The Weed Control Act

Res #: 4-18A
Number: 4
Year: 2018
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

WHEREAS The Weed Control Act has numerous provisions mandating that land owners, land occupants, municipalities and appointed weed inspectors take the measures necessary to control prohibited, noxious and nuisance weeds;

WHEREAS section 21 of The Weed Control Act provides authority for issuing an order on an owner or occupant of land if that owner or occupant has not taken the steps necessary to control prohibited, noxious or nuisance weeds in a fashion or timeline that the weed inspector considers appropriate;

WHEREAS once the date in the order has passed and if the owner or occupant of the land is still non-compliant, the municipality must then ensure that the provisions of the order are carried out pursuant to the order issued by the weed inspector;

WHEREAS this is done at the expense of the municipality until such time that the costs can be recovered through invoice or land tax payment, therefore causing the cost of controlling the prohibited, noxious or nuisance weeds to be borne by all ratepayers of the municipality;

WHEREAS the costs to a certain amount per acre can be recovered from the land owner or occupant for controlling, isolating or destroying the prohibited, noxious or nuisance weeds there is no provision in The Weed Control Act to allow for the recovery of the costs the municipality may incur prior to carrying out the order;

WHEREAS there are numerous provisions in The Tax Enforcement Act that provide for all costs incurred by a municipality relating to the tax enforcement process to be added to the land for which the costs are related;

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to amend The Weed Control Act to allow for all costs incurred by a municipality with relation to detecting, notifying, corresponding, controlling etc. prohibited, noxious and nuisance weeds to be recovered in the same manner as taxes pursuant to The Cities Act, The Municipalities Act or The Northern Municipalities Act.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture & Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

September 26, 2022

Cost-recovery provisions in provincial laws exist to protect municipalities from extraordinary costs of enforcing those laws. Costs incurred by municipalities for conducting weed control measures  on private land for landowners that do not comply with The Weed Control Act is an extraordinary cost and this is addressed by provisions of The Weed Control Act. A weed inspector, appointed voluntarily by the municipality, is considered an employee of the municipality that provides a service for the entire municipality. A weed inspector dealing with a specific, non-compliant landowner is therefore not considered an extraordinary cost. 

In addition to the ability to recoup weed control costs associated with non-compliant landowners, The Weed Control Act has provisions for fines of up to $5,000 for non-compliance of chronic offenders, whereas fines under The Tax Enforcement Act are limited to $200. 

The Honourable David Marit – Minister of Agriculture, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

November 15, 2022

As my predecessor, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, mentioned in his response to you, provincial regulations under Saskatchewan’s Weed Control Act set out landowner requirements for the eradication, containment or control of prohibited, noxious and nuisance weed species. At the federal level, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulates weed within the seeds pathway via the Seeds Act and the Seeds Regulations. The Weed Seeds Order, 2016 classifies species that are prohibited in seed sold in or imported into Canada, and the Plant Protection Act regulates plants and plant pests, including harmful weedy species. Please note that these CFIA plant regulations apply to all production systems, including products marketed as organic. 

The Canada Organic Regime uses a third-party service delivery system for accreditation and certification of organic products. To use the organic logo, products must be certified according to the Canadian Organic Standards. These standards are overseen by the Canadian General Standards Board and incorporated by reference in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. Certification bodies certify only those products that comply with the requirements of the regulations, and CFIA oversees those certification bodies. 

The Canadian Organic Standards do not contain any provisions referring to controlling “noxious weed” in particular on organic land. The standards only require that weed control practices focus on organic management techniques that enhance crop health and reduce losses due to weeds. Organic producers must take all measures prescribed in the standards to prevent or control weed in general, and this is verified by the certification bodies. 

Any changes to those standards would be made through the Canadian General Standards Board standards review process. For more information on participating in any future revisions, please visit Public Services and Procurement Canada’s Organic agriculture Web page. 

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau – Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Foods, Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada