B.C. pesticide regulations to reflect public input

Mike Jiggens
March 08, 2013
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Taking into account more than 8,000 comments from a public consultation as well as recommendations from the bi-partisan Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides, the proposed amendments to the Integrated Pest Management Act in British Columbia will address public concern over the use of cosmetic pesticides on private landscaped lands.

The goal of the legislation is to ensure cosmetic pesticides are being used safely and responsibly. More than 5,000 of the public responses called for at least a restriction on the scope of pesticides used on private landscaped areas. Additionally, the legislature and the majority of members of the special committee called for tighter restrictions on the sale and use of pesticides.

Government has taken both the committee’s report and public input seriously, and this will be reflected in the regulations which will be developed to take a more formal approach.

The special committee recognized IPM as a responsible approach to the use of pesticides. However, the proposed amendments go one step further to ensure pesticides are used responsibly by trained individuals by expanding existing requirements for licensing to including those applying pesticides  to private landscaped areas.

Input from the public submissions and guidance from the committee’s report will help inform the intent of the regulations. Key considerations include:

• Pesticides should be used by licensed people with knowledge and training.

• Allowing the Minister of the Environment the ability to identify specific exemptions from the licensing requirement, including prescribing lists of pesticides which can be used by uncertified individuals. These lists would be similar to exempted lists in other provinces and will likely include pesticides with naturally-occurring active ingredients.

This approach aligns with the conclusion reached by the bi-partisan committee, in particular recommendation 14: “Amend the IPM regulation regarding how pesticides can be used by landscapers for lawn and landscape pest management, to require IPM accreditation for landscaping licencees.”

Those not affected by the amendments include the agriculture industry, forestry industry, golf courses and land used for industrial purposes. Municipalities and First Nations with law-making authority will also be able to opt out of the licensing requirements if they so choose.

Enabling by design, government will take the necessary time needed to develop the supporting regulations and will consult with industry to work out the fine details. The proposed model is intended to achieve the objectives of reducing unnecessary use of pesticides in the most cost-effective manner.

The Special Committee on Costmetic Pesticides was created to inquire into and make recommendations with respect to the elimination of unnecessary use of pesticides in British Columbia and to conduct consultations with the public and key stakeholders. The committee released its report on May 17, 2012, concluding that regulations restricting the use of cosmetic pesticides should be tightened but not banned outright.

The report can be accessed at: http://www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/39thparl/session-4/cp/reports/PDF/Rpt-CP-39-4-Report-2012-MAY-17.pdf.

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