Recently, citizens have been shocked by the proliferation of rats in public spaces. Ensemble Montréal is calling on the City to develop a plan with a variety of measures to control the rat population. The banning of rodenticides between January 2022 to January of this year, the increase in the number of construction sites and the amount of food that is readily available to them due to our cleanliness issues have caused the growth of these rodents’ populations to become “uncontrollable,” according to many exterminators.
“With our cleanliness issues, Montreal has become an all-you-can-eat buffet for rats, who take advantage of our many construction sites to escape. Gone are the days when they were only found in sewers; rats now frequent our homes, universities, parks, businesses and offices. This is not a cohabitation we desire,” said Aref Salem, leader of the Official Opposition at Montreal City Hall, at a press conference this morning.
According to the pest management industry, the number of rats in Montreal is estimated to be between five and six million. They also claim to have seen requests for exterminations quadruple in 2022.
The administration insists that the use of rodenticides, which will soon be permitted again, is enough to remedy the problem. However, the sentiment is not shared by exterminators, the World Health Organization and researchers; they suggest that we must also implement environmental sanitation measures.
“It would be wrong to believe that the use of rodenticides is a miracle solution. To remedy the obvious increase in the rat population of Montreal, we must also act in prevention. This is an issue that should not be taken lightly; the presence of rats can have health impacts related to the transmission of diseases, in addition to inflicting damage to buildings, green spaces and infrastructure,” explained Mr. Nathaniel Leavey, an exterminator and owner of Les Entreprises Maheu.
In order to tackle the problem on all fronts, the Official Opposition will table a motion at the next City Council meeting proposing the implementation of a rat control plan. It is inspired by those of several major cities, such as Paris, New York, Chicago, Washington and Vancouver, and would entail the following:
- the implementation of a systematic deratting procedure for the duration of a work involving the opening of a sewer system;
- the revision of domestic and commercial waste management systems (collection times, containers, etc.);
- the replacement of open garbage cans in public areas with closed garbage cans;
- increasing the frequency of cleanup brigades in the 12 boroughs that only have “alternating” brigades and studying the possibility of offering this service year-round;
- the launch of an awareness campaign targeted at merchants in the food sector, which would promote respecting rules relating to the hygiene of public places, as well as at residents, in order to encourage them to report the presence of rats so as to better document the problem.
“Our plan will not only better control the presence of rats in Montreal, but will also address the important cleanliness issues that persist in our city. To quote the Mayor of New York, ‘our city deserves better than rats, graffiti and dirt,’” concluded Ms. Stephanie Valenzuela, the Official Opposition’s environment critic.