Sources at CBC are reporting that the Ontario Liberals plan to introduce a province wide ban on pesticides if they are re-elected in October. The proposed pesticide ban will be part of the party's platform leading up to the election on October 10, 2007.
The proposed ban will cover all municipalities, towns and cities in the province with the exception of farmer's useing pesticides and herbicides in their fields. Twenty five municipalities across Ontario have already passed their own bylaws banning the cosmetic use of pesticides on gardens and lawns.
Since a failed attempt by a committee of the House of Commons to ban lawn chemicals across the country, in March of 2002, the debate over whether to ban the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes is being fought at the municipal level. Health Minister, Anne McLellan, said that she does not have the authority to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides across Canada and chose to defer the matter to the Supreme Court ruling in June 2001 concerning the town of Hudson, Quebec.
In Hudson the Supreme Court upheld the municipality's right to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides. Since that precedent setting ruling there has been many successful community based movements to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides with over 60 municipalities across the country passing their own bylaws.
In Vancouver a pesticide use restriction bylaw came into effect in 2006. The bylaw regulates the use of outdoor pesticides on lawns and in gardens. The application of these pesticides, including insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides, is now restricted. Certain conditions need to be met before pesticides may be applied, such as controlling an infestation or destroying a health hazard. However, the by-law will allow the use of certain reduced risk products on lawns and in gardens (http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/solidwaste/grownatural/pesticideUseBylaw.htm).
If you are one of the many people who have become reliant on pesticides over the years, don't worry it is still possible to grow healthy green lawns and gardens using more organic methods. Environment Canada has offered the following tips for growing a healthy lawn without any chemicals: The key to a weed and pest-free lawn is to build strength in your grass by overseeding every year to create a dense lawn that will crowd out weeds. They also recommend fertilizing naturally with manure and compost and digging out weeds by hand. We also need to learn to tolerate some weeds because comparatively speaking Pesticides are not worth the health risks.
For more organic gardening tips check out Health Canada's 12 easy steps to get your lawn off drugs http://www.ns.ec.gc.ca/epb/factsheets/12_steps.html
To find out about pesticide bylaws in your community call or check out your municipality's web page. The Engineering Services of Vancouver web site provides useful information on who is affected by the Vancouver ban as well as a list of reduced risk pesticides that are still permitted http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/solidwaste/grownatural/index.htm