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Québec Adopts the Highest Standards in North America to Decrease Exposure to Pesticides
(from March 25, 2003)

Earlier this month Mr. André Boisclair, Minister of State for Municipal Affairs, Greater Montréal, Environment and Water announced the adoption of a new Pesticide Management Code to strictly regulate the storage, sales and use of pesticides in Québec. The Code will link the minimal and prudent use of these products with the protection of citizens' health and the environment.

This bold regulation, one of the most innovative in North America, is the outcome of wide-scale consultation. Its aim is to ensure that permit or certificate holders make cautious and measured use of pesticides. The environmental management approach that it advocates would limit the non-essential use of pesticides to the bare essentials in matters of lawn maintenance, with public, semi-public and municipal property particularly in mind. Day care centers, elementary and secondary schools shall also be as free as possible from pesticides.

It should be noted that the Pesticide Management Code results from recommendations made in the report submitted in March 2002 by the Groupe de réflexion sur les pesticides en milieu urbain, whose mandate was to identify possible solutions that would enable Quebecers to reduce their dependence on these products. This regulation was the focus of a public consultation that took place from July 3 to September 3, 2002. At the consultation, over 71 individuals, groups and organizations presented their opinions and suggestions to the Minister of the Environment, and 134 letters of support were sent to him.

Highlights of the Pesticide Management Code

Pesticide Use Rules:

  • It is prohibited to use the most toxic pesticides on the lawns of public, semi-public and municipal green spaces, except for golf courses;
  • It is prohibited to use the most toxic pesticides on the lawns of private and commercial green spaces, three years after the introduction of the code;
  • Due to the continuing uncertainty about their harmfulness, herbicides made up of active ingredients 2,4-D, MCPA and mecoprop will continue to be prohibited for precautionary reasons until the availability of the products' revaluation results by recognized organizations;
  • It is prohibited to use almost all pesticides inside and outside child care centers and elementary and secondary schools, and specific rules must be observed when using authorized pesticides;
  • It is prohibited to use certain aerosols indoors;
  • Minimal distances must be observed when using pesticides or when preparing pesticide mixtures near bodies of water, streams or rivers and water intakes, for all types of equipment used;
  • Specified distances from watercourses and inhabited areas will also have to be observed in the case of equipment causing significant aerial drift (in orchards for example), during aerial spraying and when pesticides are used in high-traffic vehicle, train or energy corridors;
  • Golf courses are required to submit triennial plans for the reduced use of pesticides to the Ministère de l'Environnement, three years after the code's introduction;
  • Application of information modalities for the public and the Ministère de l'Environnement when certain pesticides are used in forests and high-traffic vehicle, train or energy corridors;
  • Bill posting and pesticide warnings when pesticides are used in urban areas and on golf courses;
  • Specific rules apply during fumigation (aeration, schedule, posting of warnings);
  • Specific rules apply for aerial spraying (for example: marking the location);
  • Ground applications of pesticides to reduce adult biting insects is prohibited.

    Sale Rules
  • It is prohibited to sell fertilizer-pesticide mixtures and mixed packages (e.g. herbicide and insecticide), one year after the code's introduction;
  • It is prohibited to display products intended for domestic use in a way which makes these products accessible to the public, two years after the code's introduction;
  • It is prohibited to sell certain pesticides intended for domestic use three years after the code's introduction.

"The Government of Québec is once again breaking new ground with this avant-garde regulation which aims to provide citizens with a clean environment. For the well-being of future generations, I invite municipalities, businesses and individual Quebecers to contribute the new direction proposed in the Pesticide Management Code. The Code's adoption represents a significant investment in the health of Quebecers," concluded the Minister.

Beyond Pesticides commends the Government of Québec for adopting proactive legislation to protect the health of its citizens.

Information regarding the Pesticide Management Code and the Regulation Adjustments to the Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides is available at the following address:
http://www.menv.gouv.qc.ca/pesticides/permis-en/code-gestion-en/index.htm

For a list of ingredients which will be prohibited for lawn maintenance purposes and a list of active ingredients which will be allowed inside and outside childcare centers as well as elementary and secondary school visit the following address:
http://www.menv.gouv.qc.ca/communiques_en/c20030305-pesticides.htm

Sources: Martin Lévesque, Press officer, Office of the Minister of State for Municipal Affairs and Greater Montréal, the Environment and Water. Phone: (418) 521-3911 Louise Barrette, Communications Department, Ministère de l'Environnement.
Phone: (418) 521-3823, ext. 4163