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B.C. making rodenticide ban permanent, ministry announces

A Vancouver Island group is pushing for British Columbia to become the first province in Canada to ban rat poison and other rodenticides, saying they are inhumane and have detrimental effects on local wildlife. A Vancouver Island group is pushing for British Columbia to become the first province in Canada to ban rat poison and other rodenticides, saying they are inhumane and have detrimental effects on local wildlife.
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The B.C. government is making a temporary ban on certain rodenticides permanent, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said Friday.

The regulatory changes will limit the sale and use of "second-generation rodenticides" to sectors deemed "essential services," such as hospitals and food production.

Users in those sectors must meet usage requirements or hire a licensed pest-control company to do the work.

The permanent rule changes are scheduled to take effect on Jan. 21, when an 18-month ban on the products put in place in July 2021 expires.

During the temporary ban, the province invited public consultation and spoke to experts on the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SAGRs), which can pose a risk of poisoning to wild animals that eat poisoned rodents.

The ministry said Friday that it received "almost 1,600 consultation responses" during the temporary ban, and decided to proceed with the proposed changes to the province's Integrated Pest Management Regulation.

"The changes will reduce unnecessary pesticide use by requiring individuals and businesses to focus on other methods of pest control, such as traps, less toxic rodenticide alternatives and removing food sources," the ministry said in its release.

Some of the feedback the ministry received almost certainly came from Vancouver Island residents and members of Rodenticide Free B.C.

For years, that group has been highlighting the deaths of birds of prey in the province that it believes are linked to SAGRs. Late last year, member Deanna Pfeifer recorded a video of herself walking around the Ministry of Environment building on Jutland Road in Victoria and pointing out places where SAGRs were being used.

A member of the public had called her attention to the building after finding a dead great horned owl under a nearby tree.

In her video Pfeifer found two black boxes of rodenticide near the building, and pointed out that the chemicals used in them had been banned under the temporary rule changes. 

Rodenticide Free B.C.'s efforts have met with resistance from some retailers, including Kelvin McCulloch, the president of Buckerfield’s, a home goods and outdoor gear company.

Last year, McCulloch told CTV News a permanent ban on rodenticides in the province would leave businesses with no way to effectively control the rodent population. 

"It is impossible to control rodent infestations after the trapping rate is exceeded by the breeding rate," he said at the time. 

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