The Québec Pesticide Strategy 2015-2018: Protecting public health, pollinators and the environment
Montréal, November 22, 2015 – The Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, David Heurtel, today unveils the Québec Pesticide Strategy 2015-2018, which sets out the major directions and goals that will guide government action to protect public health, pollinators and the environment in the coming years.
For the occasion, the minister was accompanied by his parliamentary assistant and MNA for Maskinongé, Marc H. Plante, by Dr. François Reeves–interventional cardiologist at the CHUM, Associate Professor of Medicine at the Université de Montréal, member of the MDDELCC’s Advisory Committee on Climate Change, member of the Université de Montréal’s Institut de l’environnement, du développement durable et de l’économie circulaire (EDDEC), member of the Cercle scientifique David Suzuki and director of the Comité Santé environnement de Médecins francophones du Canada–as well as Équiterre co-founder and Executive Director Sidney Ribaux.
“Québec has made progress in recent years with respect to responsible pesticide management. However, the time is right to intensify our efforts and become even more proficient at reducing the risks to health and the environment that are associated with pesticide use, particularly by supervising the use of highest-risk pesticides like neonicotinoids, which have a recognized major effect on bee mortality,” stated Minister Heurtel.
The Strategy also aims at reducing the use of pesticides and, in cases where this cannot be avoided, favouring pesticides that present the lowest risk to health and the environment, particularly in urban and agricultural settings.
“By tightening the conditions under which the highest-risk pesticides can be used in agricultural environments, the Québec Pesticide Strategy 2015-2018 will offer greater protection to public health, but also to the health of farmers, who are the main users of these products,” opined the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Pierre Paradis.
The changes proposed by the Strategy will be subject to partner consultations that will clarify and improve the future legislative and regulatory amendments. “Mobilizing our partners across all regions of Québec is a vital part of implementing the Strategy and the various actions that stem from it. The changes will be adapted to the needs of different clienteles and bring about improvements in pesticide practices, thus mitigating their consequences,” stressed MNA Plante.
In the opinion of Équiterre co-founder and Executive Director Sidney Ribaux, “With this pioneering strategy, Québec becomes the first jurisdiction in North America to restrict the use of the pesticide atrazine, which has been banned in Europe for more than 10 years. We salute the approach favoured by the government.”
“The use of pesticides is far from being inconsequential, which is why the implementation of the Québec Pesticide Strategy is so important for protecting public health and the biosphere’s insect populations. This strategy will encourage more responsible pesticide management by improving practices and particularly by promoting biopesticides and keeping the use of pesticides in urban environments like lawns and public parks to a strict minimum. This will have the benefits of reducing illness caused by pesticides and stopping the decline of the bee, butterfly and earthworm populations. The massive decline in the number of vital insects imperils the basis of life: plants, trees and food. The entire population will benefit from this Strategy thanks to the positive results achieved by tighter supervision of pesticide use,” explained Dr. Reeves.
An approach centred on highest-risk pesticides
The government will move forward quickly to implement the Strategy by tabling a Draft Bill to modernize the Pesticides Act. Among other measures, the legislation will provide supervision for the use of seeds treated with neonicotinoids and add monetary administrative penalties for infractions.
The Strategy also seeks to:
The Strategy focuses on pesticides deemed of highest risk, such as neonicotinoids. It will ensure that the use of all highest-risk pesticides is justified in advance by an agronomist in 100% of cases, so as to limit their use on crops. This restrictive measure goes much further than the regulatory amendments adopted by Ontario last July.
In urban environments, the Québec Pesticide Strategy will aim at reducing the population’s risk of exposure. The number of pesticides banned for use on plants (lawns, trees and shrubs) in urban areas will be tripled, minimum distance will be required when applying pesticides near inhabited areas, and certification requirements will be raised for pesticide users, including exterminators.
“Pesticide use must be controlled, rigorous and responsible, all the more so at a time when climate change risks increasing the population of insect pests affecting Québec crop yield. This Strategy will also give us efficient and modern means to create a context that fosters innovation and better practices. Working together, we can change the way we do things and develop alternatives to pesticides in order to provide our children with a better quality of life. Let’s do it for them!” concluded Minister Heurtel.
The Québec Pesticide Strategy 2015-2018 and a summary of its measures are available on the website of the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques.
– 30 –
As part of its 2019—2023 Strategic Plan, the Ministère wishes to improve access to information that is available on its website. Can we count on your co-operation by responding to a survey at the bottom of each page? This will enable us to evaluate how easy it was to find the information you were looking for.