The Pesticides Management Code
Protecting the environment and health in our green spaces
The Pesticides Management Code, in force since April
3, 2003, introduces stringent regulations controlling the storage, sale and
use of pesticides. It promotes an environmental approach aimed at limiting
the health risks that these products entail, particularly to children and
the environment. Its targets are lawns as well as childcare centres and elementary and secondary schools.
Pesticides are commonly used to combat insects, undesirable
plants and certain diseases. More than 80 percent of the pesticides used in the
green space maintenance sector are applied to eliminate undesirable plants.
Since 1992, total pesticide sales in this sector, which ranks third for
sales after farm production and the domestic sector, have increased by
approximately 85 percent. In 2001, nearly three times more pesticides were
used for green space maintenance by professionals from the sector (residential
green spaces receiving package treatments, golf courses, commercial or
municipal property) than for lawn maintenance by private owners.
The use of pesticides may represent a health risk and cause
water, air and soil contamination. For example, residues from pesticides
used for parks, golf courses and lawn treatments may infiltrate our rivers
and streams. A study carried out in Québec reveals the presence
of pesticides used in urban areas in the waste water from water purification
plants. These include herbicides such as 2,4-D, mecoprop and dicamba, as
well as insecticides such as diazinon and carbaryl.
The Pesticides Management
Code and you
These new regulations affect the storage, preparation and
application of pesticides in the green space maintenance sector. Permit and
certificate holders targeted by the Regulation respecting permits and
certificates for the sale and use of pesticides must comply with the
regulations of the Code. These include:
holders of a Class C “Remunerated Work,” Subclass C4 “Application of Class
1 to Class 4 Pesticides in Ornamental Horticulture” permit;
holders of a Class D “Non-Remunerated Work,” Subclass D4 “Application of
Class 1 to Class 3 Pesticides in Ornamental Horticulture” permit;
holders of a Class CD “Application of Pesticides,” Subclass CD4
“Application in Ornamental Horticulture” certificate, working in sectors in
which permits are required (C4 or D4).
Individuals tasked with applying pesticides to lawns may do
so without being certified, as long as the pesticides meet specific health
and environmental criteria. The conditions governing this exemption are
detailed in a
notice of instructions.
Pesticide classifications are established according to the
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
|Pesticides for domestic use
||Classes 4 and 5
- 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
- A person who stores 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
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 area.
- Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 unprepared or undiluted pesticides must
be stored in premises having a containment works. 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 spillage.
- 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 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.
|Do you need civil liability
A civil liability insurance contract is required 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 contract coverage.
Regulations governing pesticide
preparation and application
- The preparation of Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 pesticides as well as
the loading and unloading of a sprayer containing such pesticides must be
carried out in a containment works.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- The use of strychnine and DDT is prohibited.
- A person applying a pesticide must ensure that:
- no person other than a person participating in the application is
present on the application premises or is exposed to the pesticide;
- all necessary measures are taken to avoid contaminating a surface or
object that must not be treated;
- no pet is exposed to the pesticide;
- all openings through which pesticides may infiltrate into a building
have been closed.
- The application of pesticides impregnated or mixed with fertilizer is
prohibited, unless the products are kept in separate containers. The use
of a double-action nozzle that allows for localized applications is
therefore permitted. This provision does not apply for golf courses.
- A regulatory sign must be displayed at all entrances to an enclosed
area, or every 20 linear metres along the perimeter of a non-enclosed
area, following the application of pesticides on a lawn or paved surface
or on trees or bushes. This requirement does not apply when pesticides are
injected into plants or when pesticides are used on golf courses. In the
last case, particular requirements of posting apply.
regulatory sign must be in clear sight and display a warning indicating
not to touch the treated surfaces for 24 hours after application. It must
also indicate the plants treated, the active ingredient used, the date and
time of application, the registration number of the pesticide, and the
name, address and phone number of the permit or certificate holders.
Moreover, when application work includes the exclusive use
of biopesticides or pesticides containing one of the active ingredients
listed in Schedule II, the circle and slash on the pictogram may be either
red or yellow.
|Did you know that since June
2003 a new requirement has been in force targeting those who wish to
apply pesticides to control biting insects such as mosquitoes and
Anyone wishing to obtain or renew a Subclass CD9
“Application for Control of Stinging Insects” certificate must now
pass two new examinations administered by the SOFAD (Québec
school board distance training organization).
For more information, please contact SOFAD’s Customize Services at
(514) 529-2801 or by E-mail at
Specific regulations for golf
A golf course can be private or municipal property. In
either case, the owners must be holders of a Class D "Non-Remunerated Work,"
Subclass D4 "Application in Ornamental Horticulture" permit in order to use
a Class 1 to Class 3 pesticide.
Regulations applying to golf courses are as follows:
a pesticide reduction plan duly signed by a member of the
Ordre des agronomes du Québec must be submitted every three years. More
information is available in the document entitled "Pesticide
Reduction Plan for Golf Courses" and the "Results:
Pesticide Reduction Plans of Québec Golf Courses";
a sign must be posted at the registration desk and at the
tee off area of each hole where the pesticide has been applied;
the posting period must be respected and all the required
information displayed on the posted sign.
Specific regulations for
certain types of property
It is prohibited to apply certain pesticides
(active ingredients listed in Schedule of the Pesticides Management
Code) on lawns of State, municipal or metropolitan community land, of a
private or public institution offering a college or university education, or
of a health and social services institution. It is also prohibited to apply
these ingredients on property where sports, recreational, cultural or
artistic activities are held for children under 14 years of age.
This restriction does not apply to golf courses, to unused parts of street
rights-of-way or to fenced-in properties equipped with a watering system
used only for sports purposes by persons older than 14 years of age.
Since April 2006, it is prohibited to apply certain pesticides (active ingredients listed in Schedule of the
Pesticides Management Code) on lawns of private and commercial property,
except on golf courses. In the last case, a pesticide reduction plan must be
submitted for each golf course.
Only biopesticides or pesticides containing an active
ingredient listed in Schedule II of the Pesticides Management Code
may be applied inside or outside childcare centres, daycare centres, stop
over centres, nursery schools, home childcare residences, private and public
preschools, primary schools and secondary schools.
It is prohibited to apply a biopesticide or pesticide
containing an active ingredient listed in Schedule II during the
establishment’s care, teaching or activity periods that take place inside or
outside the establishment.
Active ingredients prohibited on certain green spaces
(Schedule I of the Pesticides Management Code)
Category of pesticides
|2,4-D (present as sodium salt)
2,4-D (present as ester)
2,4-D (present as acid)
2,4-D (present as amine salt)
MCPA (present as ester)
MCPA (present as amine salt)
MCPA (present as potassium or sodium salt)
Mecoprop (present as acid)
Mecoprop (present as amine salt)
Mecoprop (present as potassium or sodium salt)
|NB: Active Ingredient Trade Names
Consult Control of the main
indesirable organisms present in residential lawns to know how to
control lawn’s indesirable plants and insects.
Active ingredients allowed* inside and outside
establishments governed by the Act respecting childcare centres and
childcare services, as well as preschools, primary schools and
(Schedule II of the Pesticides Management Code)
Category of pesticides
Silicon dioxide (diatomaceous earth)
Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate
Calcium sulfide or calcium polysulfide
Mixture of capric and pelargonic acids
Biopesticides that are registered as
such by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency are to be added to this
NB: Active Ingredient Trade Names (Classe 3 -
Required application distances
The regulations stipulate application distances to be respected from
sensitive elements, watercourses, bodies of water and water catchment works.
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.
The relative distance from a watercourse is measured from
the normal high water mark of the watercourse. 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
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.
The following table summarizes the application distances to
be respected according to the premises where storage, preparation and
application activities take place.
APPLICATION DISTANCES TO BE RESPECTED FOR GREEN SPACE
MAINTENANCE SERVICES DURING PESTICIDE STORAGE AND USE
Target for protection
Class 1 to Class 3 pesticides
Holders of permits and certificates
Holders of permits and certificates
|Watercourses or bodies of water
NB: applies to any user of Class 1 to Class 5 pesticides, including
- bottled spring or mineral water
- waterworks if average operating capacity is greater than 75 m3/day
|Other catchment works:
- surface water for human consumption
- groundwater for any use
Exception: in the case of individual tube wells, if the
pesticide is applied on plants or soil that is entirely covered by
vegetation, a 3-metre application distance must be respected, except for
|If someone you know becomes ill
Guide the person 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.”