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The Proposed Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act

Archived Backgrounder

The Proposed Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act

The Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act would, if passed, amend the Pesticides Act and give the province the authority to:

  • Ban the use and sale of pesticides, which include herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, for cosmetic purposes
  • Make exceptions for agriculture, forestry, health or safety, and golf courses, with conditions
  • Supercede existing municipal cosmetic pesticides by-laws.

The proposed ban is part of the McGuinty government's toxic reduction strategy to reduce pollution and protect families from toxic chemicals.

If the legislation is enacted, pesticide products and active ingredients that would be subject to the sale and use bans will be determined in consultation with Ontarians and detailed in a regulation. A preliminary list of pesticides has been developed to promote discussion about the types of pesticides that could be prescribed for the sale and the use bans. It is available at www.ontario.ca/pesticides. The regulation would also:

  • Define the exceptions that will be made for agriculture and forestry
  • Prescribe other excepted uses (for health or safety issues, for example)
  • Outline the conditions which would allow golf courses to continue pesticide use.

Exceptions are proposed for the agriculture and forestry sectors to protect and enhance food production and our forests, plus there are already strict rules on their use and storage.

Reducing unnecessary risk to children

Children's smaller size and greater exploratory behaviour make them more likely to come into direct contact with pesticide residues in the environment, and once exposed, they are generally more susceptible to the potential toxic effects of pesticides because of their immature stage of development.

Many studies have identified pesticides and other chemicals in human tissues and fluids, including those of infants. The proposed legislation takes a prudent approach to reduce potential risk, especially to the most vulnerable members of society, from the cosmetic use of pesticides.

One set of rules for the province

The province's proposal to overrule existing municipal cosmetic pesticides by-laws is to ensure all Ontarians are protected regardless of where they live.

The proposed legislation also goes beyond the 'use' to include the sale of cosmetic pesticides, and provides a level of consistency and regulatory certainty for residents and for businesses operating in different areas of the province.

Current pesticides legislation

All pesticides imported into, sold or used in Canada are regulated nationally under the federal Pest Control Products Act.

The Ontario Pesticides Act and Regulation 914 provide the province's regulatory framework for pesticide management. The Ministry of the Environment, through this legislation, regulates the sale, use, transportation, storage and disposal of pesticides. It issues pesticide applicator, operator and vendor licenses, monitors compliance and enforces the regulation. Mainly through outreach and education, as well as training, the ministry provides direction on the responsible use of pesticides and encourages and promotes reduced reliance on pesticides.

The province's toxic reduction strategy

The Ontario government is committed to developing a comprehensive toxic reduction strategy, the legislation to support it and to ensuring that the public is kept informed of health and environmental hazards.

It will work with Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Medical Association to identify, target and reduce the number of cancer-causing agents released in the environment; and work to support the development and installation of new technologies to reduce industry reliance on toxic chemicals.

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