Updated : February 2021
In order to set detailed procedures for applying the Pesticides Act, three regulations came into force in 1988: the Regulation respecting pesticides, the Regulation respecting the application of pesticides on farms and the Regulation respecting the application of pesticides in forests. In 1997, the government enacted the Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides, which came into force on April 23, 1997. That regulation replaced the first three.
On March 5, 2003, amendments were made to the Regulation; the amendments updated the classification of pesticides and the requirements related to permits and certification in order to take into account the provisions of the Pesticides Management Code. The amendments came into force on April 3, 2003.
On March 8, 2018, amendments were made to the Regulation. These mainly concern the classification of pesticides, permit and certificate classes, and the statements to be submitted.
Pesticides are divided into five classes according to their level of risk for the environment and for human health. The table below briefly compares the federal and Québec classifications of pesticides.
Pesticides are classified according to different levels of risk to the environment and human health.
Class 1 includes all pesticides composed of a mixture which includes one or more of the following active ingredients: aldrin, aldicarb, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor as well as all pesticides whose registration is not required under the Pest Control Products Act (used for experimental purposes).
Class 2 covers all pesticides considered to be for restricted use by the federal Pest Control Products Act, except those designated as Class 1 and certain Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk) formulations. The main part of the label on a Class 2 pesticide container bears an indication to the effect that the product is for restricted use.
Most pesticides considered to be for commercial, agricultural or industrial use by the Pest Control Products Act are grouped in Class 3. This class also includes pesticides composed of Btk intended for restricted use in a forest or on a wooded lot, as well as mixtures composed of fertilizers and pesticides of Class 3 prepared by individual users.
Class 3A comprises neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid or thiamethoxam) that coat the seeds of certain crops (oats, wheat, canola, corn, grain corn, sweet corn, barley or soybeans).
Class 4 comprises all pesticides considered to be for domestic use by the Pest Control Products Act, generally presented in the form of concentrates and not included in Class 5. This class also includes all mixtures of fertilizers and pesticides for lawns, except those included in Class 3.
Class 5 (Class 5 pesticides)
Class 5 covers any pesticide for domestic use sold in the form of a ready-to-use preparation, with a volume or weight equal to or less than one litre or one kilogram and intended solely for one or more of the following purposes:
Class 5 also covers any pesticide for domestic use sold in the form of a ready-to-use preparation, with a volume or weight equal to or less than one litre or one kilogram, and it is composed of a mixture that contains one or more of the following active ingredients exclusively; d-trans-allethrin, tetramethrin, resmethrin, pyrethrin, piperonyl butoxide, methoprene, n-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide, di-n-propyle isocinchomeronate, n-octyl hydroxyethyl-2-sulphide, D-cis trans allethrin, permethrin, diatomaceous earth, soap, D-phenothrin, boric acid, disodium octaborate tetrahydrate, sulfur, calcium sulphide or calcium polysulphide, ferric phosphate, spinosad, acetamipride, borax, metofluthrin, imiprothrin, prallethrin, cyfluthrin, momfluorothrin or biopesticides.
Class 5 also includes any pesticide for domestic use made of a mixture containing exclusively one or more of the following active ingredients: biopesticides, Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk), diatomaceous earth or soap, regardless of container size and product formulation (concentrated or ready-to-use).
Exemptions under the Pesticides Act
|Shampoo, anti-flea collars and tags for dogs and cats, insecticide ear tags for cattle and insecticide sprays for animals are a few examples of anti-pest products that are considered to be topical medication.|
The system of permits and certificates is designed to make sure that the sellers
and users of pesticides of classes which present the highest risk meet the
The permit and certificate program applies:
A firm that sells or uses the classes of pesticides designated in the Regulation must have a permit. A permit indicates the type of activity the firm is involved in and the classes of pesticides it is authorized to use or sell. The Pesticides Act specifies who is required to obtain a permit to carry on the activities to which it applies.
"A permit issued by the Minister for the classes of pesticides designated by Regulation is required of:"
Classes A and B
A permit is required not only when selling pesticides but also when offering such products. It is also mandatory when performing or offering to perform the application of pesticides.
Example of situations where a permit is required
A firm established outside Québec that sends a sales representative to crisscross the province to meet potential clients is required to obtain a permit. If the client accepts the representative's offer at the time of his visit, the terms and conditions agreed to are binding on the firm and there is offer to sell and sale in Québec. If the client, undecided, finally accepts the deal several days later by contacting the representative by phone, fax or e-mail, or any other means, there is still offer to sell and sale.
Although telemarketing campaigns carried out with a view to offering lawn care services often occur in February or March when in reality the pesticides will be used in May or June, a C4 permit is still required. Moreover, when an agent pays a visit to potential clients to propose contracts whose terms and conditions are settled and complete, there is also offer.
A permit is also required of a firm who tenders for a contract involving the use of pesticides, whether or not the firm obtains the contract in the end.
A golf course or municipality that has commercial pesticides applied by its employees to its lands must have a permit (subclass D4). The employee of a school board can apply class 3 pesticides in the school when the school board has a permit (subclass D5).
Those activities requiring a permit are indicated in Table 1; they are linked to classes and subclasses of permits. A firm which carries out an activity listed in Table 1 must have a permit if it sells or uses the classes of pesticides determined for each of the classes or subclasses. The activities which may be carried out for each class and subclass are described in the Regulation respecting permits and certificates.
A permit is valid for a three-year period. Its cost varies depending on the applicable class or subclass and is adjusted on January 1 of each year according to the rate of increase in the general Consumer Price Index for Canada. The cost applies to each place of business where the activity is carried out. A firm which carries out more than one activity, or class, must obtain a permit for each activity. The cost of the permit remains the same even if you ask for more than one subclass within a single class (C or D).
If your firm engages in both the retail sales of Class 4 pesticides (Class B, subclass B2) and the application for remuneration of pesticides for extermination (Class C, subclass C5), you must obtain two permits at a total cost of $937 in 2021. If you have two places of business and you carry out both activities in both locations, the amount payable is double.
Firms which use pesticides and which have no place of business within Québec must obtain a temporary permit, valid for a one-year period. The applicant of a temporary Class C permit must provide a $50,000 guarantee in the form prescribed by the Regulation.
Allow only the activities authorized under the permit issued to be carried out by certified employees or employees working under the direct supervision of a certified employee.
For holders of a sales permit, make sure the buyer has the document(s) required by law to sell or use the pesticides he wishes to purchase (see Table 2).
Maintain and keep a record of purchases, sales and uses of pesticides.
For holders of a sales permit, annually report and transmit certain information in their records.
For holders of an A, B or C permit, the permit itself or a duplicate copy must be posted conspicuously in each of their establishments or places of business, or the holder must have it in his or her possession if the permit is a temporary one.
Inform the regional office of the Ministère of any change that could render the information in your file inaccurate or incomplete for the obtaining or renewal of your permit. A winding up of activities, a change of address or a merger with another firm are examples of such changes.
The holder of a sales permit or his or her employee must ensure that the customer with whom he or she is dealing has the permit or the certificate, as required by the Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides. Thus, the retailer has a responsibility to proceed to the verifications he deems necessary in order to comply with the regulation.
A forest manager who has less than 10 employees in his forest management operation, apart from any director, executive officer, manager or foreman, is exempted from the obligation of obtaining a permit (subclass D7) for non-remunerated work.
A farmer is also exempt from having a permit if he is carrying out work not as a business, for agricultural.
A self-employed person who is hired to perform work on one or several farms or forest operations is not required to have a permit.
Definition of farmer and forest manager
Farmer means any person who is engaged in the cultivation of the soil, the growing of crops or the raising of livestock.
Forest manager means any person who is engaged in a forest management activity or who uses the soil for forest management purposes.
A certificate is required of sellers and users of pesticides who work in the activity sectors for which permits are required. Farmers and forest managers who carry out work that requires the use of certain pesticides must also have a certificate.
The activities for which a certificate is required are listed in Table 3. They correspond to certificate classes and subclasses. The activities that can be carried out for each class and subclass are described in the permit and certificate regulations.
The activities of selling or using pesticides must be carried out by employees holding a certificate or working under the supervision of a certified employee who is present on the work premises.
The holder of a certificate must have the certificate in his or her possession when he or she sells or uses the pesticides. That person must also inform the regional office of the Ministère in his or her sector of any change of address.
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 instructions notes.
The activities for which a certificate is required are listed in Table 3. Those persons who sell or use the classes of pesticides designated for each of the classes or subclasses must have a certificate issued by the Ministère.
If you apply pesticides for non-remunerated work in buildings used for horticultural purposes, for instance in a municipal greenhouse or an office building, and to do so you use pesticides of classes 1 to 3, you must obtain a Subclass CD10 certificate.
A certificate may be obtained from the Ministère when the person applying for it passes the examination prescribed or recognized by the Minister in accordance with the Pesticides Act. To have a better chance of passing the examinations, training on the efficient and safe use of pesticides is offered by the Société de formation à distance des commissions scolaires du Québec (SOFAD) or in the school network. You may take these courses to acquire the skills needed to pass the examination and required to carry out an activity specified by the Regulation. The passing of several examinations may be required if the applicant performs several activities. Other examinations available at the secondary, collegial and university level can also be recognized to obtain certification in certain classes or sub-classes if the examinations were held as part of the curriculum. Check with your regional office of the Ministère.
A certificate is valid for a five-year period, and only one certificate is required, regardless of the classes or subclasses applied for. As of January 1, 2021, the cost of a certificate is $196 and is adjusted on January 1 of each year according to the rate of increase in the general Consumer Price Index for Canada.
Persons where pesticides are being sold or applied who are acting under the supervision of a certificate holder are not required to have a certificate. Persons who are supervising may only carry out those activities authorized by the certificate.
The supervision carried out by a certificate holder must allow him to intervene at any time with respect to the non-certified person using or selling pesticides if the certificate holder considers that there is a risk to the environment or health. The non-certified person must also be able to depend on the person supervising him.
All holders of permits, with the exception of the retailers of Class B2 pesticides for domestic use, must maintain and keep a record of their purchases, sales or uses of pesticides (Table 4). The holders of permits who keep such registers may, however, be required to prepare a statement of the sales or uses of pesticides, at the request of the Ministère. In such a case, the department will stipulate, beforehand, the nature of the information that should be contained in the statement.
Wholesalers have the obligation to forward a statement detailing their sales, based on their registers, on a yearly basis.
For more information, see Reference Guide (French PDF, 3,7 MB).
The information contained in this leaflet does not replace the legal texts of the Pesticides Act or the Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides.