Quebec to ban cosmetic pesticide use

Quebec's new rules will be among the toughest in the country

Quebec has introduced some of the toughest pesticide regulations in the country. As of September, the most harmful pesticides on the market will be banned from provincial and municipally owned property.

But it doesn't stop there. Within three years, the rules will apply to every lawn in the province.

The rules come a little more than a year after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Hudson, Quebec and other municipalities, were within their rights to ban the use of lawn pesticides.

The new rules forbid the use of pesticides near day-care centres, schools and summer camps because children are most vulnerable to the ingredients in pesticides.

The regulation do not affect farmers. Fines for ignoring the law will range between $500 and $30,000.

An association of Quebec lawn care companies says there are too many loopholes in the bill for it to be effective. The association's spokesman, Jean Baillergeon, says the government is creating conditions for a black market in pesticides.

"Do you think people with infestations are willing to let their property values go up in smoke," he said. "No, they'll buy the chemicals on the black market.

The environment minister, Andre Boisclair, admits there will be an economic impact. He says it will cost companies $15 million to stop producing the banned chemicals and to learn how to use new ones.

"That's in the short term. But long term, we have children in good health, we have an environment in good health when we choose sustainable development," Boisclair said. "It's a net gain for Quebec."

Baillergeon says the gain will be miniscule. He points out that 85 per cent of pesticides are sprayed on agricultural land.