Posts Tagged ‘bedbugs’

Supporting the Fight Against Bed Bugs Province of Ontario Invests $5 Million in Local Public Health Unit Programs

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Supporting the Fight Against Bed Bugs Province of Ontario Invests $5 Million in Local Public Health Unit Programs

Dear Friends,

Today, I was happy to announce that the Government of Ontario is investing $5 Million to support the fight against bed bugs. The province’s 36 public health units will be able to apply for funding to support bed bug-related programs that emphasize coordination with other local services, education and awareness and/or provide supports to vulnerable populations. A total of $5 million will be invested by the province to support these programs.

In addition, a new public education website featuring tools has been launched to give Ontarians a one-stop-shop to get accurate information and simple, easy-to-use tips to combat infestations. The province is also distributing a guide, An Integrated Pest Management Program for Managing Bed Bugs, to stakeholders on how to identify bed bug infestations, perform inspections properly, prepare living areas for treatment and carry out pest treatments. The province and the public health units are also working to develop better ways to assess bed bug activity and infestations. This announcement was a response to the Top 20 Recommendations from the Bed Bug Summit at Queen’s Park which I hosted on September 29, 2010.


· Toronto Public Health has seen a dramatic increase in infestation reports – from 46 in 2003 to more than 1,500 in 2009.

· Adult bed bugs are 3mm – 5mm in size – about the size and shape of an apple seed – and a reddish brown color. LEARN MORE

· Bed Bug Initiatives · For information on bed bugs and how to prevent or get rid of them, visit

Results from the Bedbug Summit II

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Recommendations and Strategies:

Arising from the Bed Bug Summit at Queen’s Park,
held on September 29, 2010,
to help Combat, Control and Contain Bed Bug Infestations in our Communities and Our Province

By:  MPP Mike Colle

1.       Province-Wide Public Education and Public Awareness Campaign

A successful strategy in the fight against Bed Bugs requires the  cooperation of everyone, including all levels of government, public and private stakeholders, and the public at large.

A province-wide public education and public awareness campaign should be developed by the Province of Ontario, to ensure the public is aware of ways in which  they can identify, prevent, and control Bed Bug infestation.

The Provincial Government should develop a public education campaign in partnership with local public health agencies, local municipalities, local school  boards, local transit authorities, hospitals, private sector partners in housing, and the  hospitality industry.

Brochures, advertisements, public transit and public service announcements, in multiple languages, should be distributed to the public at large, which includes information on how to identify, prevent and control Bed Bugs.

Information kits should be made available to landlords, schools, long-term care facilities, hospitals, and public and private facilities such as hotels, motels, libraries,  and so forth, that may be susceptible to Bed Bug infestations.

The public awareness campaign should include a wide use of online resources such as websites and social media.

An information hotline must also be created, where residents can call to report Bed Bug infestations or express any questions or concerns.   This province-wide public education and public awareness campaign, should
contain consistent messaging across the Province, in clear, plain English, that the general public can easily understand.

2.        Scientific Base Line Study to Examine the Causes and Effects of  Bed Bug Infestations in Ontario

The Province should establish a panel of experts, to determine what the safest and most effective practices are to control and prevent Bed Bug infestations,  (i.e. examining the safety and effectiveness of various chemicals and strategies such  as the use of heat and cold treatment), and the effectiveness of home remedies.

3.        Review of Provincial Legislation

The Province should undertake a review of legislation, such as the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Municipal Licensing Act, Ontario Works Legislation, and the Occupational Health Act, to determine whether steps have to be taken to ensure that these Provincial Laws are compatible with the initiatives needed to combat Bed Bugs.

4.        Focused Training of Public Service

The Province should ensure that relevant Public Servants are given the proper orientation and background in order to better deal with Bed Bug infestation, and how  they can partner in providing solutions and proper protocols to prevent  infestations throughout their Ministry or Agency.

5.        Federal Government Action Required

The Federal Government needs to undertake a national overview in tracking the  infestation of Bed Bugs across the country.   The Federal Government should examine the possibility of establishing new procedures, at various border crossings, to ensure that proper protocols and inspections are undertaken to stop the importation of Bed Bugs into Canada.

There needs to be an audit undertaken of possible sources of cross border  infestation, such as the importation of used vehicles, furniture, and clothing.  While the more obvious vehicles (i.e. trucks delivering mattresses, furniture,
and clothing) should be inspected, other delivery vehicles should also be inspected to ensure Bed Bugs are not being transported within vehicles (such as moving vans and used vehicles).

6.        Partnership with Local Public Health Units

The Province should partner with local public health units, to track the existence of infestations throughout the Province.   The Province should also partner with local public health units, every Residential health and social service agency, public agencies in hospitals, hotels,  motels, hostels, schools, long-term care facilities, and local Community Care Access Centres (CCAC’s), to establish better training and awareness, and to establish better front line containment and prevention strategies in high risk areas.

7.        Funding and Support for Non-Profit Housing Providers

The Province should undertake to provide funding and support for Housing Providers, in their efforts to contain and combat infestations in acute and serious cases, where immediate intervention is warranted.  This intervention could be modeled in a pilot project that would replicate the Extreme Cleaning currently being practiced by some of the social service providers in the City of Toronto.

8.       Comprehensive Strategy to Deal with our Most Vulnerable

A comprehensive strategy to deal with our most vulnerable residents should be  established.   The Province needs to establish a series of strategies that will support  vulnerable individuals that reside in assisted public housing that, through no fault of  their own, have been infested with Bed Bugs and are unable to cope, due to a mental
or physical disability, age, frailty, lack of financial resources, or lack of support to deal with the infestation.

There needs to be a coordinated strategy employed, that would include public health nurses, public health agencies, social service agencies (such as Woodgreen Community Services and St. Clair West Services for Seniors), to work hand in hand with public housing providers.   The Province should also find ways to fund treatment and cleaning of Bed
Bugs for vulnerable and low-income residents.  There is a need for expert intensive case management to assist people in  preparing homes for treatment, recovering from treatment, and avoiding repeat outbreaks. High Support Case Management for vulnerable individuals is required in order to attend to their needs.

9.   Need for  Provincial Coordination

The Province (either through the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, or the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing),  needs to ensure that all government ministries and their resources are made available in this battle against Bed Bug infestation.   A designated office should provide coordination and information sharing for all  parts of government that might be helpful in dealing with this challenge.

This central office could be established to focus on the immediate actions  needed to contain this infestation, and to recommend long-term strategies, and  long-term actions required to prevent and control Bed Bug infestation.

The designation of an individual (or individuals), to oversee this office and co-ordinate a provincial response is essential.

10.   Establishment of a Private Sector “Roundtable Partnership”

The Province should help establish a private sector “Roundtable Partnership”,  to see how the private sector might be able to support the local governments, and the Provincial Government, in their efforts to combat Bed Bugs.

The private sector might be asked to contribute support in providing products (i.e. mattress covers, discounted furniture, and vacuum cleaners) to those of low  income, who are unable to deal with the high costs associated with Bed Bug  Infestation.

11.  Establishment of an Expert Panel of Scientists

The Province should establish an expert panel of scientists from both within government and outside of government, to advise and support government scientists and public health experts who are engaged in Bed Bug infestation control,
containment, and combat.   This panel needs to ensure there is a national and international intervention and best practices regime established for ongoing state of the art remedies.

12.   Establishment of Best Practices for Pest Control

The Province, in cooperation with Pest Control experts, should determine the best method model for pest control protocols. There needs to be coordination, and an effort to work with pest control experts, to develop ongoing best practices (and the safest strategies), in dealing with infestations.  Training, and possible certification of
qualified individuals to deal with Bed Bugs is also recommended.

There needs to be an effort to eliminate delays and confusion in the approval of safe chemicals to fight Bed Bug infestation.   A full scale Integrated Pest Management System needs to be developed and shared with all professional pest management stakeholders.

13.   Long-Term Sealing, Caulking, Scrubbing Program

There needs to be implementation of a long-term sealing, caulking, scrubbing program, that would be established as a possible standard for all Public Health Agencies, in cooperation with public housing providers and other residential housing providers

14.  Examination of Over the Counter Chemicals

Over the Counter sales of chemicals to the general public should be examined and evaluated for their safety and effectiveness.

15.   Role for Our Schools in Expanding Awareness

All school boards should undertake a public awareness campaign through parents, teachers, and students, to educate them on the control and hazards of Bed Bug infestations.

16.   Strategy for Seniors

There needs to be an organized outreach program undertaken by the Province,  in cooperation with municipal authorities, that focuses on the special needs of our Seniors and the strategies that could be employed to help vulnerable seniors deal with Bed Bug infestations.

17.   Review Building Code Guidelines and Procedures for New  Construction and Renovations

Possible new building practices should be examined (especially for multi-resident homes), that would help in preventing future infestations. These  practices should also be applied to building renovations, so that any renovations would be completed in a manner that would help prevent Bed Bug infestations from spreading (i.e. possible use of diatomaceous earth).

18.   Establish Best Practices for Waste Disposal Protocols

Best Practices for Waste Disposal Protocols should be established, especially in the case of items such as mattresses, used furniture, clothing, and toys. The General Public should be warned on the risks associated with bringing used items into their homes or places of employment, without proper cleaning and disinfection.

19.   Used Goods Warnings

Clear, identifiable warnings need to be placed on household items (such as mattresses, furniture, toys, and clothing), which have been discarded because of Bed Bug infestation. Perhaps the use of a simple large orange “X” might be

20.   Minimum Standard Benchmarks and Protocols for Schools

There should be minimum set of standards set in place, highlighting  benchmarks in schools, day care centres, colleges and universities, in the identification, control, and methodology used in dealing with Bed Bug infestation.


Thank you to all who attended the Bed Bug Summit at Queen’s Park, and who made their most helpful contributions.

It is imperative that all sectors of society engage in a comprehensive and  co-operative effort to fight Bed Bug infestation.  The longer we delay in taking a leadership role, the more difficult and costly it will be to stem the spread of
infestation, and the more severe the negative health and economic impacts of Bed  Bugs will be on the people of Ontario.

Results from the Bedbug Summit

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The OLA was the official voice of “small business landlords” at MPP Colle’s helpful and important “Bedbug Summit” at Queen’s Park in September.

We would like to thank Mr. Colle and his helpful staff for organizing the Summit.

The OLA was proud to have April Stewart, an OLA member and the owner of Landlord Legal ( speak on our behalf. We also had several members present in the audience asking the hard questions and providing a strong voice for small business landlords.

By all accounts small business landlords were well represented. Ms. Stewart’s speech created such a strong impression, MPP Colle spoke about her in his closing comments. The other OLA members present made a huge impact, even confronting Toronto Star columnist Joe Fiorito and educating him about the difference between REIT corporate landlords and small business landlords. Thank you Skitter. Thank you BigFoot.

For the first time in years, small business landlords were on the stage, in the spot-light, and making their voices… YOUR VOICE…heard!! The OLA for small business landlords is a non-profit, education organization created to help small business landlords in Ontario. Everyone involved is a landlord in Ontario…just like you.

Monday, November 22nd, 2010


M.P.P. to Release Recommendations to Province
Arising from Bed Bug Summit at Queen’s Park

On Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010, Mike Colle, MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence, will release his recommendations to the Province of Ontario, arising out of the Bed Bug Summit hosted at Queen’s Park on September 29th, 2010.

“Bed Bug infestation is not just a Toronto problem. We need a comprehensive provincial strategy to help deal with this scourge.” said MPP Mike Colle, who has led the fight to bring the issue forward at Queen’s Park.

“It is imperative that all sectors of society, along with all levels of government, engage in a comprehensive and co-operative effort to fight Bed Bug infestation,” said Colle.

Key stakeholders and community advocates involved in the front line efforts in fighting the Bed Bug infestation were invited to the Bed Bug Summit at Queen’s Park to share their best practices in dealing with Bed Bugs, and offer solutions on how to best control infestations.

MPP Colle is hoping that key recommendations will be adopted and implemented by all levels of government, and everyone dealing with infestation.


Date: Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Queen’s Park – Media Studio
Main Legislative Building
Room 139

For additional information, please contact:

Nancy Caetano
Executive Assistant
Office of Mike Colle, M.P.P.
Tel: 416-325-4091

Ontario’s Bedbug Solution: Penalize Landlords

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

No doubt something has to be done about the bedbug pandemic.  Landlords who encounter the pests suffer from unhappy tenants and others are stepping up inspections and cleaning efforts to reduce outbreaks.

Yet, when it comes to eradicating bedbugs all eyes seem to turn to landlords as the enforcers.  Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo is proposing that any landlord who wishes to renew a rental license obtain a bedbug inspection on the rental property.  DiNovo refers to this solution as “self-funded” because landlords will pay a fee for every inspection.

Many feel Ontario landlords are already overburdened with regulation, and that they are among the victims of this troubling issue.

While landlords have a duty to provide a safe, healthy environment for tenants, which implies a unit free from pest infestations, many experts are blaming the sudden surge in bedbugs on the government’s banning of the pesticides used to control them in the first place.

Ontario Property Manager Vincent Shanahan points out, “If the banning of pesticides is the major contributor to the problem, and landlords are forced to clean up the infestations, then there should be a fund established by the government for landlords to turn to for compensation.”

It is impossible to trace how bedbugs get into a particular rental unit.  The bugs can travel easily from one unit to the next, and have also been know to remain dormant for over a year – the time it takes for a tenant to come to the end of their lease agreement and move on. While the proposed law requires accountability on the part of landlords, there is no corresponding requirement that a tenant report to their new landlord that they found bedbugs in the same furnishings they are about to introduce into another building.

Shanahan points out another problem: a landlord faces an almost impossible task when treating bedbugs, because the unit has to be adequately prepared for the pest control treatment.  This is work that the tenant must perform.  But when it comes time for treating an outbreak, Shanahan finds that the tenants are never ready. “When you can’t force the tenants to do their part properly, how can a landlord ensure successful remediation?” he asks.  Shanahan finds that the LTB system moves slowly and is too tenant-friendly to be of any use in resolving the situation.

In addition, the newest pesticides don’t seem to work.  DDT was a major deterrent to bedbugs in the past, but was found too toxic for widespread use.  At that time, however, bedbug populations had been severely reduced. As a result, few manufacturers focused on an alternative to DDT in treating bedbugs.  Landlords are now faced with paying for costly treatments that may have a minimal affect on the bugs.  Leaving any adults alive to breed or eggs to hatch literally guarantees a re-infestation.

Still, Shanahan attempts to manage any potential threat of bedbugs in his properties.  “I have distributed information sheets to my tenants concerning the bedbug infestation in North America, and how to recognize and treat infestations. However, try posting all that information in the common lobbies, etc., and see how many new tenants you will obtain!”

Vincent G. Shanahan is President of Alpha Omega Property Managementin Barrie, Ontario, providing expert property management and consulting services for landlords.  Mr. Shanahan was invited to appear on the television program “Inside Toronto Real Estate”, and is an advocate for landlord rights throughout Ontario.

The Bed Bug Summit at Queen’s Park

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

The Bed Bug Summit at Queen’s Park was held on Wednesday, September 29th, 2010.

The Ontario Landlords Association for Small Business Landlords was invited to speak on behalf of small business landlords across the province.

We would like to thank April Stewart (aka “The Terminator”) OLA member and owner of Landlord Legal for being the spokesperson for the OLA at the Summit.   Terminator did a fantastic job making sure the concerns of small business landlords were heard.   In fact, the Summit organizer MPP Mike Colle mentioned Terminator in his closing speech.

We also like to thank the other OLA members who attended and participated in the afternoon Q & A sessions.

Great job by all.