Ontario Pesticide Ban becomes Law on April 22, 2009

Ontario’s cosmetic pesticides ban takes effect April 22, 2009. The McGuinty government made the announcement on Mar. 4, stating, “The ban protects Ontario families and children from the unnecessary risks of cosmetic pesticides by only allowing the use of certain lower-risk pesticides for controlling weeds and pests in lawns and gardens.”

LO executive director Tony DiGiovanni reacted by saying, “Although Landscape Ontario agrees with the intent of the of the legislation, the government actions are callous, insensitive, extreme and disrespectful to a growth industry that employs over 66,388 full-time people (22,000 in the turfgrass sector alone). Many safe and effective products have been taken away from the industry and public. It is unrealistic to expect such drastic changes by April.”

The provincial announcement stated that the ban will prohibit the sale and use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes on lawns, gardens, parks and school yards, and includes many herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. Over 250 products will be banned for sale and more than 80 pesticide ingredients will be banned for cosmetic uses.

DiGiovanni said, “Many jobs will be put at risk at a time when government should be helping growth industries to expand and create more employment. I am not aware of any other sector in history that has been treated with absolutely no empathy. We could have helped the government achieve its goals over time through public and industry education. This legislation should have been phased-in in partnership with the industry. Instead they have chosen to take a chance with people’s livelihood.”

Ontario’s minister of the environment John Gerretsen stated in the announcement that his government had fulfilled its commitment to ban the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides in Ontario. “I’m proud to say that, when the ban takes effect on Earth Day, we will have eliminated this unnecessary risk to our environment, our families, and especially our children.”

There are exceptions for public health or safety reasons such as fighting West Nile Virus, killing stinging insects like wasps, or controlling poison ivy and other plants poisonous to the touch. Other exceptions include agriculture, arboriculture and forestry.

The ban takes the place of existing municipal pesticide bylaws in different areas of the province. “It also establishes one clear set of rules, which makes it easier for Ontario businesses to follow,” says the provincial government’s press release.

“I am hoping that they see the error of such an extreme approach. We will be there to help when they do,” concluded DiGiovanni.

For additional information, visit www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/land/pesticides/index.php