Manitoba lifts cosmetic pesticide ban for lawns and "low risk" areas

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Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government has ditched part of the provincial cosmetic pesticide ban that was implemented in 2014.

Bill 22, passed late Thursday, allows the use of Health Canada-registered pesticides on lawns, boulevards, sidewalks, right-of-ways and fairgrounds.

At the same time, it expands the list of sensitive areas where pesticides cannot be used, which now include schools, hospitals, child-care centres, provincial parks, designated municipal picnic areas, playgrounds and dog parks.

“Our government is committed to protecting the environment and we rely on science to inform the proper use of cosmetic pesticides. We recognize Health Canada as the foremost expert in this field to evaluate pesticides used in Manitoba,” said Environment, Climate and Parks Minister Jeff Wharton, in a provincial government news release marking the bill’s passage.

The Association of Manitoba Municipalities is welcoming the amendments to the pesticide legislation that was passed by the New Democrat government in 2014.

“These legislative changes will allow municipalities to effectively manage weed control programs while mitigating financial pressures on municipal budgets,” noted Kam Blight, AMM president.

“Our greenspaces contribute to our quality of life and produce enormous environmental benefits, but are continually threatened by extreme climate conditions and invasive species,” added Chad Labbe, president of the Manitoba Nursery Landscape Association. “It is essential as green industry professionals, that we have choices when selecting the best products available to protect these valuable landscapes. The new regulations will encourage innovation and allow more options when deciding how to deal with pests that threaten our landscapes.”

The New Democrat Party, along with the Manitoba College of Family Physicians, Manitoba Health Coalition, Manitoba Lung Association, Manitoba Public Health Association, Learning Disabilities Association of Manitoba, and Winnipeg Humane Society, opposed the legislation.

Keystone Agricultural Producers, Manitoba Beef Producers, and other farm groups opposed the ban when it was implemented, saying it misled the public on the health effects of weed control products approved by Health Canada. They’ve also voiced concern about weeds spreading from residential areas into adjacent farm fields, and the creation of an unregulated market, with residential property owners seeking alternative sources for restricted products.

Past coverage:

Manitoba’s New Government Reassessing Cosmetic Pesticide Ban

Manitoba Moves to Ban Non-Organic Pesticides on Lawns

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