Is City Council Prepared to Challenge Questionable Pesticide Practises and Stand Up to Troubling Federal Pesticide Regulatory Lapses? Part 2.

(See part 1 here:

The City of Edmonton Community and Public Services Committee meets today, Wednesday, June 26 and will, among other things, discuss the recently released updated Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy.  

Even if the Updated IPM policy is accepted at today’s meeting, June 26, it will still need to go to the entire City Council at a future date for full approval. 

 The Edmonton Chapter of the Council of Canadians is urging that the updated IPM policy as currently presented should not be accepted by the Public Services Committee.  As such, we ask that our friends and supporters review available information about this issue below, as attached and as it is presented to the public in the coming days.  We may yet need your help in the coming days.  Right in time for your summer holidays?  

Our main concern remains the City’s misplaced deferrence to the federal regulator, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in determining whether or not a pesticide can be used.  It appears that the new IPM policy will not ensure that the highly questionable and haphazard use of a pesticide like chlorpyrifos will not happen again in the future.   

The Edmonton Chapter of the Council of Canadians urges the Public Services Committee not to accept the updated IPM policy as it presently stands.  Among other changes needed are: 

 The fact is that chlorpyrifos is and was “approved for use” by the PMRA when Edmonton was the only municipality in Canada to be using this highly toxic and volatile neurotoxin to control mosqitos as recently as 2017.  Our understanding is that the City of Edmonton still retains chlorpyrifos to be used again whenever a Pest Branch functionary decides it is necessary to do so.  As long as chlorpyrifos or any other pesticide is “approved for use” by the PMRA, the City of Edmonton may use it.  That’s not good enough.   It is especially not good enough for Edmonton’s children who are most susceptible to deleterious effects of pesticides like chlorpyrifos and others.   

Chlorpyrifos is “approved for use” today in Edmonton and could be used again, despite the fact that it has never undergone a complete, mandated re-assessment since its initial approval in 1969.  Since 1969, over 2000 peer reviewed studies about the toxicity of chlorpyrifos, especially to children, have been published and a number of high profile court cases have indicated that it is not safe to use this pesticide under any circumstance.  

 A green light from the PMRA does not inspire confidence and Edmontonians deserve better.  Edmontonians should not have to worry that our health is compromised simply because another dangerous pesticide has questionable approval from the PMRA and City of Edmonton Pest Control Staff and Contractors have a misplaced green light to spray it on or near unsuspecting citizens.   

The Edmonton Chapter of the Council of Canadians urges the Public Services Committee not to accept the updated IPM policy as it presently stands.  Among other changes needed are: 

  • There should be a “red, yellow, green” list of pesticides as determined, and regularly updated by an expert paediatric health panel. 
  •  The City should continue to work towards developing and practising organic turf management techniques to naturally reduce weeds.  Of particular interest and relevance to Edmonton could be the development and comprehensive use of “compost tea” as a natural supplement for healthy turf management.  
  •  The City might also consider naturalizing some of its extensive catalogue of grassy turf. Turf is costly to maintain without extensive and arguably unhealthy management.  
  • Every effort should also be made to monitor and protect mosquito predator populations and other bird/animal species threatened by pesticide use.  
Rod Olstad
Edmonton Chapter
Council of Canadians

Back ground information:  

Here’s the agenda for June 26:  Double click agenda item 6.7 “Integrated Pest Management Policy” and the updated policy and background documents can be seen on the right of the screen.  The Committee may update the schedule at 9:30 a.m., but it looks like the IPM issue will be discussed in the afternoon.  
If you’d like to speak at this public meeting, please call the City Clerk at 780-496-8178.    

Link to Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Pesticide Director Randall McQuaker’s brief to Edmonton IPM Review :