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Campaign Initiatives

Recycling Used Tires

In the early 2000s, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment considered a plan that would see used tires burned, instead of recycled.

Burning tires that can be recycled makes no environmental sense. Just as when garbage is burned, burning used tires creates a huge amount of toxic emissions. And burning also makes no economic sense, especially if local jobs can be created recycling used tires.

In 2004 TEA was leaked a confidential proposal to burn tires, which was being submitted to the Minister by the Waste Diversion Organization, an armslength government advisory board charged with diverting Ontario's waste.

TEA responded: TEA issued a media release and a key report that outlined the impact of burning tires and the alternatives.


For more information on the used tire issue:

  • Click here for TEA's 2004 press release.
  • Read "TEA Tire Backgrounder: Impacts & Alternatives to Burning Tires" including recommendations for tire recycling.
TEA Tire Backgrounder.doc45.5 KB
WDO Proposal.pdf2.37 MB

Toronto Pesticide By-law

Update: In April 2009, the Ontario government followed Toronto's lead and passed the Cosmetic Pesticides Ban as an amendment to the Ontario Pesticides Act. This Ban overrides all municipal pesticide by-laws and prohibits the use of cosmetic pesticides across Ontario. Learn more about homeowner's responsibilities and resources on the Ministry of Environment's webpage here.

Read the City of Toronto Medical Officer of Health report on the impact of the Ontario ban, and the effectiveness of the Toronto pesticide by law here: http://www.toronto.ca/health/pesticides/pdf/bylaw.pdf

History of Toronto's Pesticide Bylaw campaign - Choosing Kids' Health over Chemical Lawns

The term "pesticides" refers to substances designed to kill "pests" whether they be plant, insect, or fungus. Environmental and health experts agree that some common lawn and garden pesticides harm our health and environment. Children are especially vulnerable to health impacts of pesticides.

TEA and other environmental, health and labour organizations partnered together to call on Toronto to protect our health and environment by adopting a pesticide bylaw. In 2003, we were successful - the City of Toronto joined over 50 other Canadian municipalities by passing a by-law banning the cosmetic use of chemical pesticides on all outdoor properties (including golf courses). This prohibition came into effect April 2004. As with other successful by-laws, Toronto's exempts least-toxic pest control products from the prohibition.

Non-exempt pesticides can still be used in public health situations (such as for West Nile Virus and allergens), for infestations that will result in significant loss or damage to property, to control termites and carpenter ants, and in closed bait situationsCity Council plans to phase in warnings and fines for non-compliance in the following manner:

  • 2005-2006: Warnings for all non-compliance, and fines for infractions by professional lawncare and landscape maintenance companies starting September 2005.
  • 2007: Continued warnings, and fines for infractions by homeowners starting September 2007.


Position Statements on Pesticide Use

Many organizations and coalitions support prohibiting cosmetic pesticide use to protect human health and the environment. Read their position statements below:

Pesticide Bylaw Resources

Help Fly the Blue Flag

Help Fly the Blue Flag

Naturalize the Urbanized

Major cities in North America are redesigning their cityscapes to allow rain and snow to drain naturally into the ground.

Actions You Can Take: Disconnect your downspout. Use a rainbarrel. Install a rain garden or grass swale. Plant a tree. Keep your lawn green, not paved. Avoid using road salt.

Actions the City Can Take: Plant a continuous urban forest. Change development rules to mandate natural drainage. Green parking lots, sidewalks and other concrete spaces. Green City roofs. Minimize road salt use. Avoid installing curbs and gutters. Treat road and parking lot runoff naturally.

Action Needed on the Waterfront: New developments should minimize water pollution and set examples for model clean water communities.

Help Fly the Blue Flag

Volunteer at your favorite city beach.

Community-based efforts can revitalize all our beaches. Help monitor and report on the state of your community beach; education others on how to improve beach water quality; and, organize clean ups, nature walks and other events.

Call TEA at 416-596-0660.

Beach Watch

Toronto beaches should be open, every beach, everyday.

In decades past, Toronto's beaches, often crowded, were a central part of summertime in the City. As the City grew, overflows from the sewer system polluted the water and our beaches, now often unswimmable, have become a very visible symbol of that pollution. Sadly, Toronto's beaches are no longer attractive to a majority of residents or tourists and a generation has grown up without clean beaches. This is valuable public space in the city that has been lost.

Change is happening! This summer the City raised Blue Flags at its cleanest beaches. While the majority of beaches remain polluted, the Blue Flags are a welcome sign of hope and optimism for the future of our beaches. Toronto City Council has also adopted a long-term strategy to reduce pollution in our watersheds and beaches and raise more Blue Flags along our waterfront.

TEA's Beach Watch Program

TEA offers support to residents wanting to get involved in cleaning up their local beach and researches and promotes actions the city can take to improve water quality. To learn all about beach pollution and solutions check out our Water Publication's section.