Is it possible to determine whether pesticide spraying has been conducted near one’s cottage?
It’s possible, but it may not be easy. If your cottage is adjacent to Crown land in Ontario, check with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), as it is responsible for spraying Crown land.
Most pesticide sprayings occur privately when a property owner or group of owners hires a spray contractor. You would likely have heard about any sprayings on or adjacent to your property while you’ve owned it. Contractors are required to notify all owners in the vicinity of an impending spray, either by advertising in local media 30 days and 10 days ahead, or (more often) by posting a generous number of signs in prominent locations around the area to be sprayed. Every owner whose property is to be sprayed must sign on to the program, and if there are dissenters, the contractors must avoid their properties.
Since spray contractors are licensed and regulated by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and there tends to be a limited number of them working in an area, it may be possible to learn about the history of spraying in your vicinity by asking previous owners, cottage neighbours, and contractors themselves.