Ontario farmers currently have nothing to fear by the province’s proposed Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act. Or do they?
This legislation, if passed, would amend the province’s Pesticides Act and give it the authority to:
• Ban the use and sale of pesticides, which include herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, for cosmetic purposes.
• Make exceptions for agriculture, forestry, health or safety, and golf courses, with conditions.
• Supercede existing municipal cosmetic pesticides bylaws.
A preliminary list of pesticides has been developed to promote discussion about the types of pesticides that could be prescribed for the sale and the use bans. It is available at www.ontario.ca/pesticides.
My concern is that urban encroachment is putting new pressures on Ontario farmlands. Perhaps those new neighbours might one day want to see controls on pesticide usage extended to agriculture. Could application controls be extended a few years hence to a few hundred metres of residential properties, and what would that mean to a nearby farm operation?
The current legislation certainly excludes agriculture from any form of new controls or regulations. But we must remain on our toes to ensure the agriculture exemption is carried forward indefinitely. If any changes are ever contemplated, the farm community should be thoroughly consulted.
The Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act could very well become a slippery slope of increased controls of pesticide usage, cosmetic and otherwise, in all sectors in the province.
What do you think?