The Regional Municipality Of York



A pesticide is any substance used to repel, destroy or prevent the development of pests such as insects, weeds and rodents. Pesticides can be poisonous to humans, especially to children. Many terms may be used to describe pesticides based on what pests they target. For example, herbicides are used to kill unwanted plants. Fungicides are used to kill fungi and mould.

You can be exposed to pesticides by:

  • Inhaling them
  • Absorbing them through the skin
  • Ingesting them

If you have been accidentally exposed to a pesticide, seek immediate medical attention.

Ontario Pesticides Act

The Ontario Pesticides Act was amended to include the banning of cosmetic pesticides. The cosmetic pesticides ban replaces local municipal pesticide bylaws to create one clear and understandable set of rules across the province. For more information on the Pesticides Act and the cosmetic pesticides ban,visit the Ministry of the Environment's Pesticides page.

The cosmetic pesticides ban applies to:

  • Lawns
  • Vegetable and ornamental gardens
  • Patios
  • Driveways
  • Cemeteries
  • Parks
  • Schoolyards

There are some exceptions to the cosmetics pesticides ban for forestry, agriculture, golf courses, specialty turf and for health or safety reasons such as removing poison ivy or controlling yellow jackets or hornets.

Under the cosmetics pesticides ban, the use of certain lower risk pesticides are allowed for controlling weeds and pests in lawns and gardens (e.g. corn gluten meal, acetic acid, soap, mineral oil, and sulphur). Health Canada sets out criteria for low-risk pesticides such as: low toxicity to humans, minimal impact to the environment, and act in a non-toxic way in controlling intended pests.

Indoor pesticide products should only be considered as a last resort and be applied according to the label directions under an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. If a pesticide is required, consider contacting a MOE licensed pest control company.

For more information on lower risk pesticides seethe Class 11 Pesticides List.

Integrated Pest Management

This approach follows a five-step system that relies on non-chemical means (climate control, food sources and building entry points) to prevent pest infestations.

The five steps of IPM are:

  1. Inspect
  2. Monitor
  3. Decide
  4. Control
  5. Evaluate


Pesticides should never be burnt or poured down the drain and should always be kept out of the reach of children. To dispose of empty pesticide containers, you should head to your local Household Hazardous Waste Depot.

More Information

Ontario Ministry of the Environment
Phone: 1-800-565-4923

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency
Phone: 1-800-267-6315

Related Resources

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