Skip to navigation Skip to content



For a healthy environment, free of pesticides and toxic products

 Pesticide use goes far beyond agricultural and environmental issues, to include public health and education. 

Nadine Bachand

Senior Analyst, Agriculture and Food

The challenge 

From 2011 to 2019, Équiterre and its partners led a vast campaign supported by legal tools, public interventions and public support, to ban, in Quebec and Canada, the use of pesticides deemed dangerous to health and environment.

We highlighted:

  1. the increasingly scientifically validated dangers for human health and the environment of several pesticides commonly used in our agriculture;
  2. concern about their growing presence in our waterways and food;
  3. studies and concrete examples showing that it is possible to cultivate profitably and productively while reducing pesticides.

Équiterre and its partners campaigned for the ambitious objectives of the strategies adopted by the Quebec government aimed at reducing the risks of pesticides to be rigorously reinforced.

We put pressure on our governments by emphasizing:

  1. the lack of credibility and transparency of the pesticide approval process in Canada;
  2. the serious issues raised by conflicts of interest in pesticide research and advice in Quebec;
  3. the poor results of Quebec's strategies to reduce pesticides and their risks over the past 25 years;
  4. the power of Quebec to restrict and prohibit the sale and use of pesticides on its territory.

Equiterre's work

Équiterre and its partners have advocated to rigorously enforce Quebec's ambitious objectives towards reducing the risks of pesticides.

We were successful in legally forcing the federal government to publicly re-evaluate hundreds of products containing pesticides that are dangerous to the environment and to human health.

We have argued that in order to adequately protect Quebec's ecosystems and our health, it is essential that ambitious investments be made to ensure that as many farmers as possible adopt practices that are less dependent on synthetic pesticides.

Since 2019, Équiterre has redirected its strategy to focus less on pesticides and more on accelerating the agricultural sector's transition to low-carbon production, including nature-based solutions that regenerate soils, improve biodiversity and help ensure local food autonomy.

The impact of petitions

Équiterre has submitted thousands of signatures from petitions calling for a ban on different pesticides that pose a risk to the environment and human health.

  • 33 000 signatories for a ban on glyphosate in Canada
  • 46 000 signatories for a ban on atrazine in Canada
  • 87 000 signatories for a ban on neonicotinoids in Quebec and Canada


Project history


After several years of lobbying decision-makers and mobilizing citizens, Équiterre welcomes the progress made by the provincial government, which will promote the implementation of measures to reduce the dangers associated with pesticides.


Équiterre moves away from the pesticide ban issue to work on the root causes and promote more holistic solutions focused on soil conservation and health.


Équiterre asks the Quebec government to shed light on Quebec's funding for research on pesticides (CAPERN).

Research by Ecojustice and the coalition that includes Équiterre shows that Health Canada used a number of fraudulent studies in its decision to re-register glyphosate in Canada in April 2017.


Environmental groups victorious in Federal Court.


Équiterre hosts from the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides who conducted the largest literature review on the environmental effects of neonicotinoid pesticides.


Équiterre and its partners sue the federal government to force it to conform to the law and proceed with the review of pesticides banned for their toxicity to health and the environment in other OECD countries.

2012 à 2018

Équiterre submits several briefs, notably on the Pesticide Management Code and on the draft Quebec regulations amending the Pesticide Management Code and the regulation on permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides, on the overuse of pesticides, as well as the study report “What’s in Your Lunch?".

2011 à 2017

Équiterre launches numerous petitions, in particular to tighten the Quebec Pesticide Management Code and to ban many pesticides (atrazine, neonicotinoids, glyphosate).


Équiterre publishes an update of the report “Pesticide-free? Oui!” in which Équiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation compare the regulatory frameworks of the various Canadian provinces with respect to pesticides used for aesthetic purposes.


Équiterre publishes the report "Guide pratique des trucs et conseils en horticulture écologique".


Équiterre publishes a report entitled "Ecological Ornamental Horticulture: Getting to Know Consumers to Guide their Decision-making."


Equiterre creates an alliance with the Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides in Quebec.

Related content


Senior Analyst, Agriculture and Food
See profile

Other initiatives that might interest you