Ontario proposes sweeping pesticides ban

Ontario’s Liberal government is proposing new legislation that, if enacted, would ban the use and sale of pesticides for cosmetic purposes. The “Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act” would make exceptions for agriculture, forestry and golf courses, and for public health or safety issues. The legislation would supersede existing municipal pesticide by-laws, which have become a patchwork of different policies.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed legislation. Interested individuals can do so by going to the Environmental Registry (#010-3348).

Sari Merson of Pesticide Free Ontario — a coalition of citizens’ groups supporting the elimination of urban pesticides — called for a province-wide ban on cosmetic pesticides, along with health and environmental organizations such as the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Environmental Law Association, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Ontario College of Family Physicians, Ontario Public Health Association, Organic Landscape Alliance, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario and Toronto Public Health.

The government has not yet determined which products and/or active ingredients will be included in the ban. If the ban is enacted (and come into effect next spring), the list of pesticides/ingredients that would be banned will be determined by the ministry in consultation with Ontarians, and detailed in draft amendments to Regulation 914. The amendments would:

List which products would be included in the ban (draft products and ingredients lists are available for discussion);

Define the exceptions that would be made for agriculture and forestry;

Prescribe other excepted uses (for health or safety issues, for example);

Set out the prescribed conditions for a golf course to be excepted.

Pesticides would still be used for health and safety, such as controlling mosquitoes, which can carry diseases like West Nile Virus.

Over 44 per cent of Ontarians already live in a municipality where the cosmetic use of pesticides is banned.


John Steele, Ministry of the Environment, 416-314-6666.

Have your say

We won't publish or share your data