The Coalition for a Healthy Ottawa

Thumbs-down to IPM

Top Ten Reasons Why IPM Doesn't Work

IPM (see: Integrated Pest Management) is the lawn care industry "solution" to pesticide-use bylaws. The problem is — IPM still uses pesticides!

#10. The Province of Quebec Has Rejected IPM

The Province of Quebec rejected IPM because the lawn-care industry's "version" of IPM relied almost exclusively on pesticides. The Association des Services en Horticulture, Ornementale du Quebec (ASHQQ), which is the equivalent to Landscape Ontario, revealed that in the year 2000, only 0.5% of their IPM lawn care treatments were employing "alternative methods";

#9. IPM Does Not Eliminate Cosmetic Use of Pesticides

IPM programs adopted in cities have seen increases in pesticide use, rather than decreased use.  For example, the City of Calgary's IPM program witnessed an increase in pesticide use by 54 per cent during the past four years -- from 2,519 kilograms in 2003 to 3,880 kilograms in 2007.  Herbicide use leapt by 80 per cent, from 1,976 to 3,564 kilograms.1  

A January 22, 2002 article in the Calgary Sun stated that the "parks department does not acknowledge reduction as the goal of the IPM program ... Pesticides are (supposed to be) a last resort, and yet even having been trained in IPM, city staff aren't practicing the basic tenet." And in Ottawa, despite IPM, a City prepared study revealed that harmful levels of pesticides were detected in 2/3 of samples taken from local waterways in 2003;

#8. IPM Never Achieves 100% Reduction in Cosmetic Pesticide Use

According to a University of Laval study, there have been reductions in the range of 60% by implementing IPM. A strategy to reduce pesticide use in agriculture was also noted with a 50% reduction over 15 years. Implementing a pesticide-use by-law can achieve 95% to 100% pesticide reduction with homeowners in the first year;

#7. IPM Does Not Offer Optimal Health Protection

IPM offers no buffer zone protection to non-targeted organisms nor individuals that are vulnerable to the adverse effects of pesticide. Environment Canada's Federal Code of Good Practice, states that the herbicide Killex can drift up to 100 meters when the wind is no more than 10 km/h and the temperature of the day does not exceed 25C;

#6. IPM Does Not Prevent Pesticide Abuse

IPM will not prevent lawn-care applicators from spraying pesticides during winds (i.e. over 10 km/h), smog advisory days, or during or after a rainfall where pesticide runoff occurs;

#5. IPM For Homeowners Is Unproven

Municipalities with pesticide-use by-laws promote the use of natural (ecological) and other alternative lawn care practices. IPM programs for homeowners are unproven in terms of benefits in pesticide reduction;

#4. IPM Downloads Responsibility

IPM downloads responsibility onto their customers "as being an integral part of the IPM process" rather than IPM accredited companies themselves taking the leading role. This is in stark contrast to socially conscious companies such as Loblaws Garden Centers, which no longer sells chemical pesticides;

#3. IPM Council Promotes Industry Interests Only

Industry's self-regulatory body known as the "IPM Council" is driven by Landscape Ontario and organizations which lobby "to preserve the use of pesticides." Auditing and enforcement from such an organization amounts to the fox guarding the hen-house.  For more info, click here.

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Turfgrass Specialist, Pamela Charbonneau stated in a presentation on Voluntary Turf Integrated Pest Management Accreditation in 2003 that "the IPM Council has proposed IPM Accreditation as an alternative to pesticide bans in municipalities in Ontario" and to "appease environmentalists". Her presentation goes on to state that "Selling Voluntary Turf IPM Accreditation" involves showing up on mass at municipal council meetings, communication via an e-mail listserve More recently the 2005 Annual Report Ontario Pest Management Research & Services Committee stated that the chemical lawn application industry is "focusing on IPM as the solution to pesticide bans".;

#2. IPM Accreditation Is Flawed

An IPM accredited company is no guarantee to a customer that the actual pesticide applicators treating their property will be properly trained and IPM accredited. Only ONE officer for that entire local company is required to attend an IPM training course for the company to be deemed wholly IPM accredited!;

And #1! IPM Is Not Required With Pesticide-Use By-laws

Municipalities who have adopted pesticide-use by-laws have rejected IPM outright because IPM still depends on the continued use of pesticides. Over the last decade the number of municipal pesticide by-laws adopted in Canada has increased to 168  (as of May 2010). An additional eleven pesticide by-laws are at the draft stage pending adoption. Over 23.8 million Canadians, or 79.6% of Canada's total population (based on the 2006 Census), are benefiting from enhanced protection from unwanted exposure to synthetic lawn and garden pesticides. This figure includes the gold standard province-wide protection provided under Ontario’s Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act, 2008 and Québec’s Pesticide Management Code as well as New Brunswick’s and PEI’s Pesticide Acts.

See also: City of London rejects pesticide industry's IPM bylaw in favor of a strong bylaw.




1. Calgary pesticide use skyrockets Ban on chemicals goes to city committee next week Published June 19, 2008 by Adrian Morrow in Fast Forward Weekly News (Calgary). Copyright © Fast Forward Weekly 2008. To view article online, click here.


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Last updated: May 10, 2010

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