Canadians Against Pesticides
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How To Effectively Complain
About Pesticide Use Concerns & Violations

Mike Christie
April 5, 2001

As you prepare to enter another spraying season you will likely encounter situations where you will ask "How can they do that and get away with it?".

Depending on the situation there are a number of 'complaint channels' at your disposal. In general you can always go to your local MP, MPP or councillor as appropriate. Keep them informed and ask for their help when needed.

You can always address your concerns directly to the source, either on the spot and/or later in writing.

You can channel your complaint through through media friendly contacts where appropriate. Letters to the Editor or consumer advocate lines can be very effective.

If you see something and intend to file a formal complaint you need to be able to document the facts to support your claim. Having a video camera at your disposal to record the incident in question (i.e. wide speed violation, etc...) is a very good way to build your case file. Record the information from the front and back of the pesticide notification sign.

Make a point of becoming familiar with the key points in the federal legislation, provincial regulations and local by-laws, that apply to your community.

Here is a partial list of 'complaint channels' that you can consider. You'll need to adapt the list to suit your community.

1.0 Federal Complaint Channels

Government of Canada - Industry Canada - Competition Bureau
Mr. Konrad Von Finckenstein
Commissioner of Competition
Business: 819-997-3301
TF: 800-348-5358
Fax: 819-953-5013
50 Victoria Street
Hull QC K1A OC9

* This agency deals with misleading advertising and deceptive marketing practices.

Government of Canada - Pest Management Regulatory Agency - Compliance and Regional Operations Subdivision
Mr. James Reid
Bus: 613-736-3500
Fax: 613-736-3489
2250 Riverside Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0K9

* This agency deals with any violations or enforcement of the Pest Products Control Act (PCP Act)

Government of Canada - Canadian Human Rights Commission - Legal Services Branch
Ms. Maureen Armstrong
Legal Advisor
Telephone (613) 943-9018
Fax (613) 941-6809
344 Slater Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 1E1

* In terms of basic human rights, Canadians have a fundamental "right to life, liberty and security of person", as stated in the Section 7 of the Charter of Rights. This may provoke some considered when dealing with the cosmetic use of pesticides for lawn and garden care.

Consumers' Association of Canada
Yaroslaw Zajac
Executive Director
Bus: (613) 238-2533
Fax: (613) 563-2254
CAC National Office
404-267 O'Connor St.
Ottawa, ON K2P 1V3

Canadian Consumer Information Gateway

* The Consumers' Association of Canada conducts research and advocacy work at the provincial, territorial and national levels. CAC's provincial and territorial offices conduct research and advocacy work on consumer issues that fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction while CAC's national office coordinates research and advocacy work on consumer issues of national importance.

2.0 Provincial Complaint Channels (specific to Ontario)

Government of Canada - Pest Management Regulatory Agency - Compliance and Regional Operations
Mr. Ross Pettigrew
Regional Manager
Bus: 519-837-9400 x2112
Fax: 519-837-9773
174 Stone Road West
Guelph ON N1G 4S9

* This agency deals with any violations or enforcement of the Pest Products Control Act (PCP Act)

Government of Ontario - Ministry of Environment - Technical Support Section
Mr. Andrew Morley
Senior Pesticides Officer
Business: (613) 549-4000 x2684
Toll-Free: (800) 267-0974
133 Dalton Ave
PO Box 820
Kingston ON K7L 4X6

* The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) oversees The Pesticides Act and Ontario Regulation 914 deals with the use, storage, sale, transportation, disposal etc. of pesticides within Ontario. They also oversee certification, training and licensing.

Government of Ontario - Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations
Ms. Deirdre Brennan
Manager of Investigations, Investigations Office
Bus: 416-326-7777
Fax: 416-325-6192
TF: 800-268-1142
250 Yonge St
33rd Floor
Toronto ON M5B 2N5

* This Ministry sets standards of conduct for businesses, promotes consumer rights and investigates questionable business practices.

Government of Ontario - Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
Mr. Gordon Miller
Environment Commissioner
Bus: (416) 325-3377
Fax: (416) 325-3370
TF: (800) 701-6454
1075 Bay Street
Suite 605
Toronto ON M5S 2B1

Government of Ontario - Ontario Human Rights Commission
Mr. Keith Norton
Chief Commissioner
Bus: 416-314-4536
Fax: 416-314-7752

Office Of The Chief Commissioner
The Dundas/Edward Ctr
8th Flr
180 Dundas St W
Toronto, ON M7A 2R9

* Keith Norton, the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission has stated that individuals disabled by environmental sensitivities must be accommodated under the Ontario Human Rights Code, regardless of any medical or social debate that may surround these issues. The former Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission has made similar public statements.

Government of Ontario - Attorney General

Hon. David S Young
Attorney General And Minister Responsible For Native Affairs
Bus: 416-326-4000
Fax: 416-326-4016
11th Flr
720 Bay St
Toronto, ON M5G 2K1

* The Ministry of the Attorney General is responsible for providing a fair and accessible justice system which reflects the needs of the diverse communities it serves across government and the province. It strives to manage the justice system in an equitable, affordable and accessible way throughout the province.

It's a time to recognize how pesticides and other lawn/garden chemicals negatively affect our yards... but more importantly that such toxins pose grave health threats to our children.

3.0 Local Complaint Channels (specific to Ottawa)

Government of Ontario - Ministry of Environment - Ottawa District Office

Mr. Dan Harrison
Senior Environmental Officer
Bus: 613-521-3450 x232
TF: 800-268-6060
Fax: 613-521-5437
2435 Holly Lane
Ottawa ON K1V 7P2

The Ottawa Citizen - Action Line
Mr.Tony Cote
Action Line Columnist
Bus: 613-596-3737
Fax: 613-726-1198
Box 5020,
Ottawa, ON K2C 3M4

Better Business Bureau - Ottawa Hull

Ms. Lidia Rubinato
Complaints Councillor
Better Business Bureau
Buss: 613-237-4856
Fax: 613-237-4878
130 Albert Street
Suite 603
Ottawa ON K1P 5G4

Project Phonebusters
TF: 1-888-495-8501

* Project Phonebusters takes complaints on telemarketing fraud and mail scams. Phonebusters is a joint project of a number of law enforcement bodies including the Ontario Provincial Police.

4.0 Other Resources

The Complete Complainer: How to Complain and Get Results
by Jasper Griegson; Paperback; 224 Pages; (2000); Metro Books; ISBN 1900512866

Effective Consumer Complaining: Win - Don't Whine
by Ola Kaufman; Paperback; 282 Pages;
(1999); Xlibris Corporation; ISBN 0738803790

Complain, Complain, Complain:The Canadian Consumer's Guide to Getting Action
by Karen Molson , Illustrator Clive Dobson; Paperback;144 Pages;
(1997); Firefly Books, Limited; ISBN 1552090981

Art of Complaining
by Phil Edmonston; Paperback; ISBN 0773710639

A Citizen's Guide to Government
by Author C. Richard Tindal; Paperback; 2nd edition
(2000) Mcgraw Hill Canada; ISBN 0070864160

Consumer World


5.0 Pesticide Legislation

(Complied originally by the Community Animation Program in Atlantic Canada and updated by Mike Christie)

"Laws passed by governments are called "Acts" or "Statutes", or legislation. A Statute sets up a framework to control activities. Regulations provide the detailed rules for the framework. Regulations are developed by the bureaucracy and passed by order in Council (the Cabinet).

Laws passed by municipalities are called 'by-laws'

Federal Legislation - Human Health And The Environment

The federal Minister of the Environment is responsible for the administration of the following federal government acts related to environmental health:

  • Canadian Environmental Protection Act

    The goal of the new CEPA is to protect the environment and the health of Canadians from toxic substances and other pollutants

  • Fisheries Act (Section 36-3)

    This Act protects water and fish from the dumping of harmful substances into water.

  • Motor Vehicle Safety Act

    This Act contains provisions for vehicle emissions.

  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act

    This Act regulates the movement of listed dangerous goods within Canada.

Minister of the Health

The federal Minister of the Health is responsible for the administration of a number of federal government Acts related to environmental health. They may be found at:

They include:
  • Canada Health Act
  • Department of Health Act
  • Health Resources Fund Act
  • Pest Control Products Act
  • Tobacco Act

Federal Legislation - Pesticides

Pest Control Product Regulations

These regulations require that all pest control products imported into, sold or used in Canada, or used or contained in another control product in Canada be registered.

Pest Control Products Act

The purpose of this Act is to ensure that pesticides are used and disposed of in an appropriate manner.

Under this Act, all products imported, manufactured, sold or used in Canada to control pests must be registered. A pest control product is for health or environmental health risks.

Pesticide Residue Compensation Act

Pest Management Regulatory Agency
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency is a Canadian federal government initiative to provide information on pesticide regulation and registered pesticides.

Telephone: 1-800-267-6315 Information Line
2250 Riverside Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
Fax: (613) 736-3798


Pest Management Regulatory Agency's Publications

Includes discussion papers, decision documents, regulatory proposals and directives.

Provincial Legislation - Pesticides (Ontario Example)

Pesticides Act
(General - R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 914)