Oversight, safety, and public awareness of chemical product applications at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa

Petition: 431

Issue(s): Compliance and enforcement, Human /environmental health, Pesticides, Toxic substances

Petitioner(s): A Canadian resident

Petitioner Location(s): Ottawa, Ontario

Date Received: 30 July 2019

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition raises concerns about the impact on the local community of using pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and fertilizers at the federally operated Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, Ontario. Owned and managed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the farm is a national historic site at which different environmental scientific experiments are conducted in support of Canadian agriculture. The petition suggests that the management of chemical treatments at the farm poses a potential exposure risk to nearby residents, students, and recreational users of the farm’s paths. The petition states that residents are not aware of the pesticide use and are not warned about the sprayings.

The petition seeks clarification on the farm’s compliance with buffer zone requirements as outlined on pesticide labels. It also seeks information on the licensing of farm staff and of pesticides used, and on the steps taken by the farm to notify the public about pesticide applications. The petition suggests actions to address the situation, including a review of how pesticide use at the farm is regulated and of the roles that different levels of government play in relation to the pesticides used. The petition also calls for a review of the farm’s adherence to buffer zone requirements and for mandatory signs and communication with local residents, schools, and businesses to help them avoid exposure to chemicals.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Health Canada