Turf & Rec

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Ontario is now officially a pesticide-free province

May 12, 2009  By  Mike Jiggens

IT’S official. Ontario’s new cosmetic pesticide ban is underway. Lawn care companies are marching forward even though they’ve been stripped of the tools that have worked so effectively for them for years.

Many of these operators still have a bitter taste in their mouths for the way in which the provincial government handled the process leading to the ban. The lack of science involved in the political process is the particular bone of contention.

The activists have won, but it appears they’re not resting on their laurels. In the days since the ban took effect on April 22, there have been reports of activists harassing lawn care employees, demanding to look inside their trucks for illegal pesticides.


Gideon Forman, the head of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), has boasted in letters to the editor that the ban will be a boon to employment in the lawn care industry, suggesting employers will now need to hire additional personnel to pick the weeds that these “greener” alternative products failed to eradicate. Mr. Forman might have some expertise in the field of medicine, but it would seem he is greatly lacking in his understanding of basic economics.

Where is the money to come from to hire these extra workers? Are we to expect lawn care companies to increase their rates two-and-threefold to pay their wages? It would be business suicide for these lawn care companies to pass the need for additional help onto their customers. As it is, there are undoubtedly plenty of customers wondering if their lawns will ever look the same, knowing the tried, tested and true products of yore are no longer available. Let’s also keep in mind we’re in a recession.


Perhaps the Ontario government should be issuing cheques to lawn care companies to help cover the expense of hiring additional personnel. This same government is prepared to issue cheques to the people of Ontario to help them deal with the coming harmonized sales tax. What’s the difference?

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