National Identification Service (NIS)

The National Identification Service (NIS) is the portal through which specimens of insects, arachnids, nematodes and their relatives can be submitted to the taxonomists at the CNC to be identified. As such, the NIS is one of Canada’s first lines of defense in protecting its environment and biological resources, as the identification and classification of organisms is key to understanding our native biodiversity and threats that may destabilize it.

By law, "where a person becomes aware of the existence of a thing that the person suspects to be a pest in an area where the pest has not previously been known to exist, the person shall immediately notify the Minister (of Agriculture) of the suspected pest and provide the Minister with a specimen of it" (Plant Protection Act, 1990, article 5). The NIS and taxonomists of the CNC support the Minister of Agriculture, the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA), and other government departments and agencies responsible for protecting our native fauna and flora from invasive species, ensuring safe imports/exports, and the health, welfare and security of Canadians.

Thousands of specimens collected across the country are submitted to the service each year by growers, private industry, the Canadian public and numerous government agencies. Many of these samples come from plant and animal products such as flowers, fruits and packaging wood, which are brought from overseas and intercepted at our borders. The accurate identification of these insects by our taxonomists is crucial. If the species are deemed a danger to our crops or wilderness areas, then steps must be taken to prevent them from establishing themselves in Canada.

Submission Procedure

Click here to obtain the submission forms from the government web site.

The contact person for the NIS is:

Owen Lonsdale
Manager, National Identification Service (Entomology)
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm
960 Carling Ave.
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0C6, Canada
E-mail: owen.lonsdale@agr.gc.ca
Tel.: (613) 759-1992


Owen Lonsdale

This page last updated on 19-Jun-2016

Webmaster: Ted

Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes
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