Premier Dalton McGuinty will mark Earth Day this morning by announcing a provincewide ban on the sale and use of lawn and garden pesticides.
Keeping a promise made during last fall’s election campaign, McGuinty is replacing municipal restrictions in more than 30 Ontario municipalities, including Toronto, with one single law, which will take effect next spring. The severity of the restrictions vary from municipality to municipality.
The ban would apply to the so-called cosmetic use of pesticides — which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides — now used on private lawns, fruit trees and gardens.
The new legislation would allow for spraying in event of emergencies such as an outbreak of West Nile virus.
However, as McGuinty emphasized last Wednesday in a speech to an agricultural conference at Queen’s Park, farmers need not fear the ban.
“I want to take this opportunity to reassure you that what we’re doing with the cosmetic banning of pesticides will stay in backyards, and not affect your back fields,” he told the annual Premier’s Agri-Foods Summit.
The measures would also not apply to golf courses or managed forests.
During last fall’s campaign — three weeks after Toronto’s pesticide ban took effect Sept. 1 — McGuinty promised Ontario would follow Quebec with new provincial restrictions on the cosmetic use of pesticides.
The final list of outlawed pesticides will be determined by regulation after the province consults on the draft before next spring.