ARCHIVED - Cosmetic Pesticide Bans and the Roles of the Three Levels of Government

Cosmetic Pesticide Use

When people say "cosmetic pesticide use," they usually mean applying lawn care pesticides for aesthetic purposes. Some provinces and municipalities have placed restrictions on pesticide use on public and private property (generally referred to as cosmetic pesticide bans).

Federal Responsibilities

Health Canada works to protect Canadians by examining available scientific information on pesticides inside and out to make sure they will not harm human health, future generations or the environment.

Pesticides must be registered before they can be imported, manufactured, sold or used in Canada. Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is responsible for administering the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) on behalf of the Minister of Health. Before they can be registered under the PCPA, pesticides have to go through a thorough scientific evaluation to make sure they are acceptable for a specific use and remain acceptable for use once on the market. A product must also demonstrate value by being effective for its intended purpose.

Health Canada registers only those products that provide effective management of pest problems and that can be used safely when label directions are followed. If Canadians choose to use pesticides, they can only use a pesticide registered by the federal government for the pests and treatment areas listed on the label, and they must use them following all label directions.

Provincial Responsibilities

Under the Constitution Act, provinces and territories can create legislation related to property, civil rights and local interests. This includes enacting regulations, like cosmetic pesticide bans to restrict or prohibit the use of products that are registered under the PCPA in their jurisdictions. Provinces may make more restrictive legislation, but no less restrictive legislation than the federal government.

For example, provinces and territories may:

  • require pesticide use permits and impose additional use restrictions
  • regulate the transportation, sale, use, storage and disposal of pesticides
  • regulate the training, certification and licensing of pesticide applicators and vendors
  • respond to spills or accidents

Municipal Responsibilities

Cities, towns and municipalities may be authorized by provincial/territorial legislation to regulate pesticide use based on local considerations within their jurisdictions. This includes creating restrictions in the form of by-laws.

Need more information?

You may contact your province or municipality to see if there is a cosmetic pesticide ban in your area.

The following documents on the Health Canada Web site provide more information on pesticides and regulations:

Regulating Pesticides and Assessing Risk

Managing Pests Safely and Responsibly

  • Homeowner Guidelines for Using Pesticides: Learn how to use pesticides properly and safely at home and in your garden.
  • Pest Control Tips (Pest Notes): These fact sheets give specific advice on managing and controlling a number of common household and garden pests.
  • Healthy Lawns: More information on starting and maintaining a healthy lawn and dealing with common lawn problems.
  • Report a Pesticide Incident: Learn why and how to report a problem with a pesticide product.
  • Proper Use of Pesticides: More information on a variety of issues related to pesticide use in and around your home.

You may also contact the Health Canada Pest Management Information Service at 1-800-267-6315.

Visit Health Canada's consumer portal for safety information about food, health and consumer products.

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