Protecting plants, protecting life: Canada celebrates 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health

News release

January 16, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Food Inspection Agency

As Canada prepares to participate in the United Nation’s International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020, we are reminded that healthy plants are crucial to food security and the wellbeing of all Canadians. Invasive species and other plant pests damage our crops, ecosystems, forests and natural habitats, which in turn can have damaging effects on human health.

This occasion presents a unique opportunity for Canadians to take a more active role in making a commitment to promoting and preserving plant health for generations to come. Canadians of all ages have the power to help minimize the risks to Canada’s plants. You can take action by reporting plant pests in your area and burning only local or heat-treated firewood. Activities such as these, plus an international photo contest, are available on Canada’s IYPH website.

The Government of Canada is playing its part by working with domestic and international partners to build awareness about the International Year of Plant Health, and helping to protect Canada’s plant resources. Be sure to join the International Year of Plant health movement in 2020!


Everyone knows the damage that invasive species like the emerald ash borer can cause to both our environment and our economy. This year offers us an important opportunity to promote awareness about how people can protect our plants by identifying and reporting invasive pests. Canadians can be proud of the vigilance and international leadership of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to prevent the spread of invasive species.

-The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Quick facts

  • Plant protection is essential to both human and animal health, and to our environment and our economy.

  • Healthy plants provide us with 80 per cent of the food we eat and 98 per cent of the oxygen we breathe.

  • Climate change, international trade and travel, and even Canadian outdoor pastimes like camping and gardening can cause the spread of invasive plants, plant disease and other pests.

  • The emerald ash borer, an invasive pest, has killed over 10 million trees in Canada.

  • Canadians can help protect our plants by:

    • knowing about and reporting pests to the CFIA through or on social media @InspectionCan;
    • buying and burning local, or heat-treated, firewood to reduce the spread of the plant pests like the emerald ash borer that hide in firewood;
    • getting involved with the #PlantHealth and #IYPH2020 conversations on social media to raise awareness about plant protection; and
    • visiting for more details and activities.
  • The International Year of Plant Health has four main themes: helping to end hunger, reducing poverty, protecting the environment and boosting economic development.

  • Policies and actions to promote plant health are fundamental for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular those aimed at reducing poverty, hunger and threats to the environment.

  • The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals that act as a road map for helping to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by the year 2030.

  • In Canada, crop industries generate over $23.8 billion per year in exports, and the forest industry contributes $24.6 billion to the Canadian economy.

Associated links


Justine Lesage
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

CFIA Media Relations

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