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Ont. wants comment on pesticide ban

Ontario’s provincial government wants public comment on its proposals for a ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides, in which commercial farming uses appear to get a wide berth of exemptions.

The province on Friday posted its draft regulations for comment until Dec. 22, in advance of a final regulation in spring 2009.

The province specified that the public is being asked to comment on:

  • the proposed lists of pesticides (products and ingredients) to be banned for use and banned or restricted for sale;
  • the rules for pesticide use on golf courses; and
  • the exceptions to the ban for public health or safety reasons.

Asking for comment from Ontario residents, Environment Minister John Gerretsen said the new regulation is “tough but workable, and it sends a strong signal to industry about the types of innovative low-risk products we want on Ontario’s store shelves.”

Exceptions include forestry uses; public health or safety uses, such as to control poison ivy or mosquitoes; maintaining safe conditions and emergency access to public infrastructure such as roads and utilities; golf courses and specialty turf such as lawn bowling greens, within new limits; and sports fields hosting national- or international-level events, within limits.

Exception also applies to a “broad range of agricultural operations similar to the definitions in the Nutrient Management Act and the Farming and Food Production Protection Act,” the province said, but that exception “does not apply to household vegetable gardens.”

Agricultural purposes covered under those two acts include cultivating, irrigating or draining land; producing agricultural crops; producing or raising farm animals; producing eggs, cream or milk; operation of farm machinery; processing of agri-foods; manure management; or preservation of germplasm.

But the new regulations don’t make exceptions for “production primarily for consumption by members of the household of the owner or operator of the agricultural operation.”

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