This issue can be boiled down to one sentence: TheOntario government proposes to continue to expose you and your family to non-essential chemical herbicides so that you can do your small part to slightly increase shareholder profit margins (or save money) for multinational forestry corporations, golf courses, Ontario Power Generation, Ontario Ministry of Transporation, and Canadian National Railway (CNR).
Many people have asked me, “Why should it matter to me whether chemical herbicides are being sprayed in Ontario’s boreal forest? I don’t live in the forest, or even the country.”
The truth is, Ontario’s boreal forest is very connected to the rest of the province and indeed, the world … and one such CONNECTION COMES FROM THE MOVEMENT OF WATER. Chemicals leaving the boreal forest reach the shorelines of Manitoba, Quebec, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Of course, when these chemicals reach the ocean, they find their way to the shorelines of all Canadian provinces.
The tool being used by the government to consult the public on this matter is called the Environmental Registry (www.ebr.gov.on.ca). One recent registry proposal was labelled # 010-2248.
The government will implicitly interpret silence by the public during this period of “consultation” as ACCEPTANCE of the government’s proposal. Comments from all jurisdictions are invited. Chemicals leaving Ontario’s boreal forest will reach the fresh-water shorelines of Manitoba, Quebec, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.
The Proposal(S) are broken into several parts, and comment on all is aspects would be appropriate. The proposal(S) are that:
1 – We ban non-essential chemical herbicides and pesticides from being applied in municipalities (GREAT)
2 – We allow non-essential chemical herbicides and pesticides to be applied on Golf Courses (????)
3 – We allow non-essential chemical herbicides to be sprayed in pristine wilderness area’s of Ontario’s boreal forest (???)
– We allow non-essential chemical herbicides to be sprayed under Hydro 1 and on the side of railways by Canadian National Railway(???).
The non-essential chemical herbicides that you will be exposed to by the forestry industry include 2,4-D which is 50% of the herbicide mixture commonly known as “AGENT ORANGE” and now known as "Killex" … and glyphosate, which is commonly known as "RoundUP" and known to cause mortality and genetic malformations in amphibians.
"Men are apt to settle a question rightly when it is discussed freely" ...
It is imperitave to submit your comments. Comments can be as brief as a single sentence of support for the proposal to require Ontario's forestry industry to make use of recognized and well known non-chemical alternatives to manage vegetation in the boreal forest. Without your comments, the government will give into lobby pressure from multinational corparations and continue to allow non-essential chemical herbicides to be sprayed in the headwaters feeding the Great Lakes (maps), the Ottawa River (maps), and the James Bay. Such is the government proposal, and silence by the public during this "consultation" is interpreted as acceptance of the government proposal.
DRAFT SUBMISSION TO PROPOSAL# 010-2248
In regards to the proposed legislation to ban non-essential chemical herbicides and pesticides, I am deeply concerned about the broad sweeping exemptions which propose to allow non-essential chemical herbicides and pesticides to be applied.
I agree with your proposals that non-essential chemical herbicides and pesticides should not be applied on gardens, parks and school yards.
I do not agree with your proposals that non-essential chemical herbicides and pesticides may be applied when non-chemical alternatives exist: (Pick one or all)
- in Ontario’s forests
- by the forestry industry
- by the Canadian National Railway (CNR) … as Canadian Pacific (CP) has perfected vegetation management with steam
- by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) under their electrical lines
- by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) on the side of highways
- on Golf Courses
- in agriculture
- to kill all mosquito’s in an area, exposing the population with insecticides that attack the nervous system, but aimed at attempting to prevent infection of West Nile Virus
I do not agree with the proposed approach that ““The focus of our (Government) efforts will be on outreach and education on alternatives to pesticides on lawns. Enforcement will be a last resort.” While outreach and education are essential to overcoming non-essential chemical herbicide and pesticide usage, government capacity and willingness to enforce pesticide legislation is essential to any ban on non-essential chemical herbicide and pesticide usage.
I do not agree with the proposal that “the focus of the ban would be on “towns and cities, and not on restrictions on rural residents.” Residents living in remote and rural communities have every right to health, well being, and safe drinking water. Furthermore, pesticides are known to migrate, and application in rural and remote areas threatens the health of those residents as well as residents in towns and cities as they contaminate our shared drinking water supplies.
By stopping the non-essential application of chemical herbicides in Ontario's forests, we would be:
1 - Protecting endangered species habitat
2 - Protecting the soil of the forest and its carbon storage capacity, all very prone to decomposition and erosion following chemical herbicide applications. The forest and its soil is a major carbon sink protecting the world from global warming. Save it to save the world !!!
3 - Protecting the rights of all peoples who would otherwise be exposed to these chemicals (downstream, or by migratory animals which have been contaminated). Resource dependent first nation communities are especially vulnerable to the chemical contamination of the forests.
4 - Preventing the non-essential chemical contamination of all wildlife passing through areas on which these chemicals are found
5 - Protecting the water, and all of those people who rely upon it. Contaminated waters leaving Ontario's boreal forests will reach the fresh water shorelines of Manitoba, Quebec, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York and will eventually dump into the ocean. These toxins cannot be removed from water filtration plants such as Toronto and Ottawa. Do you think your town is doing any better? 6 – Protecting Ontario’s long term prosperity as nearly half of its budget pays for health care … 7 – Increasing local employment opportunities in remote areas of Ontario, rather than paying for chemicals and airplanes. 8 – Protecting the employment opportunities for everyone dependent on wilderness tourism in Ontario
I do not agree with the proposal “to introduce legislation in the spring of 2008, with a phased-in implementation (e.g. 3 years).” If other jurisdictions currently have in place non-chemical alternatives for the above-mentioned uses, such as herbicides in Ontario’s forests, I would like to see those alternatives implemented immediately. There is no need to expose us to non-essential chemical herbicides and pesticides for another 3 years before something is actually done.
(YOUR CONTACT DETAILS)
Send your comments directly to the following people, and reference EBR PROPOSAL # 010-2248
Ontario Minister of Environment Minister@ene.gov.on.ca
Robert Bilyea- Policy Advisor
In 1999, the 35th Senate Subcommittee on the Boreal Forest published a report titled, “COMPETING REALITIES: The Boreal Forest at Risk". The subcommittee recommended that, “All herbicide and chemical pesticide use in the boreal forest should be phased out as soon as possible.”
The environmental registry posting indicates that “The government will look at other communities and jurisdictions, including Quebec, that have implemented bans on cosmetic uses of pesticides. Currently, the use of pesticides (including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, or combinations of any of these) is restricted in a number of municipalities across Ontario" and over 135 across Canada.
While the government proposes to ban the application of glyphosate and 2,4-D based herbicides within municipalities in recognition of the health and environmental impacts, they have taken the opposite approach to forestry.
Interestingly, the government proposes to ignore the fact that the province of Quebec banned the application of chemical herbicides by the forestry industry in 2001. They have forced the same multinational forestry corporations who operate in Quebec (and Ontario) to perfect a variety of non-chemical tools to replace chemical herbicides, presently applied in Ontario to regenerate conifer seedlings. However, Ontario divisions of the multinational corporations then insist that in Ontario, herbicides are an absolutely necessary tool to regenerate the forest. ALTERNATIVES TO CHEMICAL HERBICIDES INCLUDE:
- Planting larger, nutrient loaded seedlings immediately after harvesting as opposed to waiting years after harvest to replant 2” seedlings.
manual tending (machete)
- mechanical tending (brush saw)
animal grazing (sheep / cows / horses)
controlled fire burns
Manual release (machete) techniques are widely known to greatly increase local employment opportunities for forest dependent communities.
As the boreal forest runs across all of Canada and most of the northern hemisphere (maps), the tools used in Quebec and Scandinavian countries to replace chemical herbicides are similarly available for use in Ontario's boreal forest (maps).
Chemical contamination of the headwaters that supply our drinking water is a serious concern. A little over seven years ago, the combination of source water contamination and an inoperable water filtration system had deadly consequences for many in Walkerton, Ontario.
Justice O’Connor made many recommendations to prevent future incidents, one such being that we implement a multi-barrier approach to ensure the safety of Ontario’s drinking water. He stated, “Source protection keeps the raw water as clean as possible to lower the risk that contaminants will get through or overwhelm the treatment system.” (Walkerton Inquiry)
Even large and expensive water filtration plants, such as those used in Ottawa and Toronto, are ineffective to remove chemical herbicides and pesticides from drinking water before it is delivered to the public.
In a report titled “Up to the Gills, Pollution in the Great Lakes Fish”, Environmental Defence notes fish consumption advisories due to toxic contamination of the Great Lakes watershed. In regards to pesticides, the report indicates, “Pesticide exposure is linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, neurological problems, reproductive abnormalities, immunotoxicity and cancer. Children are at particular risk from pesticides because they are more vulnerable to the effects and have greater exposure to the chemicals. While some municipalities around the Great Lakes have instituted bans on cosmetic pesticide use, there is still widespread use in the Great Lakes basin for domestic, commercial and agricultural purposes.”
The effect of acute exposure to these chemicals over decades is largely unknown, as is the effect of exposure to multiple pesticides simultaneously.
According to Tony Clement, Canada's Minister of Health, "The PMRA requires laboratory toxicity studies on standard surrogate species in order to predict effects of active ingredients and their formulations on non-target species. The PMRA does not receive information concerning environmental interactions with other pesticides when considering registration of pesticides in Canada.” (December 21, 2007 Letter)
Please call your MPP and explain why its important to you that Ontario mimick leading jurisdictions like Quebec and Scandinavia, follow the advice of our family doctors and senate sub-committee, and finally implement the known alternatives to chemicals herbicides in Ontario's boreal forest.
The issue taking up most of my time is ensuring that the industrial activities occurring in Northern Ontario do not permanently damage the environment on which so many (including myself) depend.
"People protect what they love"- Jacques Costeau
The matter which I feel has the greatest potential for long term, environmental damage, is the non-essential application of chemical herbicides by the forestry industry of Northern Ontario. I indicate "non-essential" because the Quebec forestry system banned the use of these same chemicals in 2001, and required forestry companies (many of which operate in Quebec, Ontario, and internationally) to implement a wide array of alternatives to control the vegetation in the forest. The Scandinavian countries made this shift decades ago. One must wonder why medical organizations across the country are demanding these same chemicals to be banned in municipalities, local governments are taking heed, yet the provincial government continues to condone this outdated practice in the north.
I try to post most of my findings and articles (on various topics) in the forum, so check that often if your looking for new info. Several of us have just petitioned the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario to perform water sampling pre and post herbicide applications expected to occur this summer in Northern Ontario. To date, no government department has truly accepted responsibility over the matter.
Empirically, herbicides are routinely entering the waterways after being applied, a contravention of the Fisheries Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act. Herbicides entering waterways upstream of municipal water sources would constitute a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. We're demanding sampling and prosecutions when the samples turn up positive for herbicides.
Section 35 of the Constitution Act would be engaged if these chemicals are applied in area's where First Nation communities have fishing, hunting, and gathering rights. As little of Northern Ontario is not covered by treaty rights, it seems that the rights "guaranteed" by s. 35 are routinely being violated by the provincial government.
Even David Suzuki has something to say about 2,4-D and glyphosate, the two herbicides being applied in Northern Ontario by the forestry industry.
Alan Simard, President of Saving The Region of Ontario North Group (STRONG), questions the governments commitments to the North. "Politics and corporate profit should not take precedence over the human health of the people of Northern Ontario or the health of our lakes, rivers, and forests."
According to Lorraine A. Rekmans, the Aboriginal Affairs Advocate for the Green Party of Canada, "The systematic application of chemical herbicides in Ontario and the contamination of waterways is in violation of the Treaties signed with the original peoples of Ontario and impacts directly on basic human rights to healthy food sources. This is a violation of our Constitutionally protected rights as Aboriginal peoples. In fact this is a violation of all people's rights. As a member in confederation, Ontario has to take its responsibility to uphold the treaties seriously.”
“It’s time that we crucially examine “why” we’re spraying these chemicals onto our forests. Aerial herbicide application is one of many possible tools to control the vegetation after harvesting, and it’s chosen because it’s the cheapest. Shareholders globally are reaping the financial benefits while the residents of Northern Ontario are being exposed to unwanted chemical herbicides in their drinking water, fish, and wildlife. It just doesn’t seem right, “said Joel Theriault.
This is what the latest petition looks like ... pass it around for comment.
A petition to prevent the commercial application of non-essential herbicides (a type of pesticide intended to kill plants) in Northern Ontario.
I agree that the government of Ontario should prohibit the use of chemical herbicides by the forestry industry given ;
(1) the non-chemical alternatives which currently exist to meet vegetation management needs, and which are in use in other parts of Canada, such as Quebec.
(2) the firm stance against the non-essential use of these chemicals which has been taken by the medical community, having regard to human and environmental health. See www.HealthyOttawa.Ca for additional information.
(3) the significant possibility of violating the rights of all Canadians (especially resource dependent Aboriginal communities) to clean drinking water, edible plants, wildlife, and fish.
(5) the questionable performance of the federal government to regulate pesticides (including herbicides) for the health and safety of Canadians.
“The federal government does not have reliable, up-to-date information about pesticides that it needs to manage them effectively. It lacks significant information on the use of pesticides and exposure to them. Research on health impacts is very limited ..." (1.134 AG).
"Overall, we conclude that the federal government is not managing pesticides effectively." (1.136 AG).
“In several cases, the measures listed on pesticide labels, even if followed, appear not to have been enough to prevent environmental damage.”