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May 6, 2004
For immediate release

Minister Releases Report on the Regulation of Pesticides

Environment & Energy

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Minister of Environment and Energy Jamie Ballem released a report on the regulation of pesticides and announced the process for implementation Thursday.

The report, entitled Recommendations for the Regulation of Pesticides in Prince Edward Island, was completed by the Environmental Advisory Council which is appointed under the Environmental Protection Act to advise the Minister on issues of environmental concern. In releasing the report, Minister Ballem recognized the council for its work. The subcommittee which carried out the consultations was co-chaired by Sherra Profit, a Summerside lawyer, and potato producer Elmer MacDonald of Augustine Cove. Other members were Stan Campbell, president of the Federation of Prince Edward Island Municipalities, and retired teacher Rudy Croken of Kensington.

During the consultation process, they met with groups with an interest in the issue of pesticide use and regulation including product vendors, licensed applicators, representatives of the agriculture, fisheries and tourism industries, municipalities, and environment and public health groups. As well, the committee held four public meetings and received written submissions.

“It is clear from the report that committee members dedicated considerable time and effort in researching pesticide-related issues and hearing from Islanders on this important topic,” said Minister Ballem. “They have given me a comprehensive report that contains recommendations on all aspects of pesticides in Prince Edward Island. This will provide the foundation to make sound decisions on regulatory changes to reduce risks associated with pesticide use, and protect public health and the environment.”

The report includes 44 recommendations in the areas of pesticide sales, purchase and application; vendor and applicator training; posting and notification of pesticide applications; record keeping; display, transportation, storage and disposal of pesticides; enforcement of regulations; and reduction of pesticide use.

Among the key recommendations:

- Pesticides classified as Domestic by Health Canada be separated into two categories, based on their potential risk to human health and the natural environment.

- A business selling higher risk (Category 2) Domestic pesticides be licensed, and the products sold through a dispensary system (behind the counter) by trained and certified staff.

- Training and certification be required to purchase and apply higher risk Domestic pesticides.

- Agricultural pesticide applicators provide an annual pesticide application schedule to property owners within 25 metres of the land being treated.

- Advance notification of pesticide application be provided to properties within 25 metres and signs be posted for all non-agricultural applications of a non-domestic or higher risk Domestic pesticide.

- Fines for violations of the Pesticides Control Act or regulations be increased to a minimum $1,000 and maximum $50,000 for individuals, and minimum $5,000 and maximum $250,000 for a corporation.

- A Task Force be established to further research measures that could be implemented to reduce risks of pesticide contamination including pesticide-free buffer zones; and that, in the interim:

- the maximum allowable wind speed for the application of a pesticide using ground application equipment be reduced from 25 kilometres per hour to 20 kilometres per hour; and

- a Pesticide Use Permit be required to apply a pesticide in identified “protected zones” around watercourses, public areas and private residences.

Minister Ballem announced Thursday that he has appointed an implementation working group to examine in detail the implications of each recommendation and develop an implementation schedule.

“To move forward the next step, we need to know what legislative changes would be required for each recommendation, what the cost would be, how long it would take to implement, and what other implications there might be,” said Minister Ballem. “I have asked the working group to look at all of these issues, prioritize the recommendations with respect to our overall objective of protecting human health and the environment, and develop an implementation plan.”

The working group will report back to Minister Ballem by early fall and the implementation plan will be tabled during the fall session of the Provincial Legislature. Members of the working group are: from the Department of Environment and Energy, Don Jardine, Director of Pollution Prevention, and Don Reeves, Manager of the Pesticide Regulatory Program; from the Department of Health and Social Services, Dr. Lamont Sweet, Chief Health Officer, and Joe Bradley, Environmental Health Officer; and from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Forestry, Brian Douglas, Director of the Agriculture Resource Division.

Recommendations for the Regulation of Pesticides in Prince Edward Island is available online at www.gov.pe.ca/go/pesticides. Copies are also available from Island Information Service, 368-4000 or toll free 1-800-236-5196.

BACKGROUNDER

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE REGULATION OF PESTICIDES IN PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND -- Summary of Recommendations

NON-DOMESTIC PESTICIDES

Licensing and Training Recommendations

Sale

Non-domestic pesticides are pesticides classified as Commercial, Agricultural, Restricted or Industrial by Health Canada. Typically, they contain concentrated active ingredients, are packaged and sold in large containers, and are not intended for use by the general public. Current regulations require that a business selling non-domestic pesticides have one individual on staff who is trained and licensed as a pesticide vendor. In some cases, additional sales staff have completed a voluntary vendor training and certification program. The report recommends:

- Any company wishing to sell a non-domestic pesticide hold a Non-domestic Pesticide Vendor Business Licence.

- All sales staff be required to complete a multi-day training course and examination to obtain a Non-domestic Pesticide Vendor Certificate for the first time; and that continuing education credit courses be developed as one re-certification option.

Purchase and Application

Currently, a Level 1 or Level 2 Pesticide Use Certificate is required to apply a non-domestic pesticide. There are also specific classes of commercial applicator licences for individuals who operate a business involving the application of a pesticide. All applicators must complete an exam to be certified/licensed; a one-day training course is voluntary. The report recommends:

- Any person who offers a service involving the application of a non-domestic pesticide hold a Pesticide Application Business Licence.

- A Non-domestic Pesticide Applicator Certificate be required to apply any non-domestic pesticide.

- A multi-day training course and exam be required to obtain a Non-domestic Pesticide Applicator Certificate for the first time; and continuing education credit courses be developed as a re-certification option.

- Training and certification for a Non-domestic Pesticide Applicator Certificate be category-specific (e.g. agricultural, landscape, structural, soil fumigation).

DOMESTIC PESTICIDES

Currently, there are no regulations related to the sale, purchase, handling or application of pesticides classified as Domestic by Health Canada. The report recommends that these products be separated into two categories, based on their potential risk to human health and the natural environment:

- Category 1 Domestic pesticides: Pest control products which are considered to pose a low risk to human health and the natural environment.

- Category 2 Domestic pesticides: Pest control products which are considered to pose a higher level of risk to human health and the natural environment.

Licensing and Training Recommendations

Sale

The report recommends:

- A business selling Category 2 Domestic pesticides hold a Category 2 Domestic Vendor Business Licence or a Non-domestic Pesticide Vendor Business Licence.

- Products only be sold through a dispensary system (behind the counter) and by an individual holding a Category 2 Domestic Pesticide Vendor Certificate.

- To obtain a Category 2 Domestic Pesticide Vendor Certificate for the first time, an individual be required to complete a training course and examination; and continuing education credit courses be developed as a re-certification option.

Purchase and Application

The report recommends:

- No training or certification be required to purchase, handle or apply Category 1 Domestic pesticides.

- A person hold a Category 2 Domestic Pesticide Applicator Certificate to purchase or apply a Category 2 Domestic pesticide.

- To obtain the certificate for the first time, the person be required to complete a training course and exam; and continuing education credit courses be developed as a re-certification option.

- Anyone who offers a service involving the application of a Category 1 or 2 Domestic pesticide hold a Pesticide Application Business Licence.

POSTING AND NOTIFICATION RECOMMENDATIONS

Agricultural

There are currently no regulatory requirements for posting treated areas when pesticide applications are carried out, or for notifying adjoining property owners. Some applicators provide notification on a voluntary basis. The report recommends:

- The provincial Visitors Guide include a section that identifies PEI as an agricultural-based province, explains that chemical pesticides are used in many crop areas, and cautions against unauthorized entry into crop areas.

- Agricultural pesticide applicators provide an annual pesticide application schedule, at least 48 hours before the first pesticide application, to property owners within 25 metres of the land being treated. It is recommended the schedule include a list of all pesticide products to be applied during the crop season, the application equipment to be used, approximate frequency of applications, approximate beginning and ending dates of applications and contact information for the farm owner or pesticide applicator.

Non-Agricultural

Currently, landscape applicators are required to post the area to be treated immediately prior to any pesticide application; and to provide notice to adjoining property owners immediately before applying a herbicide, and at least 24 hours before applying a fungicide or insecticide. There are no posting or notification requirements for structural, fumigation, soil fumigation, forestry or greenhouse applicators. The report recommends:

- All non-agricultural applications of a non-domestic or Category 2 Domestic pesticide be posted, whether applied by a private individual or commercial applicator, with the posting of single-family homes to be carried out immediately prior to the application, and the posting of all other properties (including multi-family dwellings, institutions, parks and other public places) to be carried out at least 24 hours before the pesticide application.

- Advance notification, not less than 48 hours and not more than 96 hours, of all non-agricultural applications of a non-domestic or Category 2 Domestic pesticide be provided to property owners within 25 metres of the property being treated.

- When a school building or property is involved, there be no application of a pesticide during, or 24 hours prior to a scheduled class.

RECOMMENDATIONS ON PESTICIDE APPLICATION RECORDS

Currently, licensed commercial pesticide applicators must keep written records of pesticide applications for three years. The report recommends records also be kept for all applications of a non-domestic pesticide by a private agricultural applicator.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE REDUCTION OF PESTICIDE RISKS

The report recommends a Task Force be established to further research measures that could be implemented to reduce risk of pesticide contamination. In particular, the report recommends the Task Force study and provide scientifically defendable recommendations on minimum and maximum wind speeds; and pesticide-free buffer zones along surface water environments, municipal wellfields and private wells, and residences, recreational and natural areas, organic farms and institutions. In the interim, the report recommends the following pesticide reduction measures be implemented:

- The maximum allowable wind speed for the application of a pesticide using ground application equipment be reduced from 25 kilometres per hour to 20 kilometres per hour (or as indicated on the product label, whichever is lower), and a minimum allowable wind speed of four kilometres per hour be established.

- A Pesticide Use Permit also be required to apply a pesticide within an identified “protected zone”. The report recommends the establishment of three types of protected zones:

- Protected zones around any open body of water, the same size as watercourse buffer zones;

- Protected zones around all public areas (including schools, hospitals, resident care facilities, indoor/outdoor recreational facilities, parks and campgrounds), measuring 15 metres from the perimeter boundary lines; and

- Protected zones around all occupied dwellings, measuring 15 metres from the foundation of the dwelling.

A Pesticide Use Permit is currently required for higher risk treatments i.e. to apply a pesticide to/over a body of water; use aerial equipment to apply a pesticide; apply a soil fumigant pesticide; or apply a Schedule 1 pesticide.

STORAGE RECOMMENDATIONS

Non-domestic Vendors

Most licensed pesticide vendors maintain or have access to an Agricultural Warehousing Standards Association Phase III storage facility. The report recommends this be a regulatory requirement.

Domestic Vendors

There are currently no requirements related to the storage of domestic pesticides. The report recommends standards be established for the display and storage of pesticides by Category 2 Domestic vendors.

Applicators

There are currently no requirements related to the storage of products used by private or commercial pesticide applicators. The report recommends a separate storage area be required for storage of pesticides in excess of 100 kilograms or 100 litres of formulated product.

ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTIES RECOMMENDATIONS

The report recommends:

- The list of violations for which a summary offence ticket may be issued be expanded to enable enforcement officers to quickly and effectively address compliance matters.

- Three citations within a 24-month period result in an immediate suspension of an individual’s certificate, licence or permit for at least 30 days; to renew the certificate or licence, the individual be required to complete a training course and exam.

- An increase in the minimum and maximum fines for violations of the Pesticides Control Act or regulations from the current levels of $200 and $50,000, to a minimum fine of $1,000 and maximum $50,000 for individuals, and minimum $5,000 and maximum fine of $250,000 for a corporation.

- A pesticide specialist position be established and staffed by the industry to address public and media inquires related to the responsible use of pesticides in the production of food crops.

- One full-time permanent pesticide inspector position be established by the Province or municipalities to focus primarily on the non-agricultural use or pesticides in urban environments.

- The Pesticide Regulatory Program include three permanent eight-month (April to October) pesticide inspector positions; and three permanent five-month (May to September) pesticide inspector positions.

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Media Contact: Sandra Lambe
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