CBC In Depth
INDEPTH: PESTICIDES
Pesticide timeline
CBC News Online | Updated May 21, 2004

1969
Canada's Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) is passed.

1987
Law reform commission recommends 23 improvements to the pesticide law.

1991
Town of Hudson, Qu�bec, adopts bylaw 270, which restricts the use of pesticides.

1992
Two lawn pesticide companies, Chemlawn and Spraytech, are fined $300 for spraying pesticides in Hudson. The companies challenge the municipality "to forbid an activity legally authorized by a federal or provincial law". Hudson wins the case in the Qu�bec court.

The companies appeal the decision in the Qu�bec Superior Court and lose.

They take their fight to the Supreme Court of Canada and are granted a leave to appeal in November 1999.

1995
Health Canada takes over the responsibility for pesticides from Agriculture Canada.

1996
The United States passes substantial reforms to pesticide regulation in its food quality protection act.

1997
Canadian pesticide manufacturers are required to cover the costs of pesticide registrations.

2000
House of Commons environment committee recommends an overhaul of the PCPA.

Halifax moves to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides on lawns and gardens. The ban will apply to spraying within 50 metres of schools, hospitals and the homes of people with medically proven sensitivities. The ban will be in full effect by April 2003.

2001
The Supreme Court of Canada upholds Hudson's 1991 pesticide bylaws.

"It is reasonable to conclude that the town bylaw's purpose is to minimize the use of allegedly harmful pesticides in order to promote the health of its inhabitants," Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dub� writes.

"Permitting the town to regulate pesticide use is consistent with international law's 'precautionary principle,' which states it is better to be overly cautious than to create a potential risk to the environment." At the time of the lawsuit, there are at least 37 Qu�bec municipalities with bylaws restricting pesticides.

The judges note that Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Northwest Territories and Yukon all have similar provisions enabling their municipalities to make such bylaws.

March 2002
Federal Health Minister Anne McLellan announces plans to overhaul the PCPA. But says she can't ban the cosmetic use of pesticides on lawns and parks because the federal government has no jurisdiction to ban the use of pesticides once they've been approved for the market.

The bill proposes a review of chemicals, some of which haven't been examined since they were approved 30 years ago. A registry would be set up so that Canadians could look at the ingredients of all registered pesticides being sprayed, as well as how dangerous they're considered to be.

Scientific assessments of pesticides will include how they may affect children and pregnant women.

In the same month, the town of Shediac, N.B., passes a bylaw banning the cosmetic use of pesticides on lawns and gardens. Farmers are excluded.

July 2002
The city of Cobalt passes a bylaw banning the non-essential use of pesticides on all properties. It's the first city in Ontario to enact a bylaw restricting the use of pesticides. The bylaw is implemented November 1, 2002.

The Qu�bec government moves to ban the use of many pesticides over the next three years. Environment Minister Andre Boisclair calls the new regulations some of the toughest in North America. Chemicals, such as 2-4-D and arsenic will be banned from all public space, as well as private and commercial lawns.

August 2002
Winnipeg starts considering a ban on certain types of lawn chemicals.

September 2002
Vancouver rejects a pesticide ban. Instead Vancouver city council plans a public education campaign to promote pesticide alternatives.

April 2003
Second stage of Halifax's pesticide bylaw came into effect. It's now illegal to use pesticides on lawns and gardens. A total of 18 lawn-care products are exempted from the list, including lime sulphur, horticultural oils, flypaper and biological organisms, such as ladybugs and nematodes.

May 2003
Toronto, Canada's largest city, adopts a bylaw that would restrict the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes on public and private property.

May 20, 2004
Toronto city council upholds its ban on pesticides on private property, but gives homeonwers three years' grace before it begins enforcement.

According to the Canadian Coalition for Health and Environment about 60 Canadian cities have enacted partial or full bans on cosmetic lawn pesticides. These include cities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia and about 50 cities in Qu�bec.


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