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Deregulation Backgrounder - Bill 53 Integrated Pest Management Act

Environmental Deregulation; Pest Management Act
West Coast Environmental Law

On May 13, 2003 the Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection introduced Bill 53, a new Integrated Pest Management Act (the new Act), which will replace British Columbia's Pesticide Control Act.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is widely recognized to be an important pesticide reduction strategy that seeks to minimize use by making it a last resort option, after attempting strategies such as biological controls (e.g. natural enemies of pests) and cultural controls (e.g. using pest-resistant varieties). Unfortunately, although it borrows the name, those goals are not spelled out anywhere in Bill 53. The definition of integrated pest management makes reference to the various components of IPM, but not to its principles, goals or objectives. There is a possibility that the Administrator may pass regulations requiring plans to follow IPM principles, but these plans will not be vetted or approved by government.

Government's oversight role in approving pesticide use will be considerably reduced. For example, government will only be requiring pesticide use permits for certain prescribed pesticides. Government will no longer be reviewing and approving pest management plans. Instead, permit applicants must simply declare that they have prepared a plan in accordance with the regulations.

Theoretically, government's role will shift from front end authorization to detecting and punishing companies that are not following their own plans or government technical standards after the fact. However, when these changes are coupled with staff and budget cuts, it is questionable whether government will in fact be able to effectively monitor the amount of pesticides applied in BC and sanction against misuse.

Publication Date: 
May 1, 2003
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