Ontario’s ban set a new Canadian standard on how Government can protect citizens and the environment from the unnecessary risk of harmful pesticide exposure.
Ontario became Canada’s second province to ban the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides on April 22, 2009. See “Ontario’s Pesticide Free” top right sidebar. (Quebec’s Pesticide Code was passed in 2003).
BC is NOT Ontario . . . No BC Political Will for Ban
BCers need to know that there are three important differences between Ontario’s ban experience and what is happening in BC . . .
In contrast, the Ontario Liberal Government followed through on a very public Sept 2007 election commitment.
Three months was the time it took for the Ontario Government to consult and decide . . .
from January 2008 when the public was asked to comment on a pesticide use ban until April 2008, when the Government announced it would ban the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides in the spring of 2009.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been law in BC since 2004.
In contrast, Ontario has no IPM legislation.
IPM is seen for what it is . . . an industry-driven, self-interest approach that promotes continued pesticide use through “proper” application by licensed IPM applicators.
IPM is not a significant part of the ban as IPM is considered a volunteer, industry-driven practice.
For the first time, under the ban, Ontario has IPM rules but only for limited, exempted use. (Ontario does not have separate IPM legislation).
Pesticides cannot be used for cosmetic purposes on lawns, vegetable and ornamental gardens, patios, driveways, cemeteries, and in parks and school yards.
There are no exceptions for pest infestations from insects, fungi or weeds. Safer, lower risk pesticides and other alternatives must be used.
More than 250 pesticide products cannot be sold and over 95 ingredients cannot be used.
These restrictions include Weedout and Killex herbicides, Later’s outdoor insecticides and Weed N Feed herbicide/fertilizer mixtures of 2,4-D, Dicamba and MCPP.
Pesticides with the active ingredients Glyphosate and Glufosinate (in Roundup and Wipeout herbicides) are generally prohibited but can be used for plants that are poisonous to touch (poison ivy).
The provincial ban overrides local pesticide bylaws and creates one set of rules across Ontario.
Ban Limitations include . . .
Ontario’s ban is considered to be a comprehensive and progressive law, with some limitations:
The provincial legislation overrides local bylaws.
Existing bylaws are no longer valid. Local governments cannot pass bylaws with stricter rules. Quebec’s Pesticide Code allows for stricter local laws to further restrict pesticide use. Quebec’s bylaws can include golf courses.
Exempting Glyphosate (RoundUp) and Glufosinate for use on poisonous plants will be hard to enforce. Use of these products for cosmetic purposes will likely continue.
Licenced landscaping companies must post warning signs but signs are not required for residential use.
Many groups supported Ontario’s ban, from medical experts, grass roots community and environmental groups to the organic landscaping industry and retail suppliers.
Supporters included . . .
medical experts – Canadian Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Canadian Cancer Society – Ontario Division, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), City of Toronto’s Medical Health Officer, Ontario College of Family Physicians, Ontario Public Health, Registered Nurses’ Assoc of Ontario.
environmental & health groups – Canadian Environmental Law Assoc, David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, Pesticide Free Ontario, Prevent Cancer Now.
organic landscaping industry – Organic Landscape Alliance, Turf Logic.
retail stores and suppliers – Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Rona, Wal-Mart.
The Government’s April 22, 2008 Backgrounder announcing the proposed legislation quotes 15 supporters (see right sidebars for some of these supporters).
The Ontario Government “got it” and listened to medical experts . . .
The Government publicly acknowledged it was convinced by the Canadian Cancer Society – Ontario Division that children need to be protected from pesticide exposure. (See “Ont Govt Listened” left sidebar).
The Government listened and went beyond the Liberal Party’s Sept 2007 election promise as the ban . . .
Includes urban and rural centres (not only urban areas as originally announced);
Includes the saleand use of pesticides (not only use as originally announced); and
Was implemented within a year of introduction of draft legislation (not phased-in over 3 years as originally announced).
Ont Govt did NOT Listen
The Government did not listen to those who wanted golf courses and turf facilities included in the ban, or those who wanted more restrictive local bylaws to remain effective.
This 45 day comment period was on the draft regulation that would implement the ban (eleven proposed classes, proposed notices and warning signs).
A stunning 15,101 comments were received through this consultation process. (One hundred responses per comment period is “normal”).
In addition to seeking comments through the on-line Environmental Registry process, MOE staff held 26 meetings to clarify the proposed legiation and regulations.
These meetings included a broad range of stakeholders across environmental, health, agricultural, golf, turf, retail, manufacturing and production, and municipal sectors.
Three stakeholder info sessions were held by MOE staff in Toronto during the Nov 2008 consultation period to explain the proposed regulation and to answer technical and sector-specific questions. More than 130 representatives attended these sessions.
Citizens (and other stakeholders) used direct contact with their Premier and MLAs to discuss Ontario’s proposed ban . . . through letters, emails, phone calls and personal meetings.
On-line Pesticide Free Info
The Ontario Government and MOE staff must be commended for the excellent on-line info that was posted during the public consultation process.
Considerable effort was made to explain the proposed ban and to include all stakeholders in the development of the new rules.
This helpful info covers commercial operators (lawn care, landscapers and licensed exterminators), homeowners and gardeners, manufacturers, parks and sports fields, retailers, schools and specialty turf facilities.
Provisions include pesticide classifications and exceptions for continued use. These two important provisions are summarized below . . .
Eleven pesticide classes were established and identify what products and/or ingredients are allowed and those that are not:
Class 1: Manufacturing concentrates used to make a pesticide product.
Classes 2, 3 and 4: Commercial or restricted pesticides that farmers and licensed exterminators can continue to use for non-banned uses. If the pesticide contains a Class 9 pesticide, it may only be used for an exception to the ban (e.g. agriculture, forestry, golf courses).
Classes 5 and 6: Acceptable biopesticides and lower risk pesticides can be used for residential cosmetic pest control.
Class 7: Dual-use pesticides (for indoor/outdoor uses) but only for non-cosmetic use. Can be used indoors to kill pests or outdoors for public health or safety reasons, but cannot be used outdoors to kill weeds. Retailers must have information to notify purchasers of use restrictions. In two years, these products will not be as accessible as they are now (as has been done with cigarettes).
Class 8: Banned weed and insect control products, including 2,4-D herbicide/fertilizer combination products.
Class 9: List of ingredients banned for cosmetic use. Commercial or restricted products containing these ingredients may still be used by farmers or licensed exterminators by exception.
Class 10: List of ingredients for poisonous control. May be used to control plants that are poisonous to touch under public health or safety exception.
Class 11: List of biopesticides or lower risk pesticides ingredients. There is no signage requirement for homeowners when using Class 11 pesticides to control weeds and other pests on lawns, gardens, driveways and other areas around the home. If licensed exterminators use these products, a green notice sign must be put on the lawn.
Exceptions that allow continued pesticide use include . . .
Arboriculture: Licensed exterminators can continue use to protect the health of trees.
Golf courses: Are not required to reduce, or phase out, cosmetic pesticides. They must become IPM accredited.
Natural resources: With Ministry of Natural Resources approval, for invasive species that may be detrimental to health, the environment or the economy, or to protect a native plant, animal or a rare ecosystem.
Public health or safety: Includes plants that are poisonous to touch (poison ivy) and insects that bite, sting (wasp nests), are venomous or disease carrying (mosquitoes and West Nile Disease). Also includes animals, insects or plants that may cause structural damage (termites).
Specified Sports fields: For national or international level sports competitions. Once event concludes, pesticide use must end. Areas around the sports fields not excepted.
Specialty turf: For lawn bowling, cricket, lawn tennis and croquet turf facilities, if certain conditions met, including IPM.