Pest control products are important
The reduction or elimination in the availability
of pesticides would significantly alter our approach
to pest management and our way of life. Bans impede
our ability to maintain a safe living environment.
Despite good intentions of Councillors, bans
are not the answer and do not work. This is
a flawed approach because even with the Supreme
Court ruling on this issue, municipalities have
no authority to ban the sale of these products.
Municipalities dealing with this issue have resulted
in a patchwork of decisions, with municipalities
across Canada having different approaches. The time
and effort expended on this issue is duplicative
because Health Canada is responsible for regulation
regarding these products. Taxpayers should not have
to pay for this redundancy.
Aside from adding value to property, many of the
same products used on lawns, golf courses and in
agricultural crops are also used to control termites,
rodents in restaurants, fleas and ticks on pets,
algae in swimming pools and fungi, like mildew,
in our household paints. Pesticides contribute
to the health and safety of all Canadians. In
fact, because of their exposure to the environment,
pesticides are more rigorously tested for environmental
impact than the pharmaceutical drugs used to protect
The term "cosmetic use" often implies that pesticides
associated with lawn and garden care serve only
an aesthetic purpose. However, as detailed previously,
there are bona fide benefits to community health
and the environment from the use of pest control
products. Health Canada's PMRA requires pesticide
manufacturers to demonstrate value before they can
be registered. As well, Health Canada has established
use site categories to cover all possible use areas
and none use the terms "cosmetic" or "non-essential"
because indeed all uses are required to show value
or they will not registered.
What are alternatives?
If all pesticides must be registered by Health Canada
before they can be used in Canada, then what is
meant by an alternative?
Some suggest that municipalities, homeowners and
lawn care workers use alternatives that are not
registered for legal use in Canada. These so-called
alternative products and methods are not only illegal
but they have not been tested for environmental
and health impacts.
Cities that draft pesticide regulation bylaws, in
many cases, do so because they are pressured to
take some action and unfortunately this can lead
to completely eliminating the use of legally permissible
and regulated pesticides.
Efficient ways of approaching pest management are
of primary concern to the manufacturers, as well
as the users, of pesticides. The Integrated Pest
Management principles, discussed previously, are
proven and take into consideration, environmental
impact, site characteristics, and public health
Municipalities generally have underestimated the
requirement for adjustment in budgets, and open
spaces/park management practices if pesticides are
eliminated from their toolkits. Plant Health Care
(PHC) and Integrated Pesticide Management (IPM)
have been around for years, but few municipalities
have the budgets to support such programs to the
extent required to eliminate or set up trace amount
use of pesticides.