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Not Statutory Ministerial Actions Regarding Pesticides

Updating: October 2016


Regulatory control mechanisms are not the one and only means designed to reduce significantly pesticide use and their related problems. Under those circumstances the purpose of the Pesticides Act is to:

devise, foster and ensure the implementation of plans and programs to train specialists, educate and inform the public and promote awareness in the field of pesticides.

Thus, first of all, the Ministry promotes vendors and users training. Training programs were developed with the cooperation of the Ministère de l’Éducation, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche and the Société de formation à distance des commissions scolaires du Québec for people working in various activity sectors. Such training is not mandatory; however it can be a good way to acquire knowledge to pass the exam to obtain the certificate. A training and best practices guide is available for the area of raw land.

On the other hand, Gardening… all naturally encourages the population at large to be more tolerant when faced with undesirable plants or insects and to use pesticides only as a last resort means. This column offers alternative to pesticides to deau with green spaces or house plants affected by pests. Now that there are regulations governing the use of pesticides on lawns, a document is devoted to controlling the main indesirable organisms present in residential lawns. How to choose a green space maintenance service proposes some things to consider when choosing and planning a rational and secure pesticide program. How to choose a pest management service has the same objective.

Furthermore, groundwater is vulnerable to multiple sources of contamination including those from agriculture. Pesticides and Groundwater: Preventing Agricultural Contamination in Agriculture presents the factors and practices that influence the risk of contamination of groundwater by pesticides.

Also, the Pesticides Act provides for:

carrying out or commissioning research, studies, inquiries or analyses pertaining to the effects of the use of pesticides on the quality of the environment and on human health and, generally, on any topic relating to pesticides and alternatives to their use.

Monitoring the presence of pesticides in the environment paved the way for improving knowledge about these products and their impact on the environment’s quality. As for the agricultural sector, since 1984, the Ministry periodically assesses the impact of pesticides on air and drinking water quality for cultivated areas where they are mainly used. He also published in 2013 an initial assessment of the environmental monitoring of pesticides near golf courses.

As for the West Nile virus file managed by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, our Ministry consults, collaborates, and ensures as far as possible, that insecticides are being applied safely, rationally and to reduce as much as possible effects that are detrimental to the environment. The Ministry and biting insects as well as documents Le Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis et le contrôle des insectes piqueurs au Québec and Le Bacillus sphaericus, utilisation pour le contrôle des moustiques inform on how to control biting insects, and in particular describe the environmental impacts of the insecticides.

The Act also provides for:

compiling, analysing and publishing available statistical data relating to pesticides.

Since 1992, the Ministry publishes the Pesticides Sales in Québec, a document that features an account of the evolution of pesticide sales, a general and sector-by-sector analysis of the quantities of active ingredients sold in the course of the year. Chemical groups established for the account’s preparation are published in the Guide to the Classification of Pesticides by Chemical Group.

Since 2006, by way of enforcement of section 73 of the Pesticides Management Code, the Ministry has been requiring all golf course owners and operators in Québec to submit a pesticide reduction plan every three years. A Report on the Pesticide Reduction Plans for Golf Courses in Québec and by Administrative Region, profiles the current situation using data on the amount of pesticides used, compared with the reduction objectives set out in the plans.

Relative toxicity of the most popular pesticides used for lawns, paved surfaces, trees, shrubs and gardens is provided to guide citizens and commercial users when it is time to buy or apply pesticides. It is the same for the relative toxicity of the pesticides used for golf courses.This information is based on mammalian (including human) toxicity, non-targeted species, persistance in soil, and leaching potential.

Lastly, the Act provides :

to make, according to law, any agreement with any government, government agency or other person to facilitate the carrying out of this Act.

The Ministry is actively involved in implementing the Stratégie phytosanitaire québécoise en agriculture 2011-2021 (SPQA: Québec agricultural phytosanitary strategy 2011-2021), launched by the Ministère de l’Agriculture, de l’Alimentation et des Pêcheries (MAPAQ) in April 2011. The SPQA is intended to reduce health and environmental risks related to the use of pesticides in agricultural areas by 25% by 2021, compared to the 2006-2008 reference period average. It makes it possible to orient the phytoprotection-related actions of various stakeholders in the agricultural community (farmers, advisors, the agrochemical industry, ministries, government agencies, etc.) toward an integrated management of crop pests.

Part of the Ministry’s involvement in implementing the SPQA consists of making the indicators for assessing the achievement of the strategy’s objectives accessible. These indicators include agricultural pesticide sales, health and environmental risk indexes as well as surface water and groundwater quality indicators in agricultural areas. The Ministry has also formed a provincial groundwater protection committee whose mandate is to provide a picture of the situation as well as of desirable agricultural practice options for protecting groundwater.

Moreover, the Ministry is a member of a federal, provincial and territorial working group which developed the National Standard for Pesticide Education, Training and Certification in Canada. Adopted by the majority of provinces in 1995, this standard aims at creating favourable conditions to standardise training and certification programs and to ease mobility of certified workers throughout Canada. This working group mainly develops educational tools which help provinces to publish educational guides and certification exams. Because of this Canadian standard, the Ministry had to amend in 1997 its legislation on pesticides by adding two new certification sub-classes and to start reviewing the training program in place since 1988. In 2002, the Société de formation à distance des commissions scolaires du Québec (SOFAD) was designated by the Ministry to offer a standardized and accessible distance training program for everyone. Learning guides and SOFAD certification exams are prepared according to Canadian standards.

A Pesticide Risk Indicator for Québec (IRPeQ) has been developed jointly by the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation (MAPAQ), the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) and the Ministère. This indicator is an innovative tool with significant potential for characterizing the health and environmental risks of pesticides and tracking their changes at various levels, including by company, sector, region and province. Provincially, the IRPeQ is used as a health and environmental risk evolution indicator under the SPQA 2011-2021 and in the Report on Sales of Pesticides in Québec.

IRPeQ Express is a software tool developed by MAPAQ. It enables users to optimally plan, manage and keep track of their pesticide use. The software promotes the pesticides that cause less impact to human health and the environment. IRPeQ Express Golf offers the same tools for pesticide use on golf courses.

Developed by the Ministère, in collaboration with MAPAQ and INSPQ, information tool SAgE pesticides can make informed choices through a better understanding of the risks to human health and the environment associated with the use of pesticides. The tool has won the Award of Excellence 2010 Public Administration, Public Service category. Used by hundreds of users, SAgE pesticides offers easy access, fast and free databases of registered pesticides for eastern Canada, and what, for most crops that are found in Quebec. The databases include information on the toxic effects of active substances on human health and non-target organisms through the application of pesticides, as well as information on the behavior of these products into the environment. In 2014, information on pests found on golf courses and pesticides that can be used to control were added to the tool.

Finally, the Pesticides Act provides for coordinating research carried out by government departments and agencies on environmental problems related to the use of pesticides.


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