From: Lecuyer,Pierre [NCR] [] On Behalf Of Baird,John [NCR]
Sent: Friday, December 21, 2007 2:25 PM
Subject: In response to your e-mail
RE: Application under the Auditor General Act for investigations of Fisheries Act violations

Mr. Joel M. Theriault

Dear Mr. Theriault:
I am pleased to provide Environment Canada’s response to your Environmental Petition no. 214, to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, regarding the unauthorized discharge of herbicides in aquatic ecosystems in Ontario.  Your petition was received by the Department on August 29, 2007.
Attached you will find Environment Canada’s response to your petition.  I understand that the other Ministers to whom you have addressed questions will be responding separately to those questions that fall under their respective mandates.

I appreciate this opportunity to respond to your petition, and I trust that you will find this information useful.

Original signed by:
John Baird, P.C., M.P.


c.c.:   The Honourable Tony Clement, P.C., M.P.
        The Honourable Loyola Hearn, P.C., M.P.
        The Honourable Chuck Strahl, P.C., M.P.
        Mr. Ronald C. Thompson, Interim Commissioner of the Environment
          and Sustainable Development
Environment Canada’s Response to Environmental Petition no. 214, pursuant to section 22 of the Auditor General Act,
regarding the unauthorized discharge of herbicides in
aquatic ecosystems in Ontario

Item 1:Perform water sampling in northern Ontario pre and post selected herbicide applications by the forestry industry.  Applications sites to be tested should be determined by future correspondence, realizing that the spray season runs from July 1st to mid September.
Environment Canada does not monitor or test herbicide applications by industry.

Item 2:Charges under the Fisheries Act and any other appropriate legislation be laid if such sampling is demonstrative that herbicides being applied by the forestry companies are entering the waterways.
Environment Canada is responsible for enforcing subsection 36(3) of theFisheries Act, which prohibits the deposit of a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish.  Departmental enforcement officers verify compliance with the Act’s provisions and follow up with an appropriate enforcement action in the event of a violation.
All enforcement activities are conducted in accordance with the “Compliance and Enforcement Policy for the Habitat Protection and Pollution Provisions of the Fisheries Act.”  The complete text of this policy is available on Environment Canada’s website
With respect to the occurrences described in this petition, Ontario Region enforcement officers will conduct an inspection to verify compliance with theFisheries Act.

Item 3:Disclose and produce all information the responsible government agencies may possess (or have knowledge of) in regards to human and animal health effects from exposure (both long term at low dosages and short term at high dosages) to glyphosate and 2,4-D (both alone and in combination). Such mixing may occur when run off from separate spray blocks run into the same water body as well as when animals consume vegetation from multiple spray blocks, sprayed with different herbicides.
Environment Canada does not have any information pertaining to this conclusion.

Item 4:Disclose and produce all information the responsible government agencies may possess (or have knowledge of) in regards to studies of the ground water movement in Northern Ontario.
Environment Canada has conducted groundwater studies at various sites in Northern Ontario.  These studies contain some information on groundwater movement, but are not focused on this topic.
Information on groundwater research by Environment Canada in the East Bull Lake Research Area is contained in the following report, including the references therein: K.G. Raven, R.A. Bottomley, R.A. Sweezey, J.A. Smedley, and T.J. Ruttan; 1987;Hydrogeological Characterization of the East Bull Lake Research Area; National Hydrology Research Institute Paper 31; Inland Waters/Lands Directorate Scientific Series No. 160 (Inland Waters/Lands Directorate, National Hydrology Research Institute, National Hydrology Research Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, page 77).
For research on the Turkey Lakes Watershed, the following website has a compilation of reports and publications by Jeffries and Franklyn (not all studies by Environment Canada, not all dealing with groundwater)
These journal volumes also provide overviews of research on this watershed, including references to individual studies (not all studies by Environment Canada, not all dealing with groundwater):Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 45(Suppl.1), 1988;Ecosystems, 4(6), 2001; andWater, Air, & Soil Pollution: Focus, 2(1), 2002.
There are two conference publications by Environment Canada researchers that contain minor information on groundwater movement at Moose Factory. 
1) G. Bickerton, D.R. Van Stempvoort, and K. Millar; 2005;Natural attenuation of hydrocarbons in a cold-climate fuel plume in groundwater, northern Ontario (Proceedings, Assessment and Remediation of Contaminated Sites in Arctic and Cold Climates, May 8 to 10, 2005, Edmonton, Alberta, pages 217-226).  2) D.R. Van Stempvoort, G. Bickerton, S. Lesage, and K. Millar; 2004;
Cold-climate, in situ biodegradation of petroleum fuel in ground water, Moose Factory, Ontario, Canada.  (Proceedings; National Groundwater Association and American Petroleum Institute; Petroleum Hydrocarbons and Organic Chemicals in Ground Water: Prevention, Assessment, and Remediation Conference; August 17 to 18, 2004; Baltimore, Maryland; pages 131-138).
Information that is relevant to Item 4 is publicly available in two United States Geological Survey reports ( and  These results describe regional scale estimates of shallow groundwater recharge and discharge inferred from streamflow monitoring, and are limited to the portion of Northern Ontario that is located within the Great Lakes Basin.  Groundwater studies are less frequently completed in Northern Ontario and the most probable summary of information for this area may be the results of municipal groundwater studies that were sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (for example,

Item 5:Require water sampling for herbicides and their residues at all northern Ontario municipal water plants during, and for a short time after, the 2007 herbicide spray season and beyond.
Environment Canada does not have any information pertaining to this item.

Item 6:Disclose and produce all information the responsible government agencies may possess (or have knowledge of) in regards to testing for ground and surface water contamination of both glyphosate and 2.4-D in northern Ontario.
Environment Canada does not have, and is not aware of, any information that is relevant to Item 6, which focuses on specific contaminants in ground and surface water.  Potential sources of this information, if it exists, are the Ontario Ministry of the Environment's groundwater and water quality monitoring networks (for example, and

Item 7: Disclose and produce all information the responsible government agencies may possess (or have knowledge of) in regards to ground water contamination (however minor) of glyphosate and 2,4-D.
Environment Canada does not have any data on glyphosate or 2,4-D residues in groundwater from Northern Ontario.  A potential source of information might be the Ontario Ministry of the Environment's groundwater and water quality monitoring networks referred to above.  Limited information on glyphosate and 2,4-D in groundwater in northern regions of Canada other than Ontario are available from Ms. Janine Murray at

Item 8: Disclose and produce all information the responsible government agencies may possess (or have knowledge of) in regards to the impact of glyphosate and 2,4-D applications (both alone and in combination) to amphibians, including the Blue Spotted Salamander, a protected amphibian under schedule 10 of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation, 1997, S.O. 1997, CHAPTER 41.
Environment Canada does not have any information with regard to the impact of glyphosate and 2,4-D applications on amphibians.  However, a cursory (and not exhaustive) list of publications available in open literature is provided, together with a short narrative that may be helpful.
As the use of glyphosate far surpasses the use of 2,4-D in forestry (based on 2005 statistics;, it is likely that the most important publications in this list are: 1) the laboratory toxicity study by Howe et al. (examining toxicity to multiple species of amphibians of various formulations of glyphosate), 2) the mesocosm studies by Relyea, 3) the publications on RoundUp Original from Australia (Bidwell and Mann), 4) the recent glyphosate news item published inEnvironmental Science and Technology (Lubick, 2007), and 5) the series of publications where Dr. Dean Thompson is a co-author.
A common theme in these studies is the conclusion that when the original glyphosate formulations are used (in other words, the RoundUp Original formulation, a formulation that is identical to the Vision formulation that is still used in forestry), the formulated compound is toxic to aquatic organisms, including amphibians, because of a toxic surfactant in the formulation.  This surfactant is known as polyethoxylated tallowamine surfactant (POEA).
Open Literature Publications on Glyphosate and 2,4-D and Amphibians

2)      S.Y. Buslovich and N.V. Borushko.  1976. Chloroderivatives of phenoxyacetic acid as antagonists of thyroid hormones.  Farmakologiya I.Toksikologiya (Moscow), 39: 481-483.
3)      A.S. Cooke.  1972. The effects of DDT, dieldrin and 2,4-D on amphibian spawn and tadpoles.  Environ.Pollut., 3: 51-68.
4)      A.N. Edginton, P.M. Sheridan, G.R. Stephenson, D.G. Thompson, and H.J. Boermans.  2004. Comparative effects of pH and Vision® herbicide on two life stages of four anuran amphibian species.  Environ.Toxicol. Chem., 23: 815-822.
5)      A.N. Edginton, G.R. Stephenson, P.M. Sheridan, D.G. Thompson, and H.J. Boermans.  2003. Effect of pH and Release® on two life stages of four anuran amphibians.  Environ.Toxicol.Chem., 22: 2673-2678.
6)      J.P. Giesy, S. Dobson, and K.R. Solomon.  2000. Ecotoxicological risk assessment for Roundup® herbicide.  Rev.Environ.Contam.Toxicol.,
167: 35-120.
7)      Y. Hashimoto, and Y. Nishiuchi.  1981. Establishment of bioassay methods for the evaluation of acute toxicity of pesticides to aquatic organisms.  Jpn.J.PesticideSci., 6(2): 257-264.
8)      C.M. Howe, M. Berrill, B.D. Pauli, C.C. Helbing, K. Werry, and N. Veldhoen.  2004. Toxicity of glyphosate-based pesticides
to four North American frog species
.  Environ.Toxicol.Chem.,
23: 1928-1938.
9)      C.R. Johnson.  1976. Herbicide toxicities in some Australian
anurans and the effect of subacute dosages on temperature
.  Zool.J.Linn. Soc., 59: 79-83.
10)       H.B. Lillywhite.  1977. Effects of chaparral conversion on small   
             vertebrates in southern California.  Biol.Conserv., 11: 171-184.
11)       N. Lubick.  2007. Drugs, pesticides and politics – a potent mix in
      Columbia.  Environ.Sci.Technol., 41(10): 3403-3406.
12)       R.M. Mann and J.R. Bidwell.  1999. The toxicity of glyphosate and
      several glyphosate formulations to four species of southwestern
       Australian frogs.  Arch.Environ.Contam.Toxicol., 36: 193-199.
13)       R.M. Mann, J.R. Bidwell, and M.J. Tyler.  2003. Toxicity of herbicide
      formulations to frogs and the implications for product registration: A
       case study from Western Australia
.  Applied Herpetology, 1: 13-22.
14)       D. Pan and X. Liang.  1993. Safety study of pesticide on bog frog, a
       predatory natural enemy of pest in paddy field.  J. Hunan Agricultural
        College. 19(1): 47-54 (in Chinese)
15)       R.A. Relyea.  2005. The lethal impact of Roundup® on aquatic and
      terrestrial amphibians.  Ecol.Appl., 15:1118-1124.
16)       R.A. Relyea.  2004. Growth and survival of five amphibian species
       exposed to combinations of pesticides.  Environ.Toxicol.Chem.,
        23: 1737-1742.
17)       R.A. Relyea.  2005. The impact of insecticides and herbicides on
  the biodiversity and productivity of aquatic communities
.  Ecol.Appl.,
  15: 618-627.
18)       R.A. Relyea.  2006. The impact of insecticides and herbicide on the
      biodiversity and productivity of aquatic communities: Response.  Ecol.    
       Appl., 16:2027-2034.
19)       R.A. Relyea.  2005. The Lethal Impacts of Roundup and Predatory
      Stress on Six Species of North American Tadpoles.  Arch.Environ.
       Contam.Toxicol, 48: 351-357.
20)       R.A. Relyea, N.M. Schoeppner, and J.T. Hoverman.  2005. Pesticides
       and amphibians: The importance of community context. Ecol.Appl.,
21)       H.O. Sanders.  1970.  “Pesticide toxicities to tadpoles of the Western
       chorus frogPseudacris triseriata and Fowler's toadBufo woodhousii
       fowleri.”  Copeia., 1970(2): 246-251.
22)       N.N. Skokova and V.A. Lobanov.  1973. The influence of butyl ester
  2,4-D on amphibia
.  Sb.Nauchn.Tr.Tsentr.Lab.Okhr.Prir., 2: 195-201
  (in Russian).
23)       W.H. Stickel.  1975. Some effects of pollutants in terrestrial ecosystems
        In A.D. McIntyre and C.F. Mills (eds.)Ecological Toxicology Research,
        Chapter 2, Plenum, pages 25-74.
24)       M. Suwalsky, L. Quevedo, B. Norris, and M. Benites.  1999.  “Toxic
       action of the herbicide 2,4-D on the neuroepithelial synapse and
       on the nonstimulated skin of the frogCaudiverbera caudiverbera.” 
       Bull.Environ.Contam.Toxicol., 62: 570-577.
25)       D.G. Thompson, B.F. Wojtaszek, B. Staznik, D.T. Chartrand, and 
       G.R. Stephenson.  2004. Chemical and biomonitoring to assess potential
      acute effects of Vision herbicide on native amphibian larvae in forest
       wetlands.  Environ.Toxicol.Chem., 23: 843-849.
26)  United States Environmental Protection Agency.  1996. Amphibian
       toxicity data for water quality criteria chemicals.  United States
       Environmental Protection Agency 600/R-96/124, National Health
       Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Corvallis, Oregon,
       page 192 and appendices.
26)       H.K. Vardia, P.Sambasiva Rao, and V.S. Durve.  1984. Sensitivity of
      toad larvae to 2,4-D and endosulfan pesticides.  Arch.Hydrobiol., 100(3):
27)       B.F. Wojtaszek, B. Staznik, D.T. Chartrand, G.R. Stephenson, and
        D.G. Thompson.  2004. Effects of Vision herbicide on mortality,
       avoidance response, and growth of amphibian larvae in two forest
        wetlands.  Environ.Toxicol.Chem., 23: 832-842.
28)       N.P. Zaffaroni, T. Zavanella, M.L. Ferrari, and E. Arias.  1986. The
      toxicity of 2, 4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid to the adult crested newt
       Environ.Res., 41: 79-87.

Item 9:Disclose and produce all information the responsible government agencies may possess (or have knowledge of) in regards to the impact of glyphosate and 2,4-D applications to fish and other aquatic life native to Northern Ontario waterways and the artic (the final resting place for many of these chemicals).
Environment Canada does not have any information pertaining to this item.

Item 10: Disclose and produce all information the responsible government agencies may possess (or have knowledge of) in regards to the existence of endangered species in Northern Ontario. Such information should include the number of sighting reports (with forest management units for such reports included) for endangered species including (but not limited to) the Eastern Cougar (mountain lion), the Blue Pike (Blue Pickerel, Blue Walleye), and Golden Eagle.
In Canada, the responsibility for wildlife is shared among the federal, provincial and territorial governments.  The results of monitoring efforts for endangered species in Northern Ontario are housed within agencies that have jurisdiction over particular species.  Most migratory birds are the responsibility of Environment Canada, aquatic species are the responsibility of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the remainder are the responsibility of the province of Ontario, including mammals, amphibians, plants and insects.
With regard to the Eastern cougar, the Golden Eagle and the blue pike, the first two are the responsibility of the province of Ontario while the latter is the responsibility of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  As such, Environment Canada is unable to provide information on these species.
There are no endangered birds in Northern Ontario, and Environment Canada does not have any monitoring information that would fulfill this request.
Environment Canada works with other jurisdictions to maintain theSpecies at Risk Act Public Registry (  You can use the Registry’s search functions for information about the responsible agencies for other species.