Media Release: Canada’s top court rejects final pesticide industry challenge

Media Release

Groups ecstatic as Toronto pesticide by-law withstands final legal assault

TORONTO – The Supreme Court of Canada announced today that it has rejected the pesticide
industry’s last gasp effort to challenge the City of Toronto’s pesticide by-law. The by-law was
passed in order to reduce the non-essential use of pesticides within the city and was appealed by
Croplife Canada, an industry association that represents the manufacturers and applicators of
pesticide products. Croplife lost in the lower court and at the Ontario Court of Appeal, and today
the Supreme Court announced that it will not hear Croplife’s appeal, ending the challenge.

Sierra Legal Defence Fund and Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) represented a
broad coalition of interveners in the case, including the Toronto Environmental Alliance,
Federation of Canadian Municipalities, World Wildlife Fund Canada, Canadian Association of
Physicians for the Environment, Sierra Club of Canada, Environmental Defence, and Ontario
College of Family Physicians.

“Canada’s top court has once again confirmed that communities have the right to pass by-laws to
protect the health of their citizens and their environment,” said Justin Duncan, lawyer with Sierra
Legal Defence Fund. “Other Ontario municipalities now have a clear green light to consider
passing similar by-laws.”

The Toronto pesticide by-law was closely patterned after a similar by-law passed by the Town of
Hudson, Quebec fourteen years ago. That by-law was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in
2001 in a landmark decision that strongly endorsed the power of municipal governments to
restrict the use of pesticides within their communities.

“This is a another great victory for the environment and public health, and the ability for
municipalities to act in a precautionary way,” said Paul Muldoon, Executive Director of CELA.
“This is a truly great day for municipalities in Ontario.”

“Lawns, gardens and parks can be maintained without chemical pesticides,” said Julia Langer of
WWF Canada, who is also a Director of the Organic Landscape Alliance. “Municipalities are
simply responding to peoples’ concerns for the environment and their health. Instead of using the
legal system to filibuster legitimate local by-laws, the lawn-care sector should wake up, smell the
pesticide-free roses and go organic.”

“It has been a long road, but the pesticide industry has played their last card and lost,” observed
Katrina Miller, campaigner for the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), “a local community’s
right to protect children’s health and the environment has prevailed once again.”


For further information please contact:
Theresa McClenaghan, CELA: 519.755.7579 (cell)
Justin Duncan, Sierra Legal: 416.368.7533 ext. 22 or 416.573.4258 (cell)
Julia Langer, WWF Canada: 416.484.7709
Katrina Miller, TEA: 416.596.0660