A Toronto city councillor wants the province to front $3-million to help battle the city’s bedbug epidemic.
Toronto Public Health, which has been leading efforts to beat back the blood suckers since early 2008, doesn’t have a dedicated budget for its anti-bed bug campaigns, said Councillor Paula Fletcher, whose request for funding was endorsed by the Toronto Board of Health Monday.
“It really is time to fund this leading-edge work,” she said. “It would be great for the province to be a partner with the city.”
The city asked for money from the province earlier this year, but the government turned down the request.
Subsequently, MPP Mike Colle held a summit of pest control experts, officials and bed bug victims to discuss the problem. Ms. Fletcher argued that, in the wake of the summit, the province should step up to the plate.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care said the province was still studying the problem to decide on the best course of action, and hadn’t made any firm decisions on what it would do.
“We aren’t saying ‘no’ to the issue,” said David Jensen. “We’re working with a number of partners at this time.”
Bed bug populations have exploded around the world in recent years, which experts have attributed to a variety of factors, including the banning of the pesticide DDT and changes to cockroach eradication methods which used to also kill bedbugs.
Toronto Public Health runs an information campaign showing citizens how to deal with infestations and provides inspectors to co-ordinate eradication efforts in some cases.