Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Action Alert: Support a ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides in Ontario - Two Quick Actions

Deadline: Feb. 17, 2008


The Ontario government is working on legislation to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides, and has promised to present this legislation in the spring of 2008. There is tremendous momentum behind this province-wide move:

  • Many Ontario municipalities already have pesticide bylaws protecting over 5 million residents, including Toronto, Hamilton, London, Markham, Oakville, St. Catharines, Kingston, Guelph, Peterborough and Newmarket.
  • Regulation of pesticides is very popular (support runs consistently above 70 percent across the province for pesticide bylaws and legislation).
  • An impressive coalition of 15 respected health and environment organizations (including RNAO) has come together to with a unified position for strong pesticide legislation. This coalition has been meeting with government on the issue.
  • The media attention has been intense. RNAO alone received two dozen media hits for its role in a January 15 coalition media conference on the Ontario pesticide campaign.
  • The evidence on the risks of pesticides strongly supports a precautionary approach.

RNAO has been formally committed to supporting a ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides since 2000, when a resolution was unanimously passed at the 2000 RNAO AGM. RNAO and its members have worked with community partners in municipal pesticide bylaw campaigns since that time with great success. In the past 18 months, RNAO has joined with many health and environment organizations to take the campaign to the provincial level, and the provincial government has responded.

Action Requested

We are asking you to tell the Ministry of the Environment that you are an RN, and that you support strong legislation banning the use and sale of pesticides for cosmetic purposes. You can do this by going to the Environmental Registry - Proposal Notice 010-2248. Please note the February 17 deadline. Please consider answering all five posted questions related to the proposed legislation. Here are suggested comments:

  1. Scope of the ban: Support a ban on the use and sale of pesticides for cosmetic purposes, with exemptions solely for public health purposes, as determined by the Medical Officer of Health.
  2. Sale of cosmetic pesticides: Support such a ban on sales as the most effective way of reducing pesticide use, as was the case in Quebec.
  3. Exemptions: Do not exempt rural areas from bans on cosmetic use of pesticides, as rural people require protection just as much as do people in built-up areas. [Forest use and agricultural use seem to be beyond the scope of this proposed legislation, but you could add comments on those uses if you so wished.]
  4. Exemptions for golf courses: If golf courses are exempted, their plans should at a minimum demonstrate real, quantifiable progress in pesticide use. The government should supplement this with targets and restrictions on where and how pesticides may be used, in order to protect the public and the environment.
  5. Timing: The legislation should be passed in 2008 (ideally in late Spring 2008), with full implementation taking place in the government’s current mandate.

This measure to protect public health is very popular, but our voices must be heard in order for it to be successful. Please encourage colleagues and friends to take a few minutes to register their support.