Media Release: Environmental and Citizens’ Groups File Pesticide Arguments with Supreme Court

Media Release

Toronto. CELA released today its legal arguments filed with the Supreme Court of Canada in an intervention in the court’s upcoming decision concerning the powers of Canadian municipalities to control pesticide use on private property.

On December 7th, 2000 Canada’s highest court will hear an appeal by two pesticide corporations, Chemlawn and Spraytech, challenging a by-law passed by the municipality of Hudson, Quebec. The by-law would control local use and application of pesticides by homeowners and businesses in the municipality. Two previous attempts to have the by-law quashed were denied by the Quebec Trial Court and again by the Quebec Court of Appeal.

In the fall of 1999 the companies were granted leave to appeal the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada. Last February, CELA, on behalf of itself and ten public interest clients successfully obtained leave from the Supreme Court to intervene in the case and provide a written factum of law as to the validity of the by-law.

CELA’s legal arguments conclude that municipalities do indeed have a legitimate and important role to play in imposing controls over pesticide use within their boundaries.

“Control of pesticide use and application is clearly within the municipal realm where pesticide use is primarily for appearance and cosmetics. And further, municipalities must be able to address competing concerns among residents in the municipality because of health concerns, short term and long term, and the legitimate concerns as to environmental impacts from urban pesticide use,” said CELA lawyer, Theresa McClenaghan.

“The Supreme Court decision will affect communities across Canada. We are hopeful that the Court will uphold the right of local government to pass by-laws to protect public health and safety,” said Janet May with the Toronto Environmental Alliance.

Going to court with CELA are: Toronto Environmental Alliance, Sierra Club of Canada, Parents’ Environmental Network, Healthy Lawns – Healthy People, Pesticide Action Group Kitchener, Working Group on the Health Dangers of the Urban Use of Pesticides, Environmental Action Barrie, Breast Cancer Prevention Coalition, Vaughan Environmental Action Committee, and Dr. Merryl Hammond.

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For more information:

Theresa McClenaghan, Counsel, CELA (519)757-5266 (cell)
Janet May, Toronto Environmental Alliance, 416-596-0660 (Toronto)