Ministère de l'Environnement
et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques

The Pesticides Management Code and You

Updating: February 2014

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The Pesticides Management Code introduces regulations controlling the storage, sale and use of pesticidesThis hyperlink will open in a new window.. It promotes an environmental approach aimed at better prevention of health risks posed by these products, particularly to children and the environment.

Why should pesticide use be controlled?

To protect human healthLady bug

Pesticides can comprise human health. Children are particularly vulnerable to the noxious effects of pesticides due to their physiology (e.g.: undeveloped immune system and more permeability skin) and higher exposure level that results from their behaviour (e.g.: tendency to put objects in their mouth). Pets are also vulnerable to these products.

Pesticides are absorbed in the body, particularly by way of the mouth, skin and through respiratory system. They can trigger immediate effects, which are usually manifested by symptoms such as headaches, skin or eye irritation, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite and fatigue.

Environmental protection

Pesticide use often causes water, air and contamination soil. When organisms that are not targeted by the application of these products are exposed to them, the result is a negative impact on biodiversity.

Protecting allies

Pesticides can also eliminate and affect beneficial organisms. These allies play a beneficial role by improving surroundings and preying on undesirable organisms or parasites. Remember, when you kill an ally, you create more work for yourself. Avoid the use of pesticides to protect these useful organisms and encourage their presence.

How does the Pesticides Management Code concern me?

The Pesticides Management Code prohibits the use of certain pesticides on lawns. It imposes rules on those who hold permits and certificates required under the Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides, namely pesticides retailers, as well as commercial and private users.

Some provisions pertain to you, notably the requirement to respect a 3-metre distance away from rivers, lakes and streams. Through holders of permits and certificates, the elements of the code that are of most concern to you are the following:

Rules for sale:

  • it is prohibited to sell fertilizer-pesticide mixtures or combined packages (e.g. herbicide and insecticide);
  • it is prohibited to display certain domestic-use pesticides, in a publicly-accessible manner;
  • it is prohibited to sell domestic-use pesticides containing an active ingredient listed in schedule I.

Principal rules for green space maintenance services:

  • it is prohibited to apply a pesticide-fertilizer mix, except if these products are in separate containers;
  • avoid contaminating any other space that does not require treatment and avoid pet exposure to the products applied;
  • requirement to display the following regulatory sign on a lawn or a paved surface or near trees or shrubs that has been treated;
Prohibited A yellow circle and diagonal slash of the symbol can be yellow to indicate that the pesticides represent a low risk to health and the environment.
  • it is prohibited to apply products containing an active ingredient listed in schedule I on lawns. These are the same products whose sale is banned.

Therefore, the Pesticides Management Code, modifies some of your habits related to buying and using pesticides. Although the range of products available is now limited, you can still obtain good lawn results. By learning to recognize, tolerate and avert the presence of undesirable plants and pests, and by using environmentally-friendly substitutes, you can reduce your reliance on pesticides, thereby protecting the environment, and the health of you and your loved ones.

How to live without pesticides?

Environmental management, which is based on adopting preventive methods of pest infestations, consists of providing plants with a conducive growing environment (hardiness, moisture, soil characteristics, sunlight). Producing a successful lawn requires acceptance of biodiversity, i.e. that it is a habitat for insects and weeds, whose populations should be controlled, not eliminated. There is room for tolerance!


Remember, pesticides only correct a situation temporarily. To avoid dependence on these products, you must first modify your practices that need to change.

I have correctly identified the undesirable organism.    
I have tried alternatives recommended by The Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques.    
The application is straightforward and does not require professional expertise.    
I have protective equipment that I intend to use.    

N.B.: If the answer to any one of these questions is "No", I should not apply the treatment. I will contact a professional or reassess the situation.

If you must buy a pesticide…

The first step is to consult a salesperson to discuss your problem and advise you to use, preferably, the following products:

  • The least toxic:
  • low-risk pesticides (e.g.: acetic acid, herbicidal soap or ferric phosphate); those whose packages do not bear a skull-and-crossbones precautionary symbol.
  • Ready-to-use products, because they have the following advantages:
  • they are not concentrated and are therefore less toxic to the person handling them;
  • they present fewer handling risks because no mixing is required;
  • you are certain to apply the correct dose;
  • they are easy-to-use for local applications.
  • Products available in small or season-adapted formats to avoid storage.
  • Products in shock-resistant receptacles (avoid paper and glass containers).
  • Products designed for specific uses, to avert killing beneficial organisms.

READ LABELS CAREFULLY. They provide essential information: instructions for use, targeted pest, warnings, first aid, product toxicity (precautionary symbol), etc.

WEAR ADEQUATE PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT during preparation and application.

BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY. Advise neighbours. During treatment ensure that any object that could be contaminated is removed (e.g.: toys), and cover objects that cannot be moved (e.g.: sandbox). Ensure that no people or pets are exposed to treated surfaces. Remember to observe the distance requirements from rivers, lakes and streams.

STORE PESTICIDES SAFELY to reduce the risk of poisoning and to maintain their effectiveness.

If someone close to you becomes ill from pesticides?

Guide the person to a well-ventilated area and ask him to lay down on his side.

Contact the Poison Control Centre 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 diligently. If the person’s condition appears serious, go immediately to an emergency clinic, bringing the label or the name and the registration number of the product in question.

Avoid pesticides... a natural thing to do

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