Turf & Rec

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Pesticide ban leads to filing of federal charges


March 9, 2010
By Mike Jiggens


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PROCEEDINGS for a “private information” have been filed against Ontario
Minister of the Environment John Gerretsen and his senior staff before
a justice of the peace at Kingston Provincial Court by Jeffrey Lowes,
director of government relations for M-REP Communications.

Lowes filed the charge as a result of reviewing the actions of the Province of Ontario in respect to the 2008 Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act and Ontario Regulations 63/09. The actions allege to have resulted in serious violations of sections of the Federal Pest Control Products Act (2002, c 28).

A private information, whether laid by a private citizen or the police, is commonly termed as a “charge.” It is a sworn allegation, made before a provincial court judge or a justice of the peace, that the informant believes an offence has been committed.

The alleged charge file states: “John Gerretsen, Dale Henry, Geoff Cutten, Wanda Michalowicz, Lorna Poff, Violet vanWassenaer, on or about the 22nd day of April 2009 at the City of Kingston in the said region East and elsewhere in the Province of Ontario did fail to exercise their assigned fiduciary responsibilities by not taking reasonable care to ensure that the Ministry of the Environment complies with the Pest Control Act (2002, c 28) and its regulations and did thereby commit an offence contrary to section 70 subsection 2 of the Pest Control Products Act.

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As Lowes awaits the process hearing to confirm the charge, he is preparing additional charges under the Federal Pest Control Products Act (2002, c 28), the Federal Competition Act (R.S., 1985, c. C-34), and Criminal Code (R.S., 1985, c. C-46). He has stated that if there are sufficent grounds, additional charges will be filed against individuals and environmental activists who have undermined the scientific approach to pesticide regulations.

Other provinces are apt to be closely following these developments since M-REP Communications has been working with the industry across Canada. M-REP has stated the other provinces are undoubtedly aware that the Federal Government had warned Ontario about the province’s regulatory methodology.

Lowes has also previously warned Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, senior staff and the organizations that presented “the false and misleading information—which resulted in the ban—that the industry would exercise every possible legal option.”

It is reported the lawn care industry lost more than $300 million during the 2009 season as a direct result of the ban.

According to a December 2008 economic profile by the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation, Ontario lawn care companies generated $1.26 billion in income in 2007 through the provision of turfgrass maintenance services. The same report lists $577 million spent on equipment, supplies and wages as well as the equivalent of 20,800 year-round, full-time employees.

M-REP Communications is a consulting firm which provides support through a network of companies in North America and the European Union on environmental policy and communications.