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Ontario commits $5 million to war on bedbugs

Ontario commits $5 million to war on bedbugs
Thirsty for knowlegde: Queen’s Park is banking that education is the best way to fight bed bugs (Image: Liz Novak)

We’re sure it has nothing to do with it being an election year in which Toronto’s vote- and bedbug-rich ridings will be a major battleground, but Dalton McGuinty announced today that the Liberal government will be committing $5 million to a program designed to fight the spread of bedbugs. Some provincial leadership will be nice to see, but the program is more limited than some proposals, namely from the NDP.

According to the CBC, the Liberal program will include:

The government also launched a province-wide public education campaign that includes a website — bedbugsinfo.ca — that tells people how to identify and eliminate the creepy critters.

It’s also distributing a best practices guide that spells out how to identify bedbugs, perform treatments and hire a proper pest management professional.

The guide has tips on checking for bedbugs, including looking in tiny spaces such as screw and peg holes in office chairs and other furniture.

The website and funding will help thousands of people, said Toronto MPP Mike Colle, who held Canada’s first bedbug summit in Toronto in September.

Colle is also calling for an expert summit on the best methods to kill the vermin. NDP proposals had gone a bit further than today’s announcements and would have legally required landlords to take responsibility for bedbugs on their property. The Liberals are instead betting on better public education.

The announcement today comes after Toronto’s board of health annoyed Rob Ford by approving a larger-than-requested budget specifically to fight, that’s right, bedbugs. While they might be doing it for other reasons, as far as Toronto is concerned, this money might stave off yet another budget fight between the mayor and one of the city’s boards. That is, if the board can get some provincial dollars quickly.

Oh, and assuming that Queen’s Park doesn’t pull the rug out from under the city—but that’s just crazy talk.

• Ont. pledges $5M to fight bedbugs [CBC News] • Province puts $5M toward war on bed bugs [Toronto Sun] • Province to invest $5-million to fight bedbugs [Globe and Mail] • Ontario declares $5 million war on bedbugs [Toronto Star]

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