Change Constant With Weeds Legislation

Change has been a constant since the Noxious Weeds Act was first introduced in 1870, according to MWSA president John Johnston.

The original act was mainly a recognition that the spread of some weeds needed to be controlled.

It was rewritten in 1883 to transfer responsibility for controlling invasive and troublesome plants to landowners, and to designate officials responsible for highways and railways. Penalties were set for the sale of contaminated seed.

In 1894, the act was amended to give officials the power to cut down growing crops. In 1898, a provincial weed inspector was appointed, and emphasis was placed on educating the public on weed control strategies.

In 1940, control of noxious weeds was delegated to the municipalities, and by 1960, every municipality had a weed inspector on staff.

The last major rewrite of the Noxious Weeds Act in 1964 allowed for the formation of weed districts in the province. Since 1991, all weed district funding has come from municipalities themselves, said Johnston.

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