Keywords:Pesticide Control Act – s.15; stay application; pesticide use permit.
This was an application by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (the “SLRD”) for a stay of a pesticide use permit issued to BC Rail by the Deputy Administrator, Pesticide Control Act.
The pesticide use permit authorizes the application of certain herbicides to the ballast sections of BC Rail’s mainline and sidings between mile 100 (north of Pemberton) and mile 131 (north of D’Arcy). The permit contains a number of conditions, including public notification and pesticide-free zone requirements. SLRD opposes the permit on the grounds that: a previous permit for the same section of rail line contained greater protective measures; consideration has not been given to the potential adverse health and environmental effects; and alternative methods of vegetation control are available.
The Board applied the three-part test for a stay application as set out in the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in RJR Macdonald v. Canada. The Board found that there was a serious issue to be tried, however, SLRD had not adequately established that they would suffer irreparable harm, or that the balance of convenience should favour the granting of a stay. The Board concluded that SLRD had provided insufficient evidence that the use of the herbicides according to the conditions of the permit would cause irreparable harm. The Board further determined that SLRD had not established that the potential for harm to human health and the environment if a stay was refused should outweigh the potential unsafe operation of the railway if a stay was granted. The application for a stay was refused.