Ontario's Cosmetic Pesticides Ban

What You Need to Know to Protect Natural Resources

Ontario's pesticides ban will take effect April 22, 2009. The requirements of the ban are detailed in Ontario Regulation 63/09 made under the Pesticides Act.

The provincial ban supersedes local municipal pesticides bylaws to create one set of rules across the province. However, the ban contains exceptions for public health and safety, scientific purposes, forestry and to protect natural resources, if certain conditions are met.

Exception to Manage Natural Resources

The regulation allows for a landowner to receive an exemption to the ban for specific natural resource management projects. Your project may be eligible for an exception, if: 

  • The project purpose is to control an invasive species that may be detrimental to the health of a person, the environment or the economy of Ontario,
  • The project benefits a species of plant or animal native to Ontario through the protection of the species or its habitat, or the establishment, restoration or management of the species' habitat, or
  • The project aims to protect or restore a rare ecosystem or its components.

To request an exemption to manage natural resources, you must contact your local Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) district office to initiate the application process. In response to an application the MNR may issue a written opinion stating that the project is necessary for natural resources management and that the use of a pesticide may be necessary.

The written opinion will indicate that use of any pesticide must be in accordance with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles. IPM emphasizes pest prevention, and considers all options before deciding on the most effective, environmentally friendly and cost effective means of managing a pest problem while looking to reduce reliance on pesticides.

Purchasing Excepted Pesticides

If MNR provides a written opinion, you may use a pesticide for the excepted use described in the written opinion. In most cases you will need to hire a licensed exterminator authorized to use a commercial pesticide. The original copy of the written opinion will be required to purchase a controlled pesticide and must be on site when the pesticide is being used.

You will continue to be able to purchase and use biopesticides (microorganisms that control pests, such as the bacterial insecticide used to control Gypsy moths) and lower risk pesticides (such as horticultural vinegar) to protect natural resources on your property without requiring a written opinion from MNR.

Compliance and Enforcement

Questions or non-compliance reports should be directed to a Ministry of the Environment (MOE) district office during regular business hours.

After business hours, you may call the MOE's Pollution Hotline at 1-866-MOE-TIPS (1-866-663-8477).