Electronic Press Kit

This is an information summary for the media. Others can use it too!

We Are Calling for a Bylaw

The Coalition for a Healthy Calgary is a new non-profit organization formed to make a pesticide bylaw a reality for Calgary. We’re calling on City Council to pass a bylaw in the spring of 2008 that will phase out the use of unnecessary pesticides on public and private lands in Calgary.  We’re making the bylaw an election issue, and then will ask to have the bylaw brought forward to Council after the election

Pesticide Definition: synthetic chemical substances used to control pests. This includes herbicides (for killing plants), insecticides (for killing insects), fungicides (for controlling fungus on plants), and rodenticides (for killing rodents).  The unnecessary use of pesticides is using pesticides on lawns, gardens and green spaces for aesthetic purposes.
This does not include pesticide use:
• for agriculture, or if pests pose a threat to local agriculture
• for pests that pose a health threat or  to control invasive species of plants where effective alternatives do not exist.

The Coalition for a Healthy Calgary is a coalition of citizens, health care professionals, scientists, landscaping and horticultural professionals, and health and environmental organizations.

Let’s Keep Up With the Rest of Canada

As of mid-april 2007, 126 Municipalities had passed bylaws and 12 were in the works.
The entire Province of Quebec is pesticide-free.
Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax all have had bylaws for a few years.
Calgary is now the largest City in Canada without a bylaw.
An independent Poll last year showed 4 out of 5 Calgarians support a phase out of unnecessary pesticides. In the Imagine Calgary report, based on the input of over 15,000 Calgarians, a goal was zero pesticides by 2010.

Why is a Bylaw Important?

Health - more and more health studies, especially in the last 5 years, show links between pesticide use and
cancer, asthma, neurological difficulties - such as Parkinson’s Disease
hormonal disruptions - such as thyroid problems
Especially Critical for Children’s Health
from conception to teen stage
even a tiny amount of pesticide exposure at a critical point in development can cause permanent damage, such as  birth defects, learning disabilities.

Many Medical Associations support pesticide bylaws, such as Ontario College of Family Physicians, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario

People are exposed to unwanted pesticides when neighbours or the City are using pesticides.
- pesticides drift when applied - they carry in the wind,
- pesticides evaporate for up to a few days or weeks later - so we breathe them in from our neighbours’ yards and when we move around the city, along boulevards and parks.
- pesticides stay on lawns for a few days and kids and pets roll on the grass in play and absorb pesticides through their skin.
- pesticides are tracked into homes on shoes and clothing and can last for up to a year in the home

Environment - pesticides kill beneficial insects, deplete soils, pollute our rivers

Federal Regulations Don’t Work to Protect Us

The Supreme Court has twice upheld the right of Municipalities to pass bylaws and both the Supreme Court and the Federal Minister of Health recommended that Municipalities use bylaws to complement federal regulations and exercise the “precautionary principle” - when there is some evidence of harm, take precautionary measures, even if exact cause and effect is not determined.

Pesticides Are Not Necessary

Natural landscaping practices like spreading compost, overseeding with new grass seed, having less lawn and planting hardy grass or shrubs, trees, perennials work well.

Our Campaign

- We’re meeting with Aldermen in Spring 2007 and asking if they will support such a bylaw. We will also send out questionnaires before the election to all candidates
- If we don’t have a majority of Council on-side we’ll mobilize for a petition.
- We’re doing an email campaign, asking people to let others know about the campaign.

For more information, contact media@healthycalgary.ca.