November 21, 2005

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses industry challenge to Toronto's pesticide bylaw

OTTAWA, ONT-The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed a challenge to a Toronto bylaw restricting the use of pesticides. CropLife Canada, a trade association whose members include pesticide producers, had sought to appeal a unanimous Ontario Court of Appeal decision upholding the city's authority to adopt a bylaw restricting pesticide use. The Supreme Court denied CropLife's application for leave to appeal, ending legal challenges to the by-law. "The courts have consistently supported the right of municipalities to pass laws protecting the health and safety of residents. The Supreme Court's decision refusing to hear the appeal has affirmed the City's program to minimize the non-essential use of pesticides," Dr David McKeown, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, commented. Toronto began phasing in its enforcement of the bylaw this year. Warnings will be issued to commercial pesticide applicators and commercial property owners for first-time non-compliance. For subsequent violations, a ticket or summons may be issued. Homeowners and renters may be fined for non-compliance starting in September 2007. As reinforcement, Toronto Public Health's "Go Natural" education campaign, launched last spring, offers tips for pesticide-free lawn and garden care. The campaign continued this fall and will be promoted again in the spring of 2006.

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