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Daily News Archive
From March 14, 2002

Canada's Largest Food Retail Chain Pledges to Stop Selling Chemical Pesticides

Loblaw, the largest food distributor in Canada, pledged early this week that it will discontinue selling toxic pesticides by 2003. A Loblaw spokesperson told the Environmental News Service that the decision to replace chemical pesticides with "organic alternatives" at their 440 garden centers was made "in response to overwhelming consumer demand to eliminate cosmetic use of pesticides in home gardens." The announcement was made at Canada Blooms, a major flower and garden show and coincides with many municipalities across Ontario looking at by-laws to restrict pesticide use on private property.

"When a company as large as Loblaws feels comfortable clearing its garden center shelves of lawn pesticides, this indicates the strength of public demand for alternatives" says Janet May, spokesperson for Pesticide Free
Ontario. "One recent public opinion poll showed that 97% of Ontario residents would stop using pesticides if alternatives were available."

"Loblaws are letting the public, the lawn care industry and municipalities know that pesticides are not necessary to maintain lawns and gardens," says Susan Koswan, spokesperson for the Canadian organization Getting Rid of Urban Pesticides (GROUP), a Canadian organization that has educated residents of Waterloo Region about alternatives to lawn pesticides for over 6 years.

On June 28, 2001, the Canadian Supreme court ruled in favor of residential pesticide bans. According to Reuters, the court disagreed with the lawn-care companies, and announced in a unanimous decision that "our common future, that of every Canadian community, depends on a healthy environment." The court also noted that local municipalities are closest to the everyday lives of citizens and most responsive to their needs. "Based on the distinction between essential and nonessential uses of pesticides, it is reasonable to conclude that the town bylaw's purpose is to minimize the use of allegedly harmful pesticides in order to promote the health of its inhabitants," the court said.

Pesticide Free Ontario is a network of Ontario groups working to eliminate the unnecessary use of pesticides.
For more information, contact Janet May at (416) 596-0660 or see www.pesticidefree.ca.