existing prohibition on the use or possession of lures, scents and attractants made from cervid parts to include any purpose beyond hunting.

- Expand the existing prohibition on import of high-risk parts of cervids hunted in other jurisdictions.

In December 2019, Ontario announced a CWD Prevention and Response Plan that will ensure the province has the right approaches in place to minimize the risk of the disease entering or spreading within the province. The new proposed measures are the next step to protect Ontario’s wildlife and support sustainable hunting, which creates jobs and makes an important economic contribution to our province.

The proposed changes are now available on the Environmental Registry of Ontario for public feedback until August 31, 2020.


- The province conducts an annual CWD surveillance program, which would help detect the disease and minimize the risk of it entering the province.

- Since 2002, the government has tested more than 13,000 wild deer and elk for CWD; all test results have been negative.

- Deer hunters spend more than $275 million annually in Ontario, which helps support jobs in many rural and northern communities.


- Chronic Wasting Disease Prevention and Response Plan

- Find out more about what the Ontario Government is doing to keep Chronic Wasting Disease out of Ontario



Jonathan Lesarge
Office of PA Mike Harris
[email protected]