Cosmetic Pesticide Changes - Enhanced protections in public spaces - Safer application in residential uses

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Changes to The Environment Act regarding Cosmetic Pesticides Use in Manitoba—Frequently Asked Questions




Q:  What are cosmetic pesticides?

A: Cosmetic pesticides are herbicides often used to keep our lawns green and free of weeds.


Q: How are cosmetic pesticides regulated in Manitoba?

A: Cosmetic pesticides are regulated under The Environment Act and the Non-Essential Pesticide Use Regulation.


Q: What do these changes mean for me?

A: Manitobans will have the choice to use all cosmetic pesticides registered with Health Canada on their lawns. Health Canada conducts a rigorous scientific review before registering any pesticide.

Pesticide use is still restricted at schools, child care centres, and hospitals. Now that Bill 22 has passed, use is also restricted at municipal playgrounds, picnic areas, dog parks, and provincial parks.


Q:  Why did the government change the legislation?

A: The previous legislation came into effect in 2015. Since then, Manitobans have raised concerns about the effectiveness of the legislation.

We heard that allowed products were not effective. Repeat treatments were needed to have an impact. Green spaces had become overrun with weeds. This reduced options for use and limited recreation.

We conducted a survey in 2016. About 70 per cent of those who responded wanted to see restrictions reduced or removed.

In response, the Manitoba government changed The Environment Act. Now Manitobans have the flexibility to choose any cosmetic pesticide that is registered with Health Canada.




Q: How will government continue to protect sensitive areas?

A: Cosmetic pesticides continue to be restricted at schools, hospitals, and daycares. The changes also limit use at municipal playgrounds, picnic areas, dog parks, and provincial parks. The use of low-risk, allowable list products will still be allowed in these new sensitive areas.


Q:  How are these new sensitive areas be defined?

A: The new sensitive areas are defined in pesticide use permits issued to municipalities.

Manitoba has engaged with municipalities to develop clear and practical definitions for playgrounds, picnic areas and dog parks.

The definition of a playground will not include fields or turf used for sports and recreation.




Q: What is a pesticide use permit, and who are they issued to?

A: Pesticide use permits are still required for certain applications, such as:

  • on open bodies of water
  • on golf courses
  • by municipalities
  • by school divisions
  • by government
  • by utility companies
  • on railways
  • for forestry operations
  • by cottage lot associations
  • at parks
  • at campgrounds
  • at lodges

Pesticide use permits place terms and limits on the permit holder. These requirements protect human health and the environment. Examples include record keeping, buffer zones, and restrictions at schools, playgrounds, and parks.

Permits also give the public the ability to ask for a buffer zone on or beside their property.

Permits and annual reports allow the department to track pesticide use and compliance.




Q.  Can homeowners apply pesticides to boulevards that border their property?
A: Homeowners cannot apply cosmetic pesticides to municipal property. This includes boulevards next to their property. Municipalities must have a permit to use pesticides, including on boulevards.

People who apply pesticides to a property they do not own, lease or rent may violate municipal laws.


Q: Can I access pesticides at retail stores (home and garden centres etc.)?

A: Yes. The sale of prescribed pesticides is no longer restricted. When selling federally-registered pesticides, retailers no longer have to:

  • lock up products and prevent public access
  • ask the buyer’s plans and decide if they are compliant
  • give facts to the buyer on compliant use


Q:  Are pesticides the best way to manage my lawn?

A: Manitoba encourages everyone to use pesticides in a responsible way. It is a good idea to weigh the potential benefits of pesticide use with the risks. Using pesticides on your lawn too often is not recommended.

Health Canada provides a lot of information on how to use pesticides. To help you decide when pesticides are appropriate for your situation, visit




Q.  Who can apply commercial pesticides in Manitoba?

A: A licence is required to apply commercial or restricted class pesticides (except for farmers). Licences are issued by Manitoba Agriculture.

To become licenced, applicators must:

  • Be certified through Assiniboine Community College.
  • Be insured for liability, chemical misuse, and spray drift.

Applicators must have the knowledge needed to apply products correctly to reduce risks to Manitobans. The training that Assiniboine Community College provides meets national standards.

For more details, visit:




Q:  How can I apply pesticides safely?

A: Health Canada conducts a thorough review of pesticides sold in Canada. Pesticides are considered low-risk when used according to the label. The label has easy-to-follow directions for safe handling, including details on:

  • personal protective equipment
  • surface water setbacks
  • application timing and amount


Q: What should I do I am concerned or ill after exposure to pesticides?

A: You should seek medical care in an emergency. You also can contact the Manitoba Poison Control Centre for advice at 1‑855‑776‑4766. Visit for more details. 

If it is not urgent, use the 24-hour phone line to talk to a nurse. You can call 204‑788‑8200 or 1‑888‑315‑9257. Find out more at


Q: How do I report a pesticide incident to Health Canada?

A: A pesticide incident is when there is a negative effect to people, animals, or the environment after exposure. You should report pesticide incidents to the pesticide company or Health Canada.

Find out more at Reporting forms are on the website. Call Health Canada at 1-800-267-6315 if you need help with the form. 


Q: What do I do if there is a major pesticide spill?

A: Call Manitoba Environment, Climate and Parks. They have a 24-hour call line for environmental emergencies. The number is 204-944-4888 or 1-855-944-4888.


Q: What do I do if I notice a Manitoba pesticide use permit violation?

The public can report violations by contacting Environment, Climate and Parks.  


Phone: 204-945-6784 

Toll Free: 1-800-214-6497 



Q: What should I do to minimize pesticide exposure?

A: Health Canada has information on their website. They have details on how to keep your family safe at

Take care when using all chemicals. Follow directions and only use pesticides for their intended purpose. Find out more at


Q: How do I protect my pets from pesticide exposure?

Health Canada has information on pet safety available at

Check the product label to find out how long your pets should stay off of the treated area.


Q: How does the government protect my health and the environment regarding pesticides?

A: Health Canada employs over 350 dedicated scientists to assess every pesticide on the market. A pesticide cannot be sold unless it passes a rigorous, science-based review.

As experts, Health Canada ensures pesticides are low-risk to Canadians, their pets and the environment. As part of their review, Health Canada develops clear directions that everyone must follow to minimize risk. Products and directions are regularly re-evaluated to ensure they meet current standards.


Q: Does Health Canada’s review consider pollinators?

Bees and other pollinators play an essential role in our environment. Part of Health Canada’s review is to assess risks to pollinators. The review informs the requirements for use to reduce these risks.


Q: I have heard of links between pesticides and cancer. Why is Manitoba allowing cosmetic pesticide use?

A: Manitoba recognizes Health Canada as the expert on pesticides. Health Canada does not register pesticides that are known to increase the risk of cancer when label directions are followed.


Q: How is water protected?

A: Health Canada label directions provide set backs from surface water as needed.



Manitoba "What We Heard" document (English, PDF)

Manitoba "What We Heard" document (Français, PDF)


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