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.

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