Pesticide ban law introduced in Manitoba

Despite protests from farmers, the crop science industry and lawn care companies, the Manitoba government has introduced legislation to ban pesticide use on lawns, school grounds and playing fields.

Manitoba conservation minister Gord Mackintosh announced Tuesday the province will ban synthetic chemical lawn pesticides beginning January 2015. Homeowners will have one year to comply with the legislation, which will take full effect in 2016.

“Manitoba families want their children to be safe everywhere they play.  This new legislation will ensure it does not matter where they are — at school, home or at daycare — they will be able to play on the grass that is free from potentially harmful chemical pesticides,” Mackintosh said in a statement.

The legislation will allow property owners to use pesticides on their lawn, but only provincially approved bio-pesticides.

The regulations do not apply to farms and forestry operations. The province said there would also be exemptions for certain practices and conditions:

•    Gardens

•    Golf courses

•    To control noxious weeds and poisonous or invasive plants

“Science has shown that people exposed to pesticides are at a greater risk for cancer and neurological illness, and the province of Manitoba should be congratulated for taking this step,” said Dr. Debbie Pollock, a Winnipeg family physician and mother, in a statement.  “This will help reduce the number of toxic chemicals in our ecosystem and lead the way for broader pesticide bans across Western Canada.”

Keystone Agricultural Producers, Manitoba Beef Producers and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association have criticized such claims, noting the science is inconclusive and the rhetoric around this issue is inflammatory.

“The perception created by misguided regulatory controls of pesticides … undermines all uses of these products and creates false doubts about the quality and safety of food produced using crop protection products,” KAP said in a letter to the province.

“Farmers support and practice the responsible use of crop protection products to prevent weeds or infestations and they shouldn’t have to deal with problems arising due to neighbours who allow weeds … to grow and spread.”

Manitoba Beef Producers made a similar argument in its written submission to the province.

“MPB has concerns regarding the artificial distinction being made between so called cosmetic use of pesticides and agricultural use,” MBP said “We do not believe that products can be considered safe in one environment and toxic in another. It is our view that this distinction between different uses of products sends an unfortunate (and ultimately dangerous) mixed message to the public at large.”

Weed scientists have also questioned the value of the Manitoba ban, noting the distinction between bio-pesticides and pesticides is unclear. Further, certain bio-herbicides are only effective at concentrations much higher than conventional herbicides.

While farm groups and weed scientists question the science supporting the ban, one of Canada’s most famous children’s entertainers endorsed Manitoba’s decision.

Congratulations Manitoba for your new pesticide ban,” Raffi said in a statement. “Your children and families will thank you for this, for generations to come.”

Once the legislation is implemented, Manitoba will join six other provinces that have regulations restricting cosmetic pesticide use.

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  • dee

    I would like to propose legislation restricting the use of stupid politicians and bureaucrats. Any support out there?

  • Edward

    The MBP are correct. It does send a mixed message. Due to the rapid increases in cancer rates through out the population directly associated with pesticides they should all be ban. Third world nations cancer rates are now going up at the same rate as North American rates did approximately 20 years earlier as their pesticide usage rates are catching up. The cancer rate increases are a near direct overlay, just later. Seems pretty conclusive as many scientists have stated. The chemicals simply have to go and some governments are recognizing this. Good for Manitoba.

    • But this Manitoba government has not as YET,(after 18 years) recognized the fact that arsenic is a deadly poison! For they allow (permit) the water treatment plant at Virden, to dispose of captured arsenic, taken out of Virden’s water source, back into a creek that flows into the Assiniboine river and onward to all points heading towards Winnipeg. How about that for a mixed message on health concerns.
      What say you, physicians and mothers, lets hear you.

  • wfk

    People are so easy to fool. If this was true farmer’s and they’re children would be dying in droves. It’s time to actually think things through.

  • Edward

    The science does show that is the case. Cancer rates are much higher in populations exposed to them. There is a Skull and Crossbones on these containers for a good reason. Rubber gloves, masks and do not touch or ingest and all the poison control centre info etc. on the box. To suggest that these products are safe is without any merit at all. You got to embrace the science man!

  • As stated,there are many risks that science has shown to be harmful to humans and animals. What I cannot come to grips with in this situation,.. is.. Golf courses are exempt! People, children, of all sizes, including animals, pets, and what have you, are often seen on these grounds.
    No Problem? Are they somehow not exposed to the same risks and dangers that are a threat on our lawns? Nice to have the “green” on golf courses, I agree, but there’s a smell of hypocrisy here, don’t you think?


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