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December 9, 2003
Immediate Release

GARDENING REMAINS A CRIME AS COURT UPHOLDS TORONTO PESTICIDES BY-LAW

- The People Agree: Gardening Should Not Be A Crime -

TORONTO - The ruling by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice upholding the city of Toronto's by-law to ban the use of pest control products on residential properties means gardeners will risk being considered criminals.

"Gardening should not be a crime, but for many gardeners it will be, when the by-law comes into force," said Debra Conlon, Executive Director of the Urban Pest Management Council (UPMC), which represents manufacturers and distributors of pest control products.

"Yesterday's ruling effectively reinforces the criminalization of gardening, and denies the people of Toronto their right to use legal, federally-registered products to help care for their properties," Conlon said.

UPMC is reviewing the decision with legal counsel and is considering an appeal.

On May 23rd, Toronto City Council passed by-law 456-2003, which all but eliminates the use of federally-registered pest control products by homeowners and residents in the city. UPMC has consistently stressed that the by-law is ineffective, unenforceable, and redundant because of the stringent regulations that are already in place.

"With this by-law, the city of Toronto is voluntarily downloading responsibilities that it has neither the resources nor the expertise to deal with," said Conlon.

While the court has upheld the by?law, it has said nothing to endorse the City's approach to pesticide regulation. It also reveals the need for the federal and provincial governments to more clearly communicate that the regulatory framework around pesticides is working and to reassure Canadians that there are substantial benefits to be derived from the responsible use of pesticides. UPMC believes that the circumstances of the application reinforce the need for sound science to underpin public policy.

"The notion of banning the use of pest control products was recently tried in the court of public opinion, when voters in Oakville rejected the idea in a municipal plebiscite on November 10th," said Conlon. "The people were very clear; we're disappointed that the court has ruled differently."

UPMC represents the manufacturers and distributors of pest control products. It is involved in all aspects of industry wide public education, communication, stewardship, legislation and regulation appropriate to pest management, and is dedicated to Integrated Pest Management, and the responsible use of pesticides for the protection of human health and the environment.

Further information:
Debra Conlon, Executive Director
416-622-9771

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