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Pesticides Ban

What is the Pesticides Ban?

  • Since April 22, 2009, there has been a provincial ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides.
  • Under new regulation in the Pesticides Act, over 80 pesticide ingredients and 250 pesticide products can no longer be sold by retailers or used by homeowners in Ontario.

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What does the Pesticides Bans mean?

  • In Ontario, highly toxic and persistent pesticides can not be used to control pests and weeds on:
    • lawns
    • gardens
    • patios
    • cemeteries
    • parks
    • school yards
  • The provincial cosmetic pesticides ban overrides all existing municipal pesticide by-laws. It provides one set of rules across the province to reduce pesticide exposures to people and the environment.
  • The requirements of the ban are detailed in Ontario Regulation 63/09 made under the Pesticides Act, which has been amended by the Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act, 2008.

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What is meant by “cosmetic use”?

  • "Cosmetic" refers to pesticides used for nonessential or aesthetic (visually pleasing) purposes.
  • It is associated with the use of lawn care and garden products.

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What pesticides are permitted?

  • The Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) has issued a new classification system as the basis for regulating the sale and use of pesticides, licensing vendors, and issuing permits.
  • Pesticides have been grouped into 11 classes in Ontario Regulation 63/09. These can be found on the Ministry of the Environment’s website External Link.
  • Under the ban, residents can still buy certain types of pesticides for use around the home.
    • To control wasps or mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile Virus.
    • To kill plants that are poisonous to the touch, such as poison ivy.
    • To control pests that cause structural damage to the home.
    • To protect health (e.g. control of fleas, ticks, bedbugs).
  • For home garden and lawn care, residents can buy pesticides certified for use in Canada. This includes biopesticides and lower risk pesticides to manage:
    • Weeds
    • Insects
    • Plant diseases
  • These pesticides must be used according to their label.

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Are there exemptions to the ban?

The ban does not apply to the following uses:

  • Public health or safety
  • Natural resources
  • Golf courses
  • Sports fields
  • Specialty turfs
  • Trees
  • Public work
  • Forestry 
  • Agriculture
  • Scientific purposes

For industry-specific fact sheets, visit External Link and click on
"What You Need to Know."

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Do I need to post a sign if I apply pesticides to my lawn?

  • No. Homeowners do NOT have to post a sign.
  • Licensed exterminators are required to post a notice sign.

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How do I dispose of Pesticides safely?

  • You can take them to your local municipal hazardous or special waste collection sites for proper disposal.
  • Do not pour them down the drain.  Leftover pesticides should never be disposed of in a manner that would harm public health or the environment.

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How will the ban be enforced?

  • The Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) will enforce compliance upon receiving a report of suspected non-compliance.
  • Enforcement efforts will focus on education, followed by ticketing, fines or court action with subsequent warnings.
  • A report of suspected non-compliance should be directed to:
    • your local MOE district office (during business hours) OR
    • the Ministry’s Pollution Hotline at 1-866-MOE-TIPS (1-866-663-8477)

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How can I grow and maintain a healthy lawn without using pesticides?

Keep your lawn healthy by using the following good maintenance practices:

  • Mow high to promote growth, prevent weeds and discourage insect pests.
  • Water deeply and infrequently to promote deep roots.
  • Feed your lawn with compost and leave grass clippings where they fall.
  • Aerate in the fall season.
  • Overseed in the spring or fall season.
  • Replace grass with paving stones or use mulch in heavy traffic areas.
  • Fertilize with slow release fertilizer if necessary.
  • Check the lawn regularly.
  • Discover that healthy lawns are less susceptible to pest problems.
  • Enjoy! A healthy, pesticide-free lawn is a great place to relax.

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Where can I find more information?

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