Seven towns in Canada band to weed out pesticides

Montreal Gazette
by Michelle Lalonde
June 17, 2002

Seven towns north of Laval have pledged to act together to outlaw unnecessary pesticide use on private and public land within their borders.

Since the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the right of the town of Hudson, just west of Montreal, to ban pesticides last June, many Quebec municipalities have moved to pass new anti-pesticide bylaws. But this is the first time municipalities have come together to harmonize bylaws in an effort to create a no-pesticide, or at least low-pesticide, zone.

"We are sending an important message to the industry and to government that this is an irreversible movement and it's not going to stop here," said Yvan Deschênes, mayor of Rosemère and chairman of the regional county municipality of Thérèse-De Blainville. The municipalities of Blainville, Boisbriand, Bois-des-Filion, Lorraine, Rosemère, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines and Sainte-Thérèse, which together form the regional county municipality of Thérèse-De Blainville, are preparing to pass strict bylaws on pesticide use that will come into effect next January.

$4,000 Fines

First, the towns will pass bylaws that outlaw pesticide spraying by lawncare companies unless the landowner can prove there is an infestation problem.

In that case, a permit will have to be approved by the city and strict guidelines followed. Fines for defying the bylaws will go as high as $4,000.

By January 2005, private landowners will be subject to fines if they themselves are caught using pesticides on their property. Golf-course owners will be given until 2005 to comply with the ban, but in the meantime, they must create a buffer zone between the course and residential areas, where pesticides cannot be applied. In the meantime, the towns have launched a public-education campaign to raise awareness about the health impact of pesticides, their proper use and organic or safe alternatives.

City workers are being trained on weed and pest management without chemicals.

Deschênes said the towns plan to pressure Ottawa to move faster to license safer lawncare products and outlaw pesticides for cosmetic use. Deschênes said the seven towns will pass resolutions over the next few weeks encouraging the provincial government to outlaw the casual sale of chemical pesticides.

- Michelle Lalonde's E-mail address is
© Copyright  2002 Montreal Gazette

For the text of the Supreme Court Decision on the Hudson, Quebec by-law (June, 2001) Click here

Pesticide Free Ontario website
Beyond Pesticides - Lawns and Landscapes
Land Management - Under Attack

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