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January 5, 2004
Ont Superior Court upholds Toronto's pesticide use bylaw
TORONTO, ONT-The Ontario Superior Court recently upheld the city of Toronto's pesticide bylaw. Passed by city council in May 2003, the bylaw restricts pesticide use on private property. Croplife Canada, an industry group representing pesticide manufacturers and distributors, challenged the city's legal authority to pass the bylaw. In dismissing the challenge last month, the court recognized that municipal governments have the authority to pass bylaws protecting the health, safety and well-being of residents. "Toronto residents have told us they want this bylaw. The court has clearly indicated that the legal framework is solid, and now it's time for industry groups to support our efforts to reduce pesticide use in Toronto," said councillor Joe Mihevc. The Toronto bylaw permits the use of pesticides to reduce health hazards such as wasps and West Nile virus, and it allows use of certain products known to pose little or no health or environmental risks. The bylaw will be implemented in phases, beginning in April 2004. Several other municipalities across Ontario have similar bylaws, including Caledon, Perth, and Thorold. Halifax and about 40 municipalities in Quebec also have bylaws restricting pesticide use. The court ruling also directed Croplife Canada to pay court costs to the City.