Toronto City Council approves funds to resume bed bug fight

by nobugsonme on June 7, 2012 · 2 comments

in bed bugs

Good news: Toronto City Council has come through with the funding needed to put the city’s bed bug control program back in action, the Toronto Sun reported Thursday night.

(We mentioned last week that Toronto’s Public Health department was scrambling to fund its successful programs — you can read more about the ways the money is being used to fight bed bugs in this post on Bedbugger.)

According to the Sun, the City Council plans to follow up by asking the province to match the $250,000 the city devoted to controlling bed bugs, and to fund the program in 2013 as well.

1 CarpathianPeasant June 9, 2012 at 8:02 am

My secondary social worker contact who must work with people in bug infested buildings seems to be happy to hear of such news, even though it is a long way away from the local scene.

Keep posting.

2 sam bryks July 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I am glad that the Toronto Public Health Bed Bug unit has helped more than 180 people who are vulnerable. I am not so sure how successful the program has been in a wider context. The Montreal Public Health has currently launched a public education campaign in conjunction with July 1st moving day that is an event in Montreal. Media reported that Montreal Public Health stated that infestations in the city have increased from a level of about 1.6% in 2010 to 1.8% in 2011. Based on the number of households this represents about 16,000 infestations. If a similar level were present in Toronto, that would be about 18,000 nearly 19,000 cases. Although TPH may be helping in specific sites, the funding is really miniscule. By comparison, about $35,000,000 is in the Toronto budget for salary increases for non-bargaining staff at TTC the transit company.
The funding sounds good until one really looks at what it means. TPH is not an IPM organization – their specialists in bed bugs have learned a lot in the past decade, but the actual involvement started relatively late into the resurgence- around 2006 as I recall. I hate to be a bit of a naysayer, but the funding is truly miniscule for a city of Toronto’s size, and I am not confident in the broader impact. The role of public health in education and in helping the disadvantaged is clear, but when the problem first surfaced many public health units did not consider bed bugs as a health hazard under the Public Health Protection and Promotions Act. It took a lot of political pressure to change this and somepublic health units in municipalities in Ontario still do not respond to bed bug complaints. The current legislation for rental units in Ontario does not address the issue in specifics such as actual standards of IPM practice. I hope this will change and I believe that good landlords are trying to address the issue, but we still hear stories of inadequate responses and substandard services .
The news is great as a news byte, and it will help a few people. That is about it. This is a far greater problem than $250,000 or$500,000 will fix… That amount would treat perhaps 500 small houses or 750 units and even fewer badly infested special cases.. One would think a city of the size of Toronto could handle those cases of vulnerable citizens as part of what should be done normally in a world class city that would like to have the Commonwealth Games, or the Pan American Games or Olympics one day. Cases in which buildings are widely infested require actions under Property Standards.That is also a normal function of the city even though the bed bug resurgence necessitates better training of staff to address the issue. It should not go “begging” for funding.

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