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The Pesticides Management Code

Protecting the environment and health in our green spaces

Updating: February 2011

Green spaces: Photo: Christian Lauzon, © Le Québec en images, CCDMDThe 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 Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides. They differ from the federal classifications.

FEDERAL CLASSIFICATION

QUÉBEC CLASSIFICATION

Pesticides for restricted use Classes 1 and 2
Pesticides for commercial, agricultural or industrial use Class 3
Pesticides for domestic use Classes 4 and 5

Storage regulations

  • 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.
  • 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 years

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 years

It is prohibited to store pesticides in this area, except under the following conditions:

  • the quantity of stored pesticides is less than 100 litres or 100 kilograms;
  • the quantity of stored pesticides is equal to or greater than 100 litres or 100 kilograms and the storage time is less than 15 consecutive days;
  • 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 premises.
  • 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 insurance?

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 system).
  • 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 done.
  • 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.
  • The 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 black flies?

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 info.surmesure@sofad.qc.ca.

Specific regulations for golf courses

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.

To obtain a list
  • 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

Active ingredients

Insecticides

Carbaryl
Dicofol
Malathion

Fungicides

Benomyl
Captan
Chlorothalonil
Iprodione
Quintozene
Thiophanate-methyl

Herbicides

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)
Chlorthal dimethyl
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 (Classes 3 and 4)

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 secondary schools
(Schedule II of the Pesticides Management Code)

Category of pesticides

Active ingredients

Insecticides Acetamiprid
Boric acid
Borax
Silicon dioxide (diatomaceous earth)
Methoprene
Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate
Ferrous phosphide
Insecticide soap
Spinosad
Fungicides Sulfur
Calcium sulfide or calcium polysulfide
Herbicides Acetic acid
Mixture of capric and pelargonic acids
Herbicide soap
Biopesticides that are registered as such by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency are to be added to this list.

NB: Active Ingredient Trade Names (Classe 3 - Classes 4 and 5)

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 terrestrial vegetation.

  • 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

Storage
Class 1 to Class 3 pesticides

Preparation
Holders of permits and certificates

Application
Holders of permits and certificates

Watercourses or bodies of water

30 m

30 m

3 m

NB: applies to any user of Class 1 to Class 5 pesticides, including citizens

Catchment works:
  • bottled spring or mineral water
  • waterworks if average operating capacity is greater than 75 m3/day

100 m

100 m

100 m

Other catchment works:
  • surface water for human consumption
  • groundwater for any use

30 m

30 m

30 m

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 golf courses.

 

If someone you know becomes ill from pesticides

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.”


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