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.

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:

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