Hello all,


It has certainly been a while since the latest update on the environmental frontlines in Northern Ontario.  Since the passage of the hunting regulation amendments protecting the white moose in the Foleyet area, I’ve been actively trying to convince the government and forestry companies working in the area (Tembec and Domtar) that it wasn’t in Ontario’s best interest to spray chemical herbicides over the region.  A number of individuals have joined together requesting that government agencies including the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Provincial and Federal Ministries of Environment, Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario take appropriate steps to sample water quality before and after herbicide applications expected to occur in Northern Ontario during the summer of 2007.  Currently, such testing is not routinely performed. 


Unfortunately, the issue of herbicide application is one which is non-negotiable at the moment with Domtar and Tembec.  As class action lawsuits are successfully launched across the country on similar issues, the negotiability and financial feasibility of chemical herbicide application may change. 


For financial reasons alone, the companies refuse to implement any of the other alternative vegetation management tools available to them in the region.  The residents in Northern Ontario are literally being exposed to toxic chemicals (which have banned in municipalities across the country and in several other countries) for the sake of increasing shareholder profits.  If this notion bothers you, I urge you to express your opinion by (at a minimum) signing the linked petition and returning it to the National Aboriginal Forestry Association. 




I can’t truly express the value of every single petition filled out and returned to the NAFA office.  For those who do not have fax access, or who will be sending in many petitions, I suggest mailing them to the NAFA office.


National Aboriginal Forestry Association
396 Cooper Street

Suite 300
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada, K2P 2H7

It is important to remember that this environmental degradation affects First Nation, Métis, and all other communities in Northern Ontario alike.  No one should feel excluded or immune from this chemical contamination of our water, fish, and wildlife.    


Concerns regarding pesticide usage, including herbicides (a type of pesticide intended to kill plants), have manifested across the country in the form of municipal by-laws against the non-essential application of these chemicals.  Over 125 municipalities across the country, including Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, and Montreal have passed such bylaws severely restricting the non-essential application of these chemicals citing health and environmental concerns. 


Alan Simard, President of Saving The Region of Ontario North Group (STRONG), questions the rationale behind non-essential chemical herbicide usage.  “There are many alternatives to herbicide applications in our forests. More Government action is needed to enforce laws and regulations that should be intended in good faith to protect the people, the animals, the forests in which we live, the water we drink, and the food we eat.”


As a tourist outfitter living off the land, an avid angler and hunter myself, its very important to me to ensure that the chemical herbicides being applied by the forestry industry are not ending up in the waterways and contaminating the fish or wildlife,”  said Joel Theriault, a 3rd generation tourist outfitter with family operations between Timmins and Chapleau, Ontario.


The report submitted in July 2007 cites empirical evidence indicative that spray drift is routinely exceeding the currently required buffer zones for herbicide application.  In addition to risks of herbicides entering the waterways by spray drift, evidence is mounting that ground water may also become contaminated, later mixing with surface water holding fish.  In northern Ontario, the two main herbicides being used include glyphosate and 2,4-D as their base chemical, Round-Up and Killex respectively.  Evidence of glyphosate contaminating ground water in Cochrane, Ontario is consistent with findings in European countries such as Denmark.  2,4-D ground water contamination is well recognized globally.   


According to Lorraine A. Rekmans, the Aboriginal Affairs Advocate for the Green Party of Canada, "The systematic application of chemical herbicides in Ontario and the contamination of waterways is in violation of the Treaties signed with the original peoples of Ontario and impacts directly on basic human rights to healthy food sources. This is a violation of our Constitutionally protected rights as Aboriginal peoples.  In fact this is a violation of all people's rights.  As a member in confederation, Ontario has to take its responsibility to uphold the treaties seriously.”


“It’s time that we crucially examine “why” we’re spraying these chemicals onto our forests.  Aerial herbicide application is one of many possible tools to control the vegetation after harvesting, and it’s chosen because it’s the cheapest.  Shareholders globally are reaping the financial benefits while the residents of Northern Ontario are being exposed to unwanted chemical herbicides in their drinking water, fish, and wildlife.  It just doesn’t seem right, “said Joel Theriault.   


Alan Simard, president of the STRONG group, argues ‘’Politics and corporate profit should not take precedence over the human health of the people of Northern Ontario or the health of our lakes, rivers, and forests’’.


"Canada's Aboriginal peoples called for an end to the use of chemical herbicides under Canada's National Forestry Strategy, which was endorsed by a number of governments across the country.  Ontario has to be held accountable to its commitments,” said Lorraine A. Rekmans. 


For further information, please contact:


Joel Theriault




P.O. Box 99

Foleyet, Ontario




As always, If you’ve received this email more than one time, please let me know and I’ll fix the problem. 





An Application for Investigation in relation to alleged violations of the Fisheries Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act



Submitted by:            Joel Theriault, Environmental Coordinator: Air Ivanhoe Limited
President:  WhiteMoose.Ca


Lorraine A. Rekmans, Aboriginal Affairs Advocate:  Green Party of Canada


Alan Simard, President: The Strong Group of Northern Ontario


Julia Wallace, Martha Sullivan, Emilie Champagne, and Adrianna Pilkington with appreciation for their research efforts




Date:                           July 6, 2007 with affidavits submitted July 23, 2007



Submitted to:                

Hon. David Ramsay, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs
Whitney Block
Toronto, ON
M7A 1W3
Fax: (416) 314-2216 
Email:  minister.mnr@ontario.ca


Hon. Laurel C. Broten, Ontario Minister of the Environment
12th Floor, 135 St. Clair Avenue West
Toronto, ON
M4V 1P5
Fax: (416) 314-7337
Email:  Minister.moe@ontario.ca


Hon. John Baird, Minister of Environment
Environment Canada
Room 458, Confederation Building
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6
Fax: (613) 996-9880
Email:  john.baird@ec.gc.ca


Hon. Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
House of Commons, Parliament Buildings, Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON
Canada, K1A 0A6
Fax: (613) 990-1866
Email:  Min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca


Mr. Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
1075 Bay Street, Suite 605
Toronto, ON M5S 2B1
Fax: (416) 325-3370
Email:  commissioner@eco.on.ca



I.          Introduction

Protecting and preserving northern Ontario’s waterways from the risks associated with herbicide use in forestry operations is the focus of this Application for Investigation.  Chemical herbicide contamination of these waterways places the environmental health and economic welfare of residents in Northern Ontario into undue jeopardy. 

Herbicide use in forestry management impacts environments both north of the height of the land (north of the Arctic watershed divide) and south into the Great Lakes watershed.  

North of the Arctic watershed divide, all water flows north into the James and Hudson Bay.  Severe chemical contamination of traditional food sources is already making major impacts on the traditional life styles of the Inuit and northern Cree.  Recent testing by Environmental Defence of residents in the Arctic indicated that people in that region are being exposed to chemicals used in the south in forestry:

Results from one volunteer, a First Nations leader from northern Quebec, showed the highest levels of mercury and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as PCBs and organochlorine pesticides. These findings are consistent with previous studies indicating that, despite the distance from most point sources of pollution, many chemicals tend to accumulate in the North due to air and water currents and climatic conditions.[1]

This application is brought to highlight alleged violations of the Fisheries Act and Ontario Water Resources Act that have already occurred and in order to prevent future violations, which are expected to occur again in 2007.  Through this application, the applicants request that the Ontario Ministry of Environment (OMOE), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Environment Canada (EC) investigate past violations of the federal Fisheries Act and Ontario Water Resources Act, namely herbicides, their associated chemical formulants (surfactants used for dispersion for instance), and their breakdown products entering fish bearing waters absent authorizations under the Acts.  Further through this application, the applicants request monitoring and mitigation measures to be reviewed, renewed, and implemented to ensure compliance with the Acts.  

The Ontario forestry industry currently uses the aerial application of herbicides as the primary tool for vegetation management.  When applying these herbicides, industry appears to rely solely on the Ontario MOE/MNR guidance policy document “Buffer Zone Guidelines for the Aerial Application of Pesticides in Crown Forests of Ontario”.[2]  Although this policy document expressly indicates that it outlines minimum buffer zones, in practice, no additional buffer zones are used.  Herbicides are applied directly over headwaters that feed lakes, streams and rivers.  Herbicides also find their way into water bodies through drift, direct run-off, and from contaminated ground water that percolates to the surface and mixes with surface waters.  This application alleges, through empirical evidence, that routine contraventions of the Fisheries Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act are occurring in northern Ontario.

II.        Short Description of the Alleged Violations

The Applicants allege that there have been numerous unauthorized discharges of herbicides and herbicide formulants into northern Ontario waterways by forest management companies in Ontario.  The Applicants further allege that such actions amount to violations of section 36 of the Fisheries Act as depositions of deleterious substances into waterways frequented by fish and section 30 of the Ontario Water Resources Act as a discharge to waters that may impair the quality of the water.


III.       Detailed description of the alleged contraventions

The Impugned Actions and Alleged Contraventions

During the time period of July 1, 2005  to September 31, 2005 it is alleged that Domtar Inc. did violate the Fisheries Act and Ontario Water Resources Act by allowing herbicides and other substances (as part of the pesticide formulation) and their breakdown products to be deposited into waterways frequented by fish in the Pineland Forest Management Unit and the presence of these herbicides constituted a continuous offence as they entered water courses and flowed through water systems into James Bay.

Herbicide application under Domtar control within the Pineland Forest that are alleged to have contravened the Fisheries Act and Ontario Water Resources Act include:

- applications to the east (500 metres) and west (200 metres) of the Ivanhoe River (approximately 15 miles south of Ivanhoe Lake).  The sites are located in Pinogami township.   Block 577

            - applications to the east of Biggs lake in Biggs township.  Block 490

- applications to the north and south of Kinogama river in the Halcrow township.  Blocks 468, 470, 471, 473, 474

- applications to the south of Ivanhoe River in the Crocket township.  Block 472

- applications to the north of Ivanhoe River, north of Pike lake and Sandy lake, in the Foleyet township.  Block 59

            - applications to the south of Mishionga Lake.  Blocks P2. P3, P4

During the time period of July 1, 2006 to September 31, 2006 it is alleged that Tembec Inc. did violate the Fisheries Act and Ontario Water Resources Act by allowing herbicides and other substances (as part of the pesticide formulation) and their breakdown products to be deposited into waterways frequented by fish in the Romeo Malette Forest Management Unit and the presence of these herbicides constituted a continuous offence as they entered water courses and flowed through water systems into James Bay. 

Herbicide application blocks under Tembec control in the Romeo Malette Forest within which herbicide applications were made that are alleged to have contravened the Fisheries Act and Ontario Water Resources Act include:

-  applications to the south of Great Pike Lake, East of Horwood Lake, titled AS-13 and AS-19 on the 2006 – 2007 AWS.  Located in the Dale and Horwood townships

-  applications to the north west of Rush Lake, west of Rush River, titled AS-17 and AS-18 and AS-243 on the 2006 – 2007 AWS.  Located in the Genoa and McOwen townships.

- applications to the south east of Hardiman lake, south of Turn lake, titled AS-36 pm the 2006 – 2007 AWS.  Located in the Hardiman township.

- applications to the east of Deacon lake, titled AS-28 in the 2006 – 2007 AWS.  Located in the Childerhose township.

- applications to the west of Kenogaming lake, titled AS-33 and AS-89 on the 2006 – 2007 AWS.  Located in the Regan and Kenogaming townships.

Herbicides Deleterious to Fish and Impact Water Quality

The predominant herbicides used in forest management are 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and glyphosate.  Both herbicides are used alone and in conjunction.  They are known to contaminate ground water when used and are deleterious to fish. 

Given its impact on aquatic ecosystems, fish, and human health, 2,4-D has actually been banned in several countries.  Studies have found that “[T]he spraying of 2,4-D often contaminates ground water systems... About 91.7% of 2,4-D will eventually end up in water.”[3]  According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency studies, glyphosate enters aquatic systems through accidental spraying, spray drift, and surface runoff among other routes.[4]  Glyphosate is also known to impact fisheries and ecosystem health.  Numerous studies have found glyphosate and its primary breakdown product, AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid), as water contaminants.[5]  Glyphosate was found to have contaminated ground water systems in Denmark when used in forest management.  Glyphosate was actually detected in Cochrane, Ontario’s well water system in early 2006. 

Notably, study of the synergistic effects of 2,4-D and glyphosate mixtures, either intentional or unintentional, is not required by governments in Canada, and thus testing of synergistic impacts is limited.   

There are three main routes by which herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate are entering water bodies and impacting fisheries in northern Ontario; through drift from spraying, through direct application to water bodies and by way of run-off and percolation into ground water.


                        i.          Spray Drift

When a pesticide is applied, there is always the chance of non-target species being effected by the pesticide from drift.  The greatest drift emanates from aerial applications, since about 40 percent of the pesticide applied is typically “lost” according to studies.  Such drift adversely impacts plants, wildlife, fish and people who come into contact with such herbicides.  In 1991, over 350 illnesses and injuries were reported in California as a result of herbicide drift.[6]

In order to quantify exactly how far pesticides can drift, the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides recently examined 16 studies. It was found that pesticide drift following aerial applications typically ranged from 100 meters (330 feet) to 1600 meters (5250 feet).  However, in virtually every study pesticides were detected as far away from the application as samples were taken.[7]

In 1999, the American Association of Pesticides Control Officials surveyed agencies and determined that glyphosate was the second most common pesticide; only the herbicide 2,4-D caused more complaints.[8]  One case involving 2,4-D was in Central Washington where winds and hilly terrain combined to cause 2,4-D drift for 10 to 50 miles. [9]


In general, movement of a pesticide through unwanted drift is unavoidable.  Drift of glyphosate is no exception. Glyphosate drift, however, is particularly significant because drift "damage is likely to be much more extensive and more persistent than with many other herbicides."  This is because glyphosate moves readily within plants so that even unexposed parts of a plant can be damaged. Damage to perennial plants (when not exposed to enough glyphosate to kill them) is persistent, with some symptoms lasting several years.  In addition, plant susceptibility varies widely. Some wildflowers are almost a hundred times more sensitive than others; drift in amounts equal to 1/1000 of typical application rates will damage these species.

A simple answer to the question, "How far can I expect glyphosate to travel off site?" is difficult, since drift is highly variable.  However, extensive drift of glyphosate has been measured since the 1970s when a California study found glyphosate 800 m (2600 feet) from aerial and ground applications. Similar drift distances were found for the 8 different spray systems tested.

It is to be expected that water contamination in Northern Ontario due to herbicide drift has resulted. 

The township of Cochrane, Ontario “relies on groundwater from 3 wells” to meet their drinking needs.  In the 2005 Waterworks Report # 22 000 2047 for the Cochrane Water Treatment Plant, various contaminants are indicated as being found in the water supply including herbicides used by the forestry industry.  2,4-D and glyphosate were both found in the water supply of the town.  And as mentioned above, glyphosate was again detected in the town’s water in 2006.    

The impossibility of empirically testing with any certainty the health and environmental effects when these different chemicals interact, potentially with many other chemicals, further demonstrates a strong need for supplemental monitoring and testing, with corresponding enforcement implementation. 


                        ii.         Direct Application to Waterbodies

Ontario has guidelines in place for the aerial application of herbicides that are detailed in the Ontario Ministry of Environment (OMOE) document entitled “Buffer Zone Guidelines for the Aerial Application of Pesticides in Crown Forests of Ontario”.[10]  These guidelines require a 0 to 60 to 120 metre buffer zone around water bodies for aerial application of herbicides.  However, these guidelines do not ensure compliance (or even suggest so) with the Fisheries Act or the OWRA.  The minimum suggested buffer zones for spraying herbicides such as glyphosate and 2,4-D do not ensure that deleterious substances will not end up in aquatic ecosystems.  Notably, the guidelines do not require a buffer zone for water bodies failing to appear on a 1:50,000 scale map.  A map of such scale fails to provide detail sufficient to protect the smaller, more sensitive portions of aquatic ecosystems.  The forestry industry supplies 1:20,000 scale maps (and better electronically) to the MNR for all of forest management plans and annual work schedules. 

Science indicates that headwaters to rivers and streams are one of the most important segments of healthy aquatic ecosystems and should be protected to ensure healthy fisheries.  Spawning and rearing habitat of fish species are often located in headwaters.  As a result, headwater areas are the most vulnerable of watercourses to herbicide contamination.[11]  Buffers around watercourses set out in Ontario guidelines do not ensure that headwaters to streams and rivers are protected.  Headwaters normally do not appear on maps of a 1:50,000 scale.  However, currently the forestry industry relies solely on the MOE guidelines (as mentioned above) in determining appropriate buffer zones.  Failure to adequately protect the headwaters from herbicide deposit will almost inevitably violate the Fisheries Act and OWRA in impacting water quality and fisheries. 


                        iii.        Run-Off and Ground Water Contamination

Herbicides can leach into groundwater or runoff into rivers and streams and travel to non-target sites. 

A study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey as part of the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program examined streams in the Midwestern United States to determine the geographic and seasonal distribution of herbicides.  Of the 51 streams examined, glyphosate was found in substantial quantities in 21 of the streams collected.  Furthermore, AMPA was found in 43 of the samples.[12]

Glyphosate's persistence in soil varies widely, so giving a simple answer to the question "How long does glyphosate persist in soil?" is not possible. Half-lives (the time required for half of the amount of glyphosate applied to break down or move away) as low as 3 days (in Texas) and as long as 141 days (in Iowa) have been measured by glyphosate's manufacturer. (See Figure 6.) Initial degradation (breakdown) is faster than the subsequent degradation of what remains. Long persistence has been measured in the following studies: 55 days on an Oregon Coast Range forestry site: 249 days on Finnish agricultural soils; between 259 and 296 days on eight Finnish forestry sites; 335 days on an Ontario (Canada) forestry site; 360 days on 3 British Columbia forestry sites; and, from 1 to 3 years on eleven Swedish forestry sites. EPA's Ecological Effect's Branch wrote, "In summary, this herbicide is extremely persistent under typical application conditions. "

Glyphosate is thought to be "tightly complexed [bound] by most soils" and therefore "in most soils, glyphosate is essentially immobile." This means that the glyphosate will be unlikely to contaminate water or soil away from the application site. However, this binding to soil is "reversible." For example, one study found that glyphosate bound readily to four different soils. However, desorption, when glyphosate unbinds from soil particles, also occurred readily. In one soil, 80 percent of the added glyphosate desorbed in a two hour period. The study concluded that "this herbicide can be extensively mobile in the soil ...."

When glyphosate binds readily to soil particles, it does not have the chemical characteristics of a pesticide that is likely to leach into water. When it readily desorbs, as described above, this changes. However, glyphosate can move into surface water when the soil particles to which it is bound are washed into streams or rivers.  How often this happens is not known, because routine monitoring for glyphosate in water is infrequent. 

Glyphosate has been found in both ground and surface water. Examples include farm ponds in Ontario, Canada, contaminated by runoff from an agricultural treatment and a spill; the runoff from a watersheds treated with Roundup during production of no-till corn and fescue; contaminated surface water in the Netherlands; seven U.S. wells (one in Texas, six in Virginia contaminated with glyphosate ; contaminated forest streams in Oregon and Washington ; contaminated streams near Puget Sound, Washington ; and contaminated wells under electrical substations treated with glyphosate.

Glyphosate's persistence in water is shorter than its persistence in soils. Two Canadian studies found glyphosate persisted 12 to 60 days in pond water. Glyphosate persists longer in pond sediments (mud at the bottom of a pond). For example, the half-life in pond sediments in a Missouri study was 120 days; persistence was over a year in pond sediments in Michigan and Oregon.

Additional research and impartial testing regarding glyphosate an d 2,4-D drift, surface water run off, and ground water contamination after aerial (and ground) application is required.  Discussions with Domtar and Tembec indicate that these forestry companies do not perform post spray water sampling.  Such sampling would be relevant to rebutting the defense of due diligence (s. 78.6) to a charge under the Fisheries Act and should be expected given the additional independence from monitoring under relatively new MNR policy guidelines decreasing government monitoring and increasing self reporting obligations.[13]

1.         Violations of the Ontario Water Resources Act

The Applicants submit that the evidence discussed in this request for investigation is sufficient to warrant an investigation into violations of the following provisions of the OWRA:

30.(1)  Every person that discharges or causes or permits the discharge of any material of any kind into or in any waters or on any shore or bank thereof or into or in any place that may impair the quality of the water of any waters is guilty of an offence. 

1.(1) “waters” means a well, lake, river, pond, spring, stream, reservoir, artificial watercourse, intermittent watercourse, ground water or other water or watercourse

(3)  For the purposes of this Act, the quality of water shall be deemed to be impaired by the discharge of material if the material or a derivative of the material enters or may enter the water, directly or indirectly, and,

(a)    the material or derivative causes or may cause injury to or interference with any living organism that lives in or comes into contact with,

(i)    the water, or

(ii)    soil or sediment that is in contact with the water;

(b)    the material or derivative causes or may cause injury to or interference with any living organism as a result of it using or consuming,

(i)    the water,

(ii)    soil or sediment that is in contact with the water, or

(iii)    any organism that lives in or comes into contact with the water or soil or sediment that is in contact with the water;

(c)    the material or derivative causes or may cause a degradation in the appearance, taste or odour of the water;

(d)    a scientific test that is generally accepted as a test of aquatic toxicity indicates that the material or derivative, in diluted or undiluted form, is toxic;

(e)    peer-reviewed scientific publications indicate that the material or derivative causes injury to or interference with organisms that are dependent on aquatic ecosystems; or

(f)    the material or derivative has a prescribed characteristic or is a prescribed material.

(4)  For the purposes of this Act, water shall be deemed to be impaired if the quality of the water is deemed to be impaired.

(5)  Subsections (3) and (4) apply to all water, including the water of any water, watercourse or other waters. 


2.         Violations of the Fisheries Act

Similarly, the Applicants submit that the evidence discussed in this request for investigation is sufficient to warrant an investigation into violations of the following provisions of the Fisheries Act:

36. (3) Subject to subsection (4), no person shall deposit or permit the deposit of a deleterious substance of any type in water frequented by fish or in any place under any conditions where the deleterious substance or any other deleterious substance that results from the deposit of the deleterious substance may enter any such water.

(4) No person contravenes subsection (3) by depositing or permitting the deposit in any water or place of

(a) waste or pollutant of a type, in a quantity and under conditions authorized by regulations applicable to that water or place made by the Governor in Council under any Act other than this Act; or

(b) a deleterious substance of a class, in a quantity or concentration and under conditions authorized by or pursuant to regulations applicable to that water or place or to any work or undertaking or class thereof, made by the Governor in Council under subsection (5).

Relevant words and phrases are defined in the Fisheries Act at s. 34(1):

“deleterious substance” means

(a) any substance that, if added to any water, would degrade or alter or form part of a process of degradation or alteration of the quality of that water so that it is rendered or is likely to be rendered deleterious to fish or fish habitat or to the use by man of fish that frequent that water…

“deposit” means any discharging, spraying, releasing, spilling, leaking, seeping, pouring, emitting, emptying, throwing, dumping or placing;

“fish habitat” means spawning grounds and nursery, rearing, food supply and migration areas on which fish depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes;  

In terms of permitting, to date there have been no regulations passed under the Fisheries Act or any other federal Act permitting otherwise illegal acts under section 36 


IV.                   Seriousness of the Alleged Contraventions

The potential harm to the environment posed by continued herbicide contamination is significant.  The significance has human health implications and environmental sustainability considerations.

An investigation of herbicides contamination in waterways in northern Ontario should be conducted as a strong correlation has been found between herbicide use and human health and environmental impacts.  Further, alternatives to herbicides are available and herbicide contamination is tantamount to a violation of the rights of Canadians to a healthy environment and aboriginal peoples’ rights to healthy plant, wildlife and fisheries resources.

The effects of pesticide exposure may not always be immediately visible.  Many chemicals have been shown to have serious detrimental effects on the human body that are only visible months or years after poisoning.  For example, glyphosate has been shown to have carcinogenic and mutagenic effects on numerous organisms.  Numerous studies have also demonstrated that exposure to this pesticide is linked to problems with pregnancy.  

Numerous laboratory studies have shown the ability of glyphosate and glyphosate containing herbicide products to cause genetic damage.  In the specific study examined, Roundup, and its active agent, glyphosate, were tested in the same battery of assays for the induction of DNA damage and chromosomal effects in vivo and in vitro.  Cytogenic damage, more pronounced for the Roundup formulation, was evident in mouse bone marrow as an increase in micronucleus frequency.  DNA damaging activities of glyphosate and Roundup were also observed in the liver and kidneys of mice, in terms of DNA breaks and alkali labile sites.   Furthermore, when testing the effects of the pesticide compounds on human lymphocytes, it was shown that 72 hours after treatment, both glyphosate and Roundup significantly induced sister chromatid exchanges.[14]  These chromatid exchanges could result in mutagenic effects.

In addition, glyphosate has also been proven to have carcinogenetic effects.  Three recent studies found a link between glyphosate exposure and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.[15]  One study demonstrated that the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for men exposed to glyphosate more than two days per year was two times greater than the risk for men who were either unexposed or exposed very little.[16]  Furthermore, another study from the University of Minnesota demonstrates that both glyphosate and Roundup caused a rapid increase in cell division in human breast cancer cells.[17]

Furthermore, glyphosate exposure has been linked to increased risk of pregnancy problems, but the mechanism of action in mammals is questioned.  An article recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that both glyphosate and Roundup are toxic to human placental JEG3 cells.  Toxicity occurred within 18 hours of exposure.  Roundup appears to reduce JEG3 cell viability at least twice more efficiently than glyphosate.  This effect increases with time and was obtained with concentrations of Roundup 10 times lower than that of agricultural use.  The same study evaluated the possible capacity of glyphosate and Roundup to act as an endocrine disruptor, by measuring their effects at nontoxic levels on aromatase.  Aromatase is a mammalian cytochrome P450 enzyme crucial for sex steroid synthesis.   At nontoxic levels, aromatase activity and mRNA levels were distupted; the herbicides interacted with the active sites of the purified enzymes.[18]

Given the above, Ontario and the federal government ought to act in a precautionary manner to reduce herbicides entering waterways and investigate acts resulting in such contamination.

V.        Summary of Evidence


(a) List of material evidence that supports your allegation.

The applicants have not conducted testing of waterways as of yet for herbicides and herbicide residues. 

(b) Names and addresses of anyone who might be able to give evidence about the alleged contraventions.

Joel Theriault

The applicant Joel Theriault is a third generation tourist outfitter with family tourism operations on the Superior Martel, Pineland, Romeo Malette, Gordon Cosens, Spanish, and other forest management units Ontario.  His family has operated hunting and fishing camps in Northern Ontario for over 50 years.  In his capacity as a commercial pilot in the region, Joel Theriault has witnessed the effects of herbicide application on flora and fauna.  He has witness the flora being entirely destroyed (except replanted jackpine) and the fauna disappearing from the landscape for a lengthy period of time, only passing through sprayed areas in transit to healthier ecosystems.  Areas where Joel viewed bears and moose every time he flew over became devoid of wildlife almost immediately after herbicide application, taking many years (5 to 7) before the area began to become suitable as wildlife habitat.  For years, Joel has viewed areas where pesticide drift has reached water bodies, evidenced by strips of vegetation destruction along shorelines.

The sites listed as locations where Fisheries Act violations have taken place were selected for several reasons including: 

- personal viewing (and filming) of many of the sprayed areas pre and post herbicide application by Joel Theriault

- annual work schedule maps showing proposed herbicide application along with annual pesticide summary reports

- family business entirely dependent on source water protection in the selected areas

- personal interests in hunting, fishing, and gathering edible vegetables depends on maintaining the environmental integrity of the area

 (c) Documents and other materials that should be considered in the investigation.

Documents that should be considered in the investigation include the annual work schedules for the forestry companies and mapping information that the applicators would have on file with the forestry companies.  

VI.  Previous Contact with The Ministry or Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

The applicant Joel Theriault has been in contact with Kathy McDonald, APEP Supervisor, Technical Support, Ontario Ministry of Environment – Northern Region, Sudbury, beginning on August 09, 2006 regarding an application to revoke pesticide permits under s. 11(3) of the Ontario Pesticides Act in relation to the Superior Martel, Spanish, Romeo Mallette, Gorden Cosens, Pineland, and Sapawe forest management units in Northern Ontario.  The request was denied on August 30, 2006. 

The applicant Joel Theriault has also been communicating with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Environment requesting individual environmental assessment for the Superior Martel 2006-2026 Forest Management  Plan and the Pineland 2006-2026 Forest Management Plan, specifically in relation to herbicide applications and impacts to the environment.  Requests for environmental assessment for the Superior Martel were denied March 27, 2007.  Requests for environmental assessment for the Pineland were denied March 15, 2007. 

A large quantity of correspondence and meetings with the Ontario MNR have been held regarding these applications and for other forest management units in Northern Ontario.  Issue resolution meetings have been held on numerous occasions.


VII.     Conclusion

Overall, the applicants request that Ontario government and the federal government undertake investigations into these alleged violations of the Ontario Water Resources Act and the Fisheries Act

Further, since subsequent herbicide applications are expected to occur from July 1, 2007 to September 31, 2007 in the Superior Martel, Spanish, Romeo Mallette, Gorden Cosens, Pineland, and Sapawe forest management units in Northern Ontario, we request that water impairment analysis and baseline testing be performed previous to applications and after to determine whether pesticides, formulants and pesticide breakdown products are entering and affecting watercourses and fisheries from such applications.

The precise locations to be tested pre and post herbicide application should be jointly determined in correspondence in the near future.

I look forward to developing a comprehensive strategy to effectively detect the presence and sources of the above mentioned herbicides in Northern Ontario’s pristine waterways. 


Most sincerely,



Joel Theriault
P.O. Box 99
Foleyet, Ontario
P0M 1T0

Phone:  705-899-2155
Email:  Joel@WhiteMoose.Ca


[1] http://www.environmentaldefence.ca/toxicnation/report/Rev_English20Web.pdf

[2]  Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy, Buffer Zone Guidelines for Aerial Application of pesticides in Crown Forests of Ontario, online: < http://www.ontariosportsman.com/pesticide-documents/MOE-Buffer-Zone-Guideline-1992.pdf>

[3]  2,4-D fact sheet - Sierra Club of Canada, available online at  http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/programs/health-environment/pesticides/2-4-D-fact-sheet.shtml

[4] http://www.epa.govWDW/dwh/t-soc/glyphosa.html

[5] Frans, L.M. 2004. Pesticides detected in urban streams in King County, Washington, 1999-2003. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5194. Http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/sir2004-5194/.

[6] Cox, C. Indiscriminately From the Skies. 1995. Journal of Pesticide Reform 15: 1-7.

[7] Cox, C. Indiscriminately From the Skies. 1995. Journal of Pesticide Reform 15: 1-7.

[8] Cox, C. Glyphosate Herbicide Factsheet. 2004. Journal of Pesticide Reform. 24: 10-15.

[9] Cox, C. Indiscriminately From the Skies. 1995. Journal of Pesticide Reform 15: 1-7.

[10]  Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy, Buffer Zone Guidelines for Aerial Application of pesticides in Crown Forests of Ontario, online: < http://www.ontariosportsman.com/pesticide-documents/MOE-Buffer-Zone-Guideline-1992.pdf>

[11] Martin, M.J., Haigh, J., Jansky, J., Hellin, J. 2004.  Headwater deforestation:  a challenge for environmental management.  Global Environmental Change, 14:  pp. 51-61

[12] Schribner, E.A. Battaglin, W.A., Dietze, J.E., and Thurman, E.M. 2003. Reconnaissance data for glyphosate, other selected herbicides, their degradation products, and antibiotics in 51 streams in nine Midwestern states, 2002. U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program. Open-File Report 03-217.

[13] Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (1998, 37) Open Doors: Annual Report. Toronto

[14] Bolognesi, C., Bonatti, S., Degan, P., Gallerani, E., Peluso, M., Rabboni, R. Roggieri, P. And Abbondandolo, A., 1997. Genotoxic Activity of Glyphosate and Its Technical Formulation Roundup. J. Agric. Food Chem. 45:1957-1962.

[15] Cox, C. Glyphosate Herbicide Factsheet. 2004. Journal of Pesticide Reform. 24: 10-15.

[16] McDuffie, H.H. 2001. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and specific pesticide exposures in men: Cross-Canada study of pesticides and health. Cancer Epidemiology and Biomarkers Prevention. 10:1155-1163.

[17] Lin, V. And Garry, V. 2000. In vitro studies of cellular and molecular development toxicity of adjuvants, herbicides, and fungicides commonly used in Red River Valley, Minnesota. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health A 60:423-439.

[18] Richard, S., Moslemi, S, Sipahutar, H., Benachour, N. Seralini, G.E., 2005. Differential Effects of Glyphosate and Roundup on Human Placental Cells and Aromatase. Environmental Health Perspecitives. 113: 716-721