Edmonton City Council Considers Cosmetic Pesticide Ban

The City of Edmonton manages pests such as weeds, tree pests, plant diseases, stinging/biting insects, rodents, and water-borne diseases using a variety of programs.  It implemented a restriction on herbicide use on June 23, 2015, with exemptions.  Only when necessary is herbicide applied to control noxious weeds, and weeds that would impact safety and enjoyment of our green spaces.

The City’s IPM approach has led to major reductions in pesticide use and the majority of Edmonton’s parkland is free of pesticide exposure.  Of that parkland, less than 10% of the managed turf area receives herbicide treatments per year.  Since 2004, 45 parkland sites have been maintained without the use of herbicides.  These herbicide-free sites were designated by City council in association with the development of the IPM policy.

Despite these restrictions, Edmonton’s City Council is now looking at an outright ban on cosmetic pesticides.  Advocacy groups such as Pesticide Free Edmonton, are advocating for a cosmetic ban stating, “A cosmetic pesticide ban means protection from non-essential use of pesticides (including herbicides, fungicides and other biocides).”

Meanwhile, Alberta’s leading professional landscape organization, Landscape Alberta sees things differently.  In a letter to council, Executive Director Joel Beatson said, “I view our role as providing fact-based information that allows policy makers, such as yourself, to make informed decisions in matters such as this.  Much as we saw during the pandemic, a small group of highly vocal individuals can have profound impact on public policy and opinion.  Just as we saw with policy decisions around public masking and vaccination mandates for City staff, I would hope that science can be the guide in your decision making.”

CLICK HERE for the Landscape Alberta submission to Edmonton City Council

A report to eliminate cosmetic pesticide use is set to be discussed by the Community and Public Services Committee in early August.