FREDERICTON – A unified pesticide ban across Atlantic Canada was a main topic of discussion yesterday between New Brunswick Environment Minister Rick Miles and his regional counterparts.
Calling themselves the Council of Atlantic Environment Ministers, the four ministers got together in the New Brunswick capital to discuss several environmental issues, including the idea of standing united on an banned pesticide list.
New Brunswick was the first Atlantic province to introduce a ban last fall, followed by Prince Edward Island this spring.
Nova Scotia will introduce the first phase of a pesticide ban in the spring of 2011, while Newfoundland and Labrador still weighs its options of going forward with a ban.
“What we wanted to do is get together and try to create legislation that is compatible, similar in nature,” said Miles yesterday, mentioning that it’d be easier to educate the public about what’s banned if the same products were banned across the region.
Miles said industry would be more likely to react to one unified banned product list than the potential of four different lists. Quebec and Ontario also have pesticide bans of their own.
“It would be nice to have some uniform legislation in place so they could conform as they cross the borders,” said Miles.
Richard Brown, P.E.I.’s environment minister, said a single pesticide ban list would also protect consumers who might be buying banned products just across the provincial border.
“We don’t want to make criminals out of people and the best way to do that is to work cooperatively with one another,” he said. “We followed (New Brunswick’s) lead and we basically have the same regulations, the same list.”
Sterling Belliveau, Nova Scotia’s environment minister, said a ban on certain lawn pesticides will come into effect in that province next spring, followed in 2012 with a pesticide ban on some products for trees and shrubs.
“The end result is going to be very similar,” said Belliveau, in reference to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island’s list. He said fostering uniformity right now on a banned pesticide list would ensure uniformity later.
Charlene Johnson, Newfoundland and Labrador’s environment minister, said that province’s government is watching the other three Maritime provinces with keen interest in their bans.
“We certainly don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” she said. “So I’m learning from their experiences and hiccups along the way.”
More than 200 over-the-counter pesticides are no longer allowed for sale or use in New Brunswick since the ban came into effect last fall. Those pesticides all contained the ingredient 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, more commonly known as 2,4-D. The ingredient is widely used to kill dandelions.
Additionally, the province said they targeted a ban toward pesticide products that were more likely to be “overused and misused” by the homeowner, particularly pesticides that required the user to measure, mix or dilute the product.