Friday 15 March 2013

Below is the Hansard debate on the changes to the Integrated Pest Management Act. The “cosmetic pesticide” amendments to the legislation were given royal assent on March 14 which means it is now law in BC. There is no timeline associated to when the ministry will implement the changes but if the Liberals are elected we will likely see it coming for 2014. The NDP if elected will bring in their own legislation; likley a sweeping ban on pesticides.


Afternoon Sitting
M. Sather: This section is on amendments to the Integrated Pest Management Act and has to do with the regulation and use of pesticides. The minister will be very aware that there was a committee struck to look at the advisability of having a comprehensive ban on cosmetic pesticides in the province. There were widespread consultations before the committee met, and during the period when the committee met there were over 8,000 responses from the public, which is a record for parliamentary committees in this province. The overwhelming majority of those respondents were in favour of a ban on cosmetic pesticides. Can the minister explain why his government, receiving all that feedback from the public, failed to implement a ban, such as seven other provinces in Canada have? 
Hon. T. Lake: I'd like to thank my staff for being here with me on this section of the bill. I have Jim Standen, who's our assistant deputy minister for the environmental protection division, and Daphne Dolhaine, who's the manager of integrated pest management programs. We do appreciate the good work of the committee. It was a very involved process, as the member recognizes, a lot of input — in fact, as he mentions, a record number of responses. The committee also did a lot of work looking at the method now to approve pesticides in Canada through the pest management regulation and found that in fact the method used to evaluate pesticides was based on scientific understanding of the effects of the pesticides, both on people and the environment. Whereas a lot of people had expressed a desire to see a ban on cosmetic pesticides, the committee came to a different conclusion. I think that's the difference between a consultative process and simply asking for a show of hands. This was more than just a show of hands. This was a deep investigation into the systems of approving pesticides in Canada and the way pesticides are used in the province of British Columbia. The conclusion of the committee was that there was in fact a need for more education and more controls on the use of pesticides in  British Columbia. That is why we are here today looking to implement a system whereby pesticides that are used — the vast majority of pesticides that we consider cosmetic use in the homeowner situation — be limited to those who are trained and licensed to use those chemicals. 
M. Sather: Was the Ministry of Environment not aware of the regulatory process with Health Canada? And did they decide that there had been substantial differences, I guess, over a short period of time? Wouldn't the ministry have been aware of how Health Canada regulates pesticides?
Hon. T. Lake: Well, of course the ministry is very well aware. But these sorts of consultation exercises are about information-gathering and also disseminating information and increasing awareness among the general public about the way government works. This was a really good tool, I think, to educate many people about the way pesticides are approved and regulated in Canada. But, certainly, our ministry works very closely with Health Canada and with the agencies that are responsible for regulating pesticides.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Below is the hansard record of NDP MLA Rob Fleming introducing a private members bill to ban cosmetic pesticides in BC. This is the fifth time this bill has been introduced and has falied to pass each time. This bill will likely form the basis for an upcoming ban if the NDP gain power in May. The NDP press release followed shortly after the introduction (below). I would encourage all readers to inform themselves about this issue as it will affect the industry in many ways.  

Thursday March 7 2013
R. Fleming: I am pleased to present this bill today to better protect the health of British Columbians by regulating, restricting and prohibiting the sale and use of pesticides for residential and cosmetic uses that threaten our environment, waterways, children, pets and personal health. Government knows, through years of Ministry of Environment consultations and by a special legislative committee last year, that British Columbians overwhelmingly support adoption of cosmetic pesticide legislation. However, this has not happened — yet. So for a fifth time, New Democrats today introduce legislation to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides.
This bill is consistent with what British Columbians want. It is consistent with legislation in six other provinces, representing nearly 20 million Canadians. And it is consistent with the advice to government from the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Pediatric Society, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the Lung Association, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Parkinson Society and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Mr. Speaker, 39 local governments across B.C., governing 2.8 million citizens, have bylaws to ban the sale of cosmetic pesticides. However, these bylaws remain ineffective because the Community Charter act does not give communities the authority to ban the sale of pesticides. The Union of B.C. Municipalities has repeatedly asked for provincial leadership and a provincewide law. That call has not been heeded. But today this bill will address local governments' longstanding concern.
In protecting young children, this legislation offers the promise, over time, of lowered costs of delivering health care services by reducing chronic disease. This legislation takes important steps to protect human health in our environment. The time for strong legislative action is now.
I ask that this bill be put on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Bill M207, Cosmetic Use of Pesticides Control Act, 2013, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.


New Democrats take practical steps toward banning cosmetic pesticides

March 7th, 2013
VICTORIA— In the legislature Thursday afternoon, New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming re-introduced strong legislation to protect human health, pets and the environment from unnecessary exposure to toxic cosmetic pesticides.
“British Columbians want a ban on cosmetic pesticides,” said Fleming. “Ministry of the Environment survey results from three years ago and submissions to the special legislative committee created by Premier Clark last year show this is overwhelmingly the case. Yet the Liberals continue to ignore the public by failing to enact a real ban on cosmetic pesticides.”
“New Democrats will make the changes parents, physicians, cancer organizations, communities and the Union of BC Municipalities are calling for by taking decisive action on this serious issue.”
Fleming noted that when Premier Clark was running to be leader of the Liberal party two years ago, she said “pesticides are proven to increase the likelihood of childhood cancer and other illnesses, and have no place near our homes. I don’t want to see my son playing on a lawn with toxic pesticides. I don’t want to see anyone’s child playing on a lawn with toxic pesticides.”
But instead of bringing in strong legislation that would end the use of cosmetic pesticides on lawns and other places where children play, the Liberal government put forward weak, unenforceable legislative amendments."These status quo changes leave cosmetic pesticide products readily available on retail store shelves, but supposedly restrict who can apply them. This will create rules that are nearly impossible to enforce," said Fleming. “These changes are confusing and make no sense. Why sell products to people who don’t have a license to use them? It’s like allowing a minor to buy cigarettes at the store if they promise they are for an adult."
At least 39 communities representing 2.8 million people in BC have by-laws to restrict the use of cosmetic pesticides but have no jurisdiction over retail sale. “Local governments were looking to the province for leadership to replace the patchwork of ineffective municipal by-laws. But the Liberals ignored them as well.”
“New Democrats will take practical steps to bring BC in line with six other provinces that already have a cosmetic pesticide ban in place” said Fleming. “The legislation we’ve put forward balances the needs of industrial users of these chemicals while ensuring they are no longer used cosmetically on playgrounds, lawns, parks and the other places where children play.”
The BC Liberals are not up to the challenges that face BC today, and British Columbians deserve better. It's time for a change to a new government with new priorities. BC's New Democrats are offering change for the better, one practical step at a time.