Earlier this summer we
reported that Ontario Pesticide Act prosecutions have become infrequent
since the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOE) stopped
having specialized pesticide enforcement staff. Now that the season
is soon to change over, we decided to take a look at the year's
violation reports to see if MOE's intentions with respect to
pesticide enforcement have changed.
June 2008, the Ontario legislature passed the Cosmetic
Pesticide Ban Act which amended the provincial Pesticide Act to ban
the use and sale of lawn and garden pesticides.
Permitted pesticides for managing lawn and garden pests include
Borax, soap and corn gluten meal. The Pesticide Act also requires
those who apply pesticides to have a license, as well as a permit
to apply particular pesticides that may be harmful to human health
or the environment. Effectiveness of the act has been questioned;
it's been reported by the
CBC that Canadians are cross-border shopping in the U.S. to buy
lawn and garden pesticides no longer permitted in Ontario.
Ecojustice put out an informative paper in 2012 busting the
myths of cosmetic pesticides.
So far in 2014, the MOE has only reported a total of seven
pesticide violations. The violations tend to focus on the failure
to carry licenses and permits, rather than the illegal application
of banned pesticides. The most recent was on
August 6, 2014. An individual, Paul Mellor, was fined $1,500,
plus a victim fine surcharge of $365 for applying a pesticide on
residential lawns without a valid license. Mellor had been warned
by a provincial officer that he did not possess the proper license.
He falsely claimed he was acting under the licence of someone
June, a Middlesex landscaping owner was fined $2,800, plus a
victim fine surcharge of $700 for applying a banned Class 9
cosmetic pesticide (Killex) without a license. The company was
reported by MOE to be the subject of a ministry planned drive
around inspection looking for landscaping companies illegally
applying pesticides in the London area.
May, an Amherstburg company, its president and two employees
were fined $7,000 for applying a banned cosmetic pesticide on
residential property in Windsor and for failing to display the
appropriate warning signs. The ministry received complaints of
banned pesticides being applied to properties located in Windsor
and, as a result, attended the sites and took grass samples. Signs
had been placed at each site stating that "Fiesta" lawn
weed control had been applied to the property (which is approved
for cosmetic use in Ontario) but test results showed the presence
of 2,4-D, a banned cosmetic pesticide. The company and its
president were fined a total of $6,000, plus victim fine surcharge
totalling $1,500, and the employees were each fined $500 plus
victim fine surcharges of $115.
April, a St. Catherines couple were fined $7,000 plus victim
fine surcharges of $1,750 for illegally applying a pesticide at
their pick-your-own blueberry farm. The Canadian Food Inspection
Agency conducted an inspection at the farm. At the time, there were
members of the public picking blueberries. The officer who attended
the site determined that the pesticide Guthion had been applied to
the blueberries, and that Guthion is not registered for use on
blueberries, but only applied to raspberries, cranberries and
News of a MOE drive-around looking for pesticide violations in
London may indicate that MOE is focusing on such violations more,
but seven violations over a summer is not much. Let's hope that
is because enforcement isn't needed, and the cosmetic pesticide
ban is doing it's job to keep our children a little safer and
our water cleaner. Studies will tell.
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