As a community, we need to reduce our reliance on chemical pesticides and learn new ways to achieve beautiful lawns and gardens.
In 2008 the City of Victoria became the first municipality in the Capital Region to adopt a bylaw to regulate the use of pesticides on residential and public property.
- City of Victoria Pesticide Use Reduction Bylaw [PDF - 52 KB]
- FACT SHEET: Reducing Our Reliance on Pesticides: The Pesticide Use Reduction Bylaw
- FACT SHEET: What Industry Needs to Know about Victoria's Pesticide Use Reduction Bylaw [PDF - 183 KB]
The following fact sheets provide helpful information on preventing garden pests without the use of pesticides.
- Eco-Friendly Tent Caterpillar Control [PDF - 69 KB]
- Alternative Pest Control Strategies [PDF - 19 KB]
- Winter Moth Management [PDF - 111 KB]
- Much About Mulch [PDF - 111 KB]
- Plantings for Winter Colour [PDF - 109 KB]
Encourage Beneficial Bugs
Lady bugs are a beneficial insect that eat pests such as aphids, beetle larvae and spider mites that feed on Victoria gardens. Since 1994, City Parks has released lady bugs and other beneficial insects to reduce pesticide use on public lands.
Victoria residents can attract lady bugs to their yard by planting umbrella-shaped flowers that are high in nectar and pollen such as cosmos, geraniums and coreoposis, as well as herbs such as cilantro, dill and fennel. Lady bugs can also be purchased in the spring for residential use at some local nurseries.
For more information on recognizing and encouraging beneficial bugs to your garden, you may find the following links helpful:
- Beneficial Insects - Predators, Parasitoids and Pollinators - [PDF 511KB]
- Beneficial Insects - Wikipedia
Why do we need a bylaw?
The Pesticide Use Reduction Bylaw is in place to protect the natural environment by regulating and reducing the non-essential (cosmetic) use of pesticides, specifically on lawns, trees, shrubs, and flowers, to beautify residential and public property.
The bylaw still allows pesticides to be used on hard landscaping surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, curbs, and gutters, as well as on or inside buildings.
A pesticide can be long lived. It often spreads from where it is applied and can easily move through the air, land and water to our lakes, streams and ocean. Although an individual lawn or garden may seem quite small, the cumulative effect of pesticide use on many lawns and gardens can have a significant impact on a neighbourhood and our environment.
Who does the bylaw apply to?
The bylaw applies to all Victoria residents living in single family homes, townhouses, duplexes, apartment buildings, and condominiums, as well as landscape professionals and lawn care companies that do business within Victoria's boundaries.
Who does the bylaw not apply to?
The bylaw does not apply to commercial, institutional or industrial properties. This includes mixed-use condominium/business developments.
As well, the bylaw does not apply to the management of pests that are designated as invasive species, and the application of pesticides: on residential areas of farms; on or inside buildings; on land used for agriculture, forestry or transportation; or on land used for pipelines or public utilities unless the pipeline or utility is City-owned.
What is a pesticide?
Pesticide is the general term for any substance designed to eliminate undesired insects, weeds, rodents, fungi, bacteria and other organisms. Pesticides come in many forms and can be categorized as insecticides (for insects), herbicides (for weeds), and fungicides (for fungal diseases).
How do I know if a product is a pesticide?
The best way to tell if a product is a pesticide is to check its label. Any product that has a Pest Control Product or PCP number near the list of ingredients is a pesticide.
Are there any pesticides that I can still use?
A list of reduced-risk, "permitted" pesticides which are regulated for use in British Columbia by the Provincial Government, is available below. A permit from the City of Victoria is not required to use these pesticide products.
Permit process - a last resort
If pesticide alternatives have not worked or are not available, and the pest infestation threatens the integrity of sensitive ecosystems or poses a serious environmental or economic loss to an owner or occupier of land, a permit to use a pesticide may be issued by the City of Victoria.
What does the permit process involve?
Applying for a permit should be the last resort if alternate methods of pest management have failed. Permit applications are available below, at the City of Victoria Bylaw and Licensing Services office, and at the Public Service Centre at City Hall. An application fee of $25 is to be paid upon issue of a permit.
Please complete an application in full and email, fax or mail it to the contact information below. Applications can also be dropped off in person at the Bylaw and Licensing Services office at 625 Pandora Avenue, Monday - Friday, from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Allow seven working days for processing as a site inspection is required to determine if a permit can be issued. The site visit will also determine the number of notification signs required on a property when a pesticide is used. Signs are $5 each and are refundable upon return.
Applicants will be notified whether their application has been approved or declined. If approved, an applicant will be asked to visit the Bylaw and Licensing Services office to pick up the permit, pay the $25 fee and $5 for each required refundable lawn sign. Payment can be made by cash, cheque, debit or credit card.
Bylaw and Licensing Services
City of Victoria
1 Centennial Square
Victoria, BC V8W 1P6
Tel: 250.361.0215 Fax: 250.361.0205
Are there restrictions for permitted use?
The bylaw contains a number of restrictions for permitted use, such as distances of application from public transit stops, school yards, parks, wells, lakes and streams.
Pesticides cannot be applied when wind exceeds 8 km/hr, in the rain or when rain is forecast, or when temperatures exceed 27 degrees Celsius. For a complete list or restrictions, see the Pesticide Use Reduction Bylaw [PDF - 52 KB].
When enforcement of the Pesticide Use Reduction Bylaw commenced in January 2009, Bylaw officers focused on educating residents and industry professionals for the first three months, rather than issuing tickets.
Starting April 2009, Bylaw officers began issuing tickets for the non-essential use of pesticides on residential and public lawns, trees, shrubs and flowers.
Contravention of the bylaw or the conditions outlined in a pesticide permit, may result in fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 depending on the offence. The fine for spraying a pesticide for non-essential use on residential or public lawns, trees, shrubs and flowers is $1,000.
Residents who are concerned about the possible non-essential use of pesticides in their neighbourhood, can contact the City of Victoria Bylaw and Licensing Office at 250.361.0215.
To learn more on how to garden without the use of pesticides, visit:
- Capital Regional District
For a series of fact sheets on common pests: www.crd.bc.ca/rte/pest/facts.htm
For quick garden tips: www.crd.bc.ca/rte/pest/garden_tips.htm
- Greater Victoria Compost Education Centre
The Greater Victoria Compost Education Centre is a not for profit organization in Victoria that provides composting and organic gardening education to CRD residents. For more information, contact 250.386.9676 or visit www.compost.bc.ca
For fact sheets on composting and organic gardening: www.compost.bc.ca/learn/howto.htm
- Gaia College
Located in Victoria, Gaia College offers a range of organic gardening programs.
- Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Institute for Sustainable Horticulture
Located in Langley, BC, this organization offers information on sustainable horticulture
- SOUL - Society for Organic Urban Land Care
Also located in Victoria, SOUL supports landscape professionals and communities in the transition to organic land care practices. www.organiclandcare.org
How to Dispose of Pesticides
Household hazardous waste is any toxic product located within a home that poses a threat to public health and the environment when handled, stored and/or disposed of improperly. Pesticides are one example of household hazardous waste.
For information on how to properly dispose of unused pesticides and old pesticide containers: