Key provisions of the Manitoba cosmetic pesticide ban

Boulevard maintained by mowing (CPBM photo)

In Manitoba, the use of pesticides for cosmetic, or non-essential, purposes is governed by amendments to The Environment Act and associated regulations that took effect in 2015. (Please consult the official statute and regulations for any legal guidance you may require.) Highlights:

  • The law prohibits the use of all pesticides (other than specified, allowable substances) on lawns and on the grounds of schools, hospitals and child care centres.
  • The prohibitions do not apply to pesticides used in agriculture, in forestry, on golf courses, or for the protection of public health. A public health use would be the application of a herbicide to control plants that can cause harm to humans by touch, such as poison ivy, wild parsnip or poison sumac.
  • Otherwise banned pesticides may also be used to maintain specialty turf for lawn bowling, lawn tennis or cricket; to maintain professional sports fields; or for scientific research under permit.
  • A schedule attached to the Non-Essential Pesticide Use Regulation lists allowable pesticides that may be used on lawns. These include substances such as corn gluten, iron chelate, horticultural vinegar, and certain forms of soap, among other materials. Pesticides with these active ingredients are exempt from the ban.
  • Retail sellers are required to keep restricted pesticides secure from public access; to determine that a prospective purchaser intends to use the pesticide for an allowable purpose (such as control of poison ivy); to provide the purchaser with information about allowable uses of the chemical; and to keep a record of the type and amount of restricted pesticide sold.

The Environment Act – Statutes of Manitoba
(see Sections 40.4 to 40.10)

Non-Essential Pesticide Use Regulation (286/2014)

Status of Manitoba’s cosmetic pesticide ban – 2018 update

CPBM photo

The Government of Manitoba has indicated that it is considering making changes to the provisions of the current law. Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba is concerned that the Province may weaken the ban by allowing licenced pesticide applicators to use currently prohibited pesticides. This would allow municipalities and lawn care companies to resume using the riskier pesticides. As a result, lawns, parks, boulevards and other green spaces would once again become sources of human exposure to pesticides, undermining the health protection purpose of the existing cosmetic pesticide restrictions.

The Association of Manitoba Municipalities, in an April 2018 brief to the provincial Minister of Sustainable Development, claimed there have been greatly increased costs to local governments because previously available pesticides are no longer allowable for use in weed control programs. Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba notes that literally hundreds of cities and towns in provinces with cosmetic pesticide bans are able to maintain publicly acceptable levels of weed control at reasonable cost without using the more toxic and riskier pesticides.