Explore ways to protect Canada's plants, forests, and agriculture on the International Day of Plant Health

News release

May 9, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario

Healthy plants are the foundation of ecosystems, supporting both human and animal life while keeping the environment stable and helping economies grow. May 12 marks the International Day of Plant Health, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is reminding everyone of their role in safeguarding agriculture, forests, and the environment in Canada.

Plant pests are a threat to Canada's environment and natural resources, which can have devastating effects on the food production, horticulture and forestry sectors. Invasive insects, plants, snails, and slugs spread to new regions via cargo transport, human activities such as moving firewood, and extreme weather events that can carry them long distances.

The CFIA collaborates with industry, stakeholders, and various government agencies to safeguard Canada's agriculture, forestry, and environmental sectors from invasive species. We do this through regulations, science-based risk assessments, annual surveys, and inspections.

Each of us has a role in slowing or stopping the spread of invasive species. Here's what you can do to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species:

  • Learn about the invasive species in your area and what they look like.
  • Don't move firewood; buy and burn local wood or buy heat-treated firewood.
  • Before moving any outdoor gear, vehicles, or equipment (like boats, ATVs, RVs, camping gear, or lawn mowers), give them a thorough inspection, and cleaning if necessary.
  • If you notice any suspicious plant pests, report them. You can do so online or by contacting your local CFIA office.

Your vigilance can make a real difference in protecting our environment.


"As a farmer myself, I fully understand just how vitally important plant health is to growing a good crop. As we mark the International Day of Plant Health, let's recognize the role that plant health plays in safeguarding our environment, economy, and food supply and the steps we can all take to protect plant health and the folks who rely on them."

– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food

"Invasive species are sneaky travelers that disrupt natural ecological processes, lead to biodiversity loss and even the extinction of other species. The CFIA safeguards Canada's ecosystems and protects native plants and animals through rigorous inspections and strict regulations. You can contribute on this International Day of Plant Health by being vigilant and reporting signs of plant pests to the CFIA."

– Paul MacKinnon, President, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Quick facts

  • Some of CFIA's invasive plants and pests of concern:

    • Emerald ash borer has spread to parts of six provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia) and has killed millions of ash trees across North America.
    • Spotted lanternfly is not known to exist in Canada but was added to the regulated pest list in 2018 in an effort to prevent its introduction from infested areas in the United States and elsewhere. Report all sightings!
    • Spongy moth  is established in many areas east of the Manitoba–Ontario border. Report it if you find it outside the regulated area, including in Newfoundland and Labrador or western Canada.
    • Box Tree moth is endangering ornamental boxwood  shrubs in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, significantly impacting the horticulture industry. Before moving boxwood plants please take a moment to inspect them for signs of eggs, larvae or discharge, as they could indicate potential threats to our garden ecosystems.
  • Invasive species that damage the agricultural and forestry industries result in billions of lost revenue annually. For example, the spotted lanternfly could cause millions of dollars of losses per year for Canada's $11.57 billion grape and wine industries, by killing grapevines.

  • The CFIA is the national plant protection organization for Canada and is responsible for setting and implementing plant-health regulations, policies and programs, that are based in science and consistent with international standards and trade rules.

  • In 2023, the CFIA logged approximately 500 reports from the public of suspect regulated plant pests.

Associated links


Media Relations
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) touches the lives of all Canadians in so many positive ways. Each day, hard-working CFIA employees – including inspectors, veterinarians and scientists – inspect food for safety risks, protect plants from pests and invasive species, and respond to animal diseases that could threaten Canada's national herd and human health. Guided by science-based decision-making and modern regulations, the Agency works tirelessly to ensure access to safe and healthy food in Canada, and support access to international markets for our high-quality agricultural products. To learn more, visit inspection.canada.ca.

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