B.C. cosmetic pesticides ban rejected by committee

VICTORIA – Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett has tabled the all-party Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides

VICTORIA – Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett has tabled the all-party Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides report after a nearly year-long consultation and engagement process to examine and make recommendations about the use and sale of pesticides, including those used solely for cosmetic purposes.

In releasing its report, the Committee made 17 recommendations including restricting the sale and use of Commercial-class pesticides, enhancing the enforcement of existing regulations, strengthening public education, and training related to the use of pesticides. Recommendations were also directed towards retail regulations, the golf industry, and the safe disposal of unwanted pesticides.

“In making our conclusions and recommendations, we received thousands of submissions from British Columbians and our committee was briefed by stakeholders, environmental groups and experts, including scientists from Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency,” said Bennett. “Based on the evidence that was presented to us, the Committee agreed that further restrictions over the sale and use of pesticides in B.C. are warranted – and this is reflected in our 17 recommendations.”

After listening to presentations from subject experts and studying the evidence presented, a majority of the Committee concluded that there is currently insufficient scientific evidence to warrant a province-wide ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides.

“The majority of the Committee concluded that we could not justify second guessing the 350 scientists who work at Health Canada,” said Bennett. “There simply is not enough evidence that justifies an outright ban on cosmetic pesticide use. We are not prepared to tell homeowners that they cannot purchase federally-approved Domestic-class pesticides or hire a qualified contractor to apply these federally-approved weed and bug control products to their lawn.”

The Committee was first appointed in June 2011 and was given the task of examining the scope of a possible ban on the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides.

In seeking input from British Columbians, environmental organizations, regulators and industry organizations, the Committee received initial briefings from Health Canada and the BC Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, listened to presentations from 27 invited stakeholders, and hosted a two-month long e-consultation process.

More than 8,600 individuals and groups participated in the e-consultation process, resulting in the most submissions a B.C. parliamentary committee has ever received. These included responses through an online questionnaire and written or video submissions.

“I want to thank the thousands of British Columbians who took the time to make their thoughts known, those who made presentations, and my fellow MLAs who served on our committee. On a personal note, I would like to thank Premier Christy Clark and her cabinet for letting our committee get on with the job of studying this subject and making recommendations unencumbered and on our own volition.”

The Committee was the first all-party parliamentary working group in Canada to investigate the cosmetic use of pesticides and BC is the first province to make such a strong commitment to understanding pesticide regulation and the work and role of Health Canada.

The Committee’s report can be found here: www.leg.bc.ca/pesticidescommittee.