The Pesticides Management Code
Protecting the environment and health in agricultural
Updating: May 2006
The Pesticides Management Code introduces stringent
regulations controlling the storage, sale and use of pesticides. The
adopting of the Code is among the initiatives undertaken by the government
of Québec to reduce the health and environmental risks that these products
entail. As regards the agricultural sector, these regulations are designed
to ensure that farm producers use pesticides with all the necessary prudence
and precautions. Although the Pesticides Management Code has been in
force since April 3, 2003, certain regulations will enter into effect over
the next five years.
Pesticides are commonly used to combat pests, undesirable
plants and certain diseases, and they are most extensively used in the
agricultural sector, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of total pesticide
sales in Québec.
The use of pesticides in agricultural areas may cause water,
air and soil contamination and thus represents a risk to public health,
including the health of your family, friends and neighbours. Surface water
and groundwater sampling programs, undertaken by the Ministère
in regions characterized by intensive potato, corn and soybean cultivation,
have led to regular detection of pesticides in the wells and river water
Moreover, the results of a recent study of pesticide use in
apple orchards have revealed that when pesticides are applied, residues are
transported beyond the target areas to be discovered in the air and on the
soil of neighbouring land.
The Pesticides Management Code and you
These new regulations affect the storage, preparation and application of
pesticides in agricultural areas. Permit and certificate holders targeted by
Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use
of pesticides as well as farmers who use Class 3 pesticides, even if the
latter have not yet been certified by the Ministère, must comply with the
regulations of the Code.
Permit and certificate holders from the agricultural sector who are
targeted by the pesticide regulations are as follows:
- holders of Class C “Remunerated Work,” and Class D “Non-Remunerated
- Subclasses C1 and D1 “Aerial Application;”
- Subclasses C6 and D6 “Application by Fumigation;”
- Subclasses C8 and D8 “Application on Cultivated Land;”
- Subclasses C10 and D10 “Application in Buildings for Horticultural
- holders of the following certificates:
- Class CD “Application of Pesticides,”
- Subclass CD1 “Aerial Application;”
- Subclass CD6 “Application by Fumigation;”
- Subclass CD8 “Application on Cultivated Land;”
- Subclass CD10 “Application in Buildings for Horticultural Purposes;”
- Class E “Farmer’s Certificate for the Application of Pesticides,”
subclasses E1, E1.1, E2, E3 and E5.
It should be noted that the farmer who does, or offers to do,
non-remunerated agricultural work is not required to obtain a Subclass C8
permit, but must nevertheless obtain a Class E certificate, if required, and
comply with the regulations of the Code.
Pesticide classifications are established according to the Regulation
respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides.
They differ from the federal classifications.
|Pesticides for restricted use
||Classes 1 and 2
|Pesticides for commercial, agricultural or industrial
|Pesticides for domestic use
||Classes 4 and 5
Farmers who make domestic use of pesticides as ordinary citizens may also
be targeted by the Code. There are, however, fewer requirements in this
- Class 1 to Class 4 pesticides must be stored in premises where the
ambient conditions are not likely to alter the product or its container,
and in such a manner that its contents are not released into the
environment. However, this requirement does not apply to a Class 4
pesticide stored for personal use or for another person free of charge
(e.g., an exchange of services).
- A sign indicating the list of certain services (e.g., the Centre
anti-poison du Québec) and their telephone numbers must be posted in a
conspicuous place near the entrance to the storage premises. However, this
requirement does not apply to a Class 4 pesticide stored for personal use
or for another person free of charge (e.g., an exchange of services).
- A person who stores Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 pesticides must have
on the premises adequate equipment and material capable of stopping any
leak or release of pesticides and, if required, of cleaning the premises.
In the event of a leak or release of pesticides, the person must
immediately take measures to stop the leak or release and clean the
- A person who stores Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 or Class 4 unprepared or
undiluted pesticides in quantities equal to or greater than 1,000 litres
or 1,000 kilograms must immediately notify
Urgence-Environnement in the
event of pesticide fire, and specify at that time the nature of the stored
pesticides and the approximate quantity stored on the premises.
- The storage of Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 pesticides within a flood
area that is mapped or identified in a development plan or a metropolitan
land use planning and development plan or in a municipal zoning by-law is
subject to the following conditions:
- Within a flood area having a flood recurrence interval of 0 to 20
It is prohibited to store pesticides in this area.
However, this prohibition did not apply to existing storage sites for a
period of two years, i.e., until April 3, 2005. Since that date, pesticides
must be stored on such premises only if they are placed higher than the
highest level reached by water in a 100-year interval flood, failing which
the storage site must be moved outside the flood area.
Within a flood area having a flood recurrence interval of 20 to 100
It is prohibited to store pesticides in this area, except under the
- the quantity of stored pesticides is less than 100 litres or 100
- the quantity of stored pesticides is equal to or greater than 100
litres or 100 kilograms and the storage time is less than 15
- the pesticides are stored higher than the highest level reached by
water in a 100-year interval flood.
This prohibition did not apply to existing storage sites for a period of
two years, i.e., until April 3, 2005. Since that date, pesticides must be
stored on such premises only if one of the above-mentioned conditions
applies, failing which the storage site must be moved outside the flood
- Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 unprepared or undiluted pesticides must
be stored in premises having a containment works. The same applies to any
person who stores a quantity equal to or greater than 100 litres or 100
kilograms of these pesticides for a period longer than 15 consecutive days,
particularly pesticides stored on application sites or close to buildings.
A containment works is a floor, platform or watertight basin built so as
to contain and allow for the complete recovery of any pesticide leak or
|Do you need civil liability
A civil liability insurance contract is required
under the Pesticides Management Code for premises with a
storage capacity greater than 10,000 litres or 10,000 kilograms for
Class 1 to Class 4 unprepared or undiluted pesticides. The contract
must include a provision under which the insurer undertakes to notify
the Ministère within 48 hours following the
revocation, cancellation, termination or modification of the insurance
Regulations governing pesticide preparation
- The preparation and application of any pesticide must be carried out
in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions appearing on the label.
Where the instructions and a provision of the Pesticides Management
Code are inconsistent, the more restrictive of the two applies.
- Adequate equipment and material must be available on premises where
pesticides are loaded or prepared capable of stopping any leak or release
of pesticides and, if required, of cleaning the premises. In the event of
such a leak or release, measures must immediately be taken to stop the
leak or release and clean the premises. The person loading or preparing
the pesticides must remain on site throughout the operations.
- Since April 3, 2005, the unloading of unprepared or undiluted
pesticides from a mobile tank or from the tank of equipment used for
pesticide application, with the exception of an aircraft, must be carried
out in a containment works.
|What is a tank or mobile tank?
The term “tank” is used here to designate a tank with a
capacity of 1,000 litres or more, permanently installed and used to
store Class 1 to Class 4 liquid pesticides.
The term “mobile tank” is used here to designate a tank with
a capacity of 1,000 litres or more that is used to store Class 1 to
Class 4 liquid pesticides, that can be attached to a truck, trailer or
semi-trailer and that can be moved. Mobile tanks are used, for example,
by pesticide distributors.
- The water supply system used in pesticide preparation must be designed
to prevent pesticide backflow to the water supply source (anti-backflow
- Equipment used for the application, loading or unloading of pesticides
must be in good working order and be adapted to the type of work to be
- A person applying pesticides must ensure that no person other than a
person participating in the application is present on the application
premises or is exposed to pesticides.
- Birdseed treated with an avicide and left for harmful birds must be
placed in a feeder equipped with a device preventing the wind from
carrying the seed away. The feeder must bear a sign providing specific
- A person who is to carry out a fumigation in a location where air is
confined (e.g., buildings, trailers, cattle cars, grain elevators, silos,
greenhouses, or under tarpaulins other than tarpaulins used on crops or on
soil in fields) must first ensure that no animals or humans remain in the
premises, to avoid their being exposed to the fumigant. Fumigation that
releases gas may be carried out only if all openings have been sealed. In
addition, the person must seal and post a sign on each entrance to the
premises to be treated, prohibiting access before the specified dates.
- The use of strychnine and DDT is prohibited.
|NB: Certain requirements apply to companies
offering services involving the application of pesticides by aircraft. A
person who intends to apply pesticides must, before any application,
identify the limits of the application areas at ground level, indicating
where applications are permitted and prohibited, unless a flight line
guidance system is to be used for such purposes. In addition, the pilot
or the person authorized to supervise the application from another
aircraft must have a map or aerial photograph at hand showing the areas
where pesticide applications are permitted and prohibited. The map or
aerial photograph must cover a 300-metre strip around the pesticide
Application distance requirements
In agricultural areas, application distances are prescribed for
watercourses, bodies of water and ditches for applications of pesticides on
the ground or by aircraft. These distances vary according to the dimensions
of the watercourse or ditch in question:
- watercourses or ditches where the total flow area (average width
multiplied by average height) is greater than 2 m2;
- watercourses or ditches where the total flow area is 2 m2
|NB: The application distances from watercourses
and ditches to be respected during ground applications of pesticides are
the same as those required under the Regulation respecting
In the case of aerial applications for agricultural purposes, a
watercourse does not include an intermittent watercourse, and the
application distances are greater for sections of a watercourse of more than
four metres in width.
The relative distance from a watercourse is measured from the normal high
water mark of the watercourse, and the relative distance from a ditch is
measured from its edgeline.
|The normal high water mark
An easy way to establish the normal high water mark is to determine
the place where there is a change from a predominance of aquatic
plants to a predominance of terrestrial plants. Thus the high water
mark corresponds to the place where nature itself has established this
point of balance between aquatic and terrestrial vegetation.
A few definitions:
A “watercourse or body of water” includes streams, small and large
rivers, lakes, intermittent watercourses, ponds, marshes, swamps and peat
bogs, and excludes ditches, municipal aerated ponds and artificial lakes
without any outlet.
A “catchment works” includes facilities used for the production of
spring water or mineral water, the supply of a waterworks, catchment works
designed for surface water intake for water intended for human consumption
or any other groundwater catchment works.
“Protected immovables” include, among others, built-up lots
situated within an urban area and land on which are situated sports centres,
recreation centres, camping establishments, parks, public beaches and golf
clubs. Outside urban areas, protected immovables include residential
dwellings, public buildings or any other administrative or commercial
building or tourist accommodation establishment, including a 30-metre strip
around such buildings.
As regards the protection of protected immovables, application distances
are required for applications by aircraft and on the ground with air-blast
or pneumatic sprayers. The latter are generally used for orchards and
Christmas tree plantations. These requirements will be in force at the
conclusion of a five-year period.
The table 1
Ko) provides a summary of the application distances to be
respected in agricultural areas according to the premises where pesticide
storage, preparation and application (on the ground or by aircraft)
activities are carried out.
NB: If you are planning to apply pesticides in a forest area (e.g., a
farm woodlot), please note that certain specific rules apply. For more
information on this subject, please check with
your regional office of the
Amendments to the Regulation respecting
permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides
The Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and
use of pesticides includes requirements pertaining to agricultural
areas. Currently, farmers with a farm producer’s card must hold a
qualification certificate (E1) to use Class 1 and Class 2 pesticides in
non-commercial agricultural work. The amendments that will come into force
on April 3, 2005, have broadened the scope of the Regulation to include the
certification of all farm producers who use Class 3 pesticides. Thus, all
farmers who use Class 3 pesticides in their work will have to hold a
Subclass E1.1 certificate. However, this requirement will come into effect
over a three-year period: April 3, 2005, for farmers whose last names begin
with the letters A to D; April 3, 2006, for letters E to L; and April 3,
2007, for letters M to Z. The requirements remain the same for ordinary
farmers (those without a farm producer’s card); the latter must hold a
Subclass E2 certificate to use Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 pesticides.
In order to obtain a qualification certificate, farm producers and
ordinary farmers must pass an examination designed to measure their
knowledge of the health and environmental risks of pesticides and of the
integrated pest management approach, as well as the best ways to handle
pesticides during use. Training is optional; however it does enable all
interested parties to acquire the knowledge required to pass the examination.
A course is offered by the
board distance training organization). For more information about this
training option, contact the SOFAD’s Customized Services at (514) 529-2801,
or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you use pesticides in an agricultural setting?
Any person applying pesticides, whether you, your employee or a person
hired for this end, must comply with all pesticides regulations.
|Use of pesticides in an aquatic
environment (ditches, marshes, etc.)
Did you know that you
require an authorization certificate from the Ministère in order to use pesticides in any aquatic environment
with an aboveground outlet?
With this regulatory requirement, the Ministère ensures that measures will be taken to minimize risks, among them the risk
of contamination occurring downstream from the pesticide application area.
Sampling programs and Ministère reports
Desrosiers, R., Bourque, J.-F., Brochu, Y., Duchesne, R.-M., Gingras, B.,
Laurin, Y. and M. Letendre. Pesticides et agriculture - bons sens, bonnes
pratiques, 2nd ed., Les publications du Québec, Sainte-Foy (Québec),
2003, 87 pages.
|If someone close to you becomes
ill from pesticides
Guide the individual in question to a
well-ventilated area and ask him/her to lie down on his/her side.
Then contact the Centre anti-poison du Québec, at 1 800 463-5060
(toll free telephone emergency, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or in
the Québec City area (local call) at (418) 656-8090, and follow
their instructions to the letter. If the person’s condition appears
serious, go to the hospital immediately, making sure to bring the
label of the product in question.
The information provided in this document is in no way meant to replace
the text of the
Pesticides Management Code. The full text is published in the March
19, 2003, edition of the Gazette officielle of Publications du Québec.
“Avoid pesticides … a natural thing to do.”