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Ontario groups says Premier McGuinty should heed concerns raised by Canada’s Auditor General


February 12, 2009
By CNW Group Ltd.

Feb. 12, 2009 – Agricultural and landscaping groups that have been encouraging the Ontario government to take a second look at proposed regulations to ban urban pesticide use are hopeful Premier Dalton McGuinty will take note of concerns raised by Canada's Auditor General and take steps to protect the province from preventable economic and environmental losses.

Agricultural and landscaping groups that have been encouraging the Ontario government to take a second look at proposed regulations to ban urban pesticide use are hopeful Premier Dalton McGuinty will take note of concerns raised by Canada's Auditor General and take steps to protect the province from preventable economic and environmental losses.

"Canada's Auditor General has identified that Canada could suffer significantly if invasive pests are not properly controlled. Ontario farmers know that pest control is an important element of economic success for our sector and we are hoping that Premier McGuinty will finally see the validity of the concerns we are raising," said Bette Jean Crews, president of Ontario Federation of Agriculture. "The proposed regulations are not science-based and will discourage innovation, jeopardizing farmers' ability to continue to produce a safe and affordable supply of healthy foods."

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"The Ontario government says they have addressed concerns about invasive species in their legislation, but they haven't. These arbitrary regulations create an environment of uncertainty and make it unlikely that Canada will be seen as a place to invest as newer and more effective pest control products are made available in other countries," said Pierre Petelle, director of regulatory affairs at CropLife Canada.

"The proposed regulations put Ontario farms at an increased risk of pest infestations from non-agricultural land and at the same time send a negative message to the public about the adequacy of the federal regulatory system," said Richard Blyleven, a farmer and chair of Agricultural Groups Concerned about Resources and the Environment (AGCare). "If farmers are going to successfully meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population, we need access to every tool in the toolbox. That includes today's safe and effective crop protection products."

"If the pesticide regulations go through as they are, Ontarians will soon notice the difficulty of keeping their lawns and gardens free of insects and weeds," said Tony DiGiovanni, executive director of Landscape Ontario. "There will also be thousands of trained, licensed professionals whose livelihoods will be affected in very serious ways."

The four associations represent more than 40, 000 Ontario farm families, 20, 000 lawn care professionals and nursery operations in Ontario, and the manufacturers, developers and distributors of Canada's $1.4 billion pest control products industry.


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