The Federal Court in a decision on Friday says the federal government should now review hundreds of pesticide and herbicide products used in Canada which contain chemicals banned in Europel

The Federal Court in a decision on Friday says the federal government should now review hundreds of pesticide and herbicide products used in Canada which contain chemicals banned in Europel
Photo Credit: CBC

Canada ‘must’ review pesticides banned in Europe


It’s been a three-year legal battle but environmental groups in Canada are claiming a victory.

In 2013, the groups Equiterre and The David Suzuki Foundation launched a suit saying the federal government had an obligation to review 350 pesticides and herbicides allowed in Canada but which contain 23 active ingredients  banned in the European Union .

  “It’s time to give Canadians the same protections found in Europe”

The Court agreed with the environmentalist argument that Canada’s  Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and the health minister had violated the Pest Control Products Act by failing to conduct special reviews of pesticides and herbicides that had been banned by member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for environmental or health reasons.

In a statement on their website, Equiterre executive director  Sidney Ribaux said, “We are pleased that the Court upheld the federal government’s legal responsibility to review pesticides that have been shown to harm human health and the environment. It’s time to give Canadians the same protections found in Europe.”

One of the chemicals which will be reviewed is the herbicide atrazine which has been banned in Europe since 2004 but which is commonly used in Canada on crops like corn. It is often detected in surface and groundwater and is linked to reduced fertility in humans.

Calling the Federal Court ruling a “wake-up call for the Canadian government”  David Suzuki Foundation director-general Jay Ritchlin said, “Canada needs to get serious about banning the hundreds of pesticides that have been shown to be harmful yet continue to be used in our homes, yards, fields and forests.

Multi-national chemical giants merger

Meanwhile  Syngenta – the huge Swiss chemical and bio-tech multinational which makes Atrazine – has been taken over in a huge merger deal for its seeds and  pesticide group by China’s state-owned company ChemChina. The February deal was worth an estimated  $43 billion.  That deal is being scrutinized by a U.S. government panel.

A couple of months earlier in December, two other industry giants, DuPont and Dow Chemical agreed to an all-stock merger, which will lead to the eventual creation of three new separate businesses.

Just last week news came out that Monsanto is being hunted by German drug and chemical giant Bayer in the hope of creating the world’s biggest agricultural supplier.

Farmers are worried about this trend as it means a number of patents and seeds will be controlled by even fewer industries, resulting in even less “competition”. The National Farmers Union in the U.S. has come out against the Dow-Dupont deal, and will likely oppose the potential Monsanto-Bayer deal as well.

Together the big six in the agri-business sector have swallowed up over 200 smaller companies since the mid-1990’s as the industry becomes more and more concentrated.

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10 comments on “Canada ‘must’ review pesticides banned in Europe
  1. Avatar Gudrun scott says:

    People are spoiled and want for example cheap strawberries year round but dowsed with chorpyrifor which is a organophosphate that injures nerve messaging. We need to eat strawberries that are organic and much more expensive and eat them with gratefulness only when in season. We need a new outlook on eating and valuing not only our air and water but also our soil.

  2. Avatar philippe cormier says:

    When will this get into politics our government is afraid of the big chemical companies

  3. Avatar jsy says:

    I can no longer eat any kind of grain and many other foods because of the glyphosate. Something has to be done. This stuff is absolute poison.

  4. Avatar Jackie Neehuis says:

    I want my Government to protect our foods and crops against big business. Also to be forward thinking and learn from other countries. I do not Canada to follow in the footsteps of the United States. .

  5. Avatar Sheryl McCumsey says:

    The recent audit of the PMRA also shows many concerns. Our city uses one of the chemicals, chlorpyrifos, mentioned in this audit as being well overdue for an evaluation. No other municipality uses this for mosquitoes anymore and our city has not followed federal regulations in applying this restricted neurotoxin…..and yet even after filing a report the PMRA does nothing. Canadians are likely being impacted by this in multiple ways thinking they need to avoid “made in China”……when in fact “grown in Canada” should be a big concern.


    We need a NEW Suzuki who cares more about the human race. David Suzuki has provided reasons for believing that he hates people. Suzuki hates everyone in the lawn care industry, and has destroyed it by ruining their businesses and putting its people out of work, permanently. Suzuki has despoiled and violated the rights of decent, law-abiding, and tax-paying victims because of arbitrary pesticide bans that were recklessly imposed by Suzuki’s political partisan interference. Because of Suzuki, the owners, employees, and families dependent on professional lawn care businesses have faced terror, despair, and destitution. Suzuki’s pesticide bans destroyed their businesses, their assets, their customers, their homes, their lifestyles, their job security, their families, their children, their loved-ones, and their futures.

    • Avatar Sheryl McCumsey says:

      There are more lawn care companies in places where cosmetic pesticide by-laws are in place and a large majority of people want this….in a democracy the majority are heard not chemical loving nutcases like you. The facts stand for themselves.

    • Avatar Hate Watch says:

      So you advocate use of poisons – got it

    • Avatar DianneC says:

      I am not opposed to Ceta trade agreement. It may mean Canada has to clean up in some areas. Example: smarties made in USA have chemicals to shine and buff the chocolate candies. In EU the same company making smarties do not use chemicals to colour and buff. They use natural ingredients. The EU has stood behind their people who believe food from NA is inferior due to added hormones and pesticides from Monsanto, Bayer and Dow. I look and buy foods originating from the EU. In Canada, I buy organic when it makes sense and traditional as long as it is not GE and washes well. I pass on NA processed foods and GE foods like papaya, glyphosated wheat and other grains. My money will not go into the pockets of chemical companies to the best of my knowledge.

    • Avatar DianneC says:

      You do realize that Monsanto’s ROUNDUP has to be labeled as a carcinogen this year in California. Other states are looking into doing the same.
      Ontario and Quebec are the cleanest provinces: both are stricter with chemicals.
      If there is a resurgence of chemical companies trying to soften and get support on a political level in the EU, it is no surprise. Corporate America has strong allies in the government, enough to throw the EPA under the bus while we people watch…. reminds me of ‘Silent Spring’.