MONTREAL, MAY 20, 2016 — The Federal Court issued a ruling yesterday that will force the Canadian government to conduct a special review of any pesticide that European countries have banned for health and environmental impacts, including more than 350 pesticide products that are banned in Europe and still used in Canada.
"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," said Équiterre executive director Sidney Ribaux. "It's time to give Canadians the same protections found in Europe."
The Federal Court decision is in response to a lawsuit filed in 2013 by environmental groups Équiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation. The groups had argued that the federal government must review the approval of hundreds of pesticide products containing 23 active ingredients already banned from use in European countries.
The Court agreed with the groups' argument that the federal health minister and Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) had violated the Pest Control Products Act by failing to conduct special reviews of pesticides that had been banned by member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for environmental or health reasons.
Among the pesticide products that will have to be reviewed are those containing atrazine. Atrazine has been banned in Europe since 2004 but is commonly used on corn crops in Canada. It is one of the most frequently detected herbicides in Canadian surface water and groundwater and has been linked to reduced fertility in humans. The Federal Court decision requires Health Canada reviews the health and environmental impacts posed by atrazine products.
"This court decision is a wake-up call for the Canadian government," said David Suzuki Foundation director-general Jay Ritchlin. "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."
For more information, please contact:
Nadine Bachand, Équiterre, 514.213.3287
Jay Ritchlin, David Suzuki Foundation +1 (604) 961-6840