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The Pesticides Management Code

Protecting the environment and health in forest areas and road, railway or power corridors

Updating: October 2014

Other documents

Application for a Certificate of Authorization for the Use of Pesticides

Guide to the use of pesticides on raw land (French, PDF, 2 Mo)

Guide of pesticide use in forest areas (FrenchPDF, 1,3 Mo)

Instructions Notes :

The Pesticides Management Code has introduced standards governing the storage, sale and use of pesticides. The objectives of this regulation are to reduce and regulate the use of pesticides, to lower the risks of human exposure, and to reduce the risks of environmental contamination.

The types of pesticides used in forest areas are mainly insecticides to control forest pests and phytocides to clear competing vegetation around young trees that were recently planted. In Québec, the use of pesticides in the forest environment is relatively limited following the application of the government commitment associated with the Forest Protection Strategy which consists, among other things, of eliminating the use of chemical pesticides in public forests, an initiative begun in 2001. Similarly, according to this strategy only a biological insecticide such as Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk) is used in the fight against the spruce budworm. Obviously, the scope of the use made of this insecticide varies according to the epidemic presence of the insects in question; insecticide use may range from little, if any, to very heavy.

The pesticides used in road, railway or power corridors (e.g. electricity, gas) are mainly phytocides, and their purpose is to control unwanted vegetation. Given the longilineal form of these corridors, the surface areas treated all in one piece are rarely vast, but may concern large territories all the same. Read the guide to the use of pesticides on raw land (French, PDF, 2 Mo) to learn about the applicable legislative framework and best practices that are associated with the use of pesticides in transportation corridors.Picture: Hydro-Québec



How does the Pesticides Management Code concern you?

Picture: Denis Chabot, Le Québec en images, CCDMDThis regulation affects the storage, preparation and application of pesticides in forest areas and in road, railway and power corridors. The holders of permits and certificates referred to in the Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides as well as forest managers who use Class 3 pesticides must comply with the rules of the Code. More specifically, those concerned are:

Application in forest areas

Permit holders (businesses)

  • Class C “Remunerated work”, Subclass C7 “Application in Forest Areas of Class 1 to Class 4 pesticides”;
  • Class D “Non-remunerated work”, Subclass D7 “Application in Forest Areas of Class 1 to Class 3 pesticides” when the forestry operation has 10 employees or more, excluding an administrator, a director, a manager or a foreman.

Certificate holders (users)

  • Class CD “Application of Pesticides”, Subclass CD7 “Application in Forest Areas”;

  • Class F “Forest Manager for the Application of Pesticides”:

    • Subclass F1 “Forest Producer or Holder of a Forest Management Permit for the Application of Class 1 to Class 2 Pesticides”;

    • Subclass F1.1 “Forest Manager or Forest Management Permit Holder’s Certificate for the Application of Class 3 Pesticides”;

    • Subclass F2 “Forest Manager’s Certificate for the Application of Class 1 to Class 3 Pesticides”.

Application on raw land (includes the application in road, railway or power corridors)

Permit holders (businesses)

  • Class C “Remunerated Work”, Subclass C3 “Application on Raw Land of Class 1 to Class 4 Pesticides”;
  • Class D “Non-remunerated Work”, Subclass D3 “on Raw Land of Class 1 to Class 3 Pesticides”.

Certificate holders (users)

  • Class CD “Application of Pesticides”, Subclass CD3 “Application on Raw Land”.

Anyone wishing to obtain a certificate of qualification must submit his/her request and pass the examination prescribed or recognized by the Minister in the accordance with the Pesticides Act. Training is not compulsory; however the person may wish to get it in order to pass the examination. This training and the examination on safe and rational use of pesticides are both offered by the education network throughout Québec. Contact your regional office of the Ministère.

The classes of pesticides are established in accordance with the Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides. They differ from the federal classification.

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

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Rules governing storage

Note: The section of the Code to which the rule refers is indicated for consultation or clarification, if necessary.

  • Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 and Class 4 pesticides must be stored in premises where the ambient conditions are not likely to alter the pesticide, its container or label. The pesticide must also be stored in such a manner that its content is not released into the environment (s. 5).

  • A sign indicating the list of certain services (e.g. Centre anti-poison du Québec) and their telephone numbers must be posted in a conspicuous place near the entrance to the premises (s. 21).

  • On premises used to store Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 pesticides, there must be adequate equipment and material capable of stopping any leak or release of pesticides and, if required, of cleaning the premises (s. 20).

  • Urgence-Environnement must be notified immediately in case of a pesticide fire when the quantity of unprepared or undiluted Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 and Class 4 pesticides is equal to or greater than 1 000 litres or 1 000 kilograms (s. 6).

  • The storage of Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 pesticides in flood areas is subject to the following conditions:

    • Flood area having a flood reoccurrence interval of 0-20 years (s. 16 and 22)

Storing pesticides is prohibited in this zone.

  • Flood area having a flood reoccurrence interval of 20-100 years (s. 17 and 22)

Storing pesticides is prohibited in this zone, except if one of the following circumstances is respected:

  • the quantity of pesticides stored is less than 100 litres or 100 kilograms;
  • the quantity of pesticides stored is equal to or greater than 100 litres or 100 kilograms and it is stored for a period of less than 15 consecutive days;
  • the pesticides are stored above the highest level reached by water in a 100-year interval flood;
  • the pesticides are stored for a period of less than 60 consecutive days between June 1st and February 28th for holders of Subclass C1 and D1 permits (Application by aircraft) so C7 and D7 permits (Application in forest areas).

It is only be possible to store pesticides on these premises if they respect one of the foregoing circumstances, failing which the storage premises must be moved outside this flood plain.

Containment works

Unprepared or undiluted Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 pesticides must be stored on premises having containment works. This rule applies to anyone who stores a quantity equal to or greater than 100 litres or 100 kilograms of these pesticides for a period longer than 15 consecutive days, in particular pesticides stored on the application site or near buildings (s. 18).

A containment works is a floor, a platform or a watertight basin, built so as to contain and allow for the complete recovery of any pesticide leak or spillage (s. 1).

  • Special rules are stipulated for the storage of liquid pesticides in a mobile tank (≥ 1 000 litres) as well as when the capacity of storage premises is greater than 10 000 litres or 10 000 kilograms of unprepared or undiluted pesticides (s. 9, 11, 12, 14, 23 and 24).

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General rules pertaining to the preparation and application

  • The preparation or application of a pesticide must be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions appearing on the label of the pesticide. When the instructions and a provision of the Pesticides Management Code are inconsistent, the more restrictive applies (s. 36).

  • Adequate equipment and material capable of stopping any leak or release of pesticides during the operations and if required, of cleaning the premises, must be available on any site where pesticides are prepared or loaded. The person who loads or prepares the pesticides must remain on the premises for the entire duration of the operations (s. 38).

  • The water supply system used for the preparation of a pesticide must be designed to prevent pesticide backflow to the water supply source (s. 37).

  • 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 (s. 39).

  • A person applying pesticides, other than by aircraft, must ensure that, at the time of the application, no person other than a person participating in the application is present on the premises or is exposed to pesticides (s. 40).

  • A land apparatus having a pesticide tank capacity of 200 litres or more must be equipped with a device to prevent leaks should the apparatus tip over (s. 55 and 61).

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Specific rules concerning the land application of pesticides in forest areas

Note: The following rules apply to a farm woodlot and other wooded areas or areas reserved for the growing of trees for reforestation but do not include seed orchards and blueberry fields under commercial operation (s. 54).

  • The perimeter of the pesticide application area must be marked off to identify the application area and to respect the application distances from sensitive areas (e.g. watercourses) (s. 56).

  • A sign must be posted prior to any application at the point of access of each passable road leading into the area to be treated. The sign must indicate the words “TRAITEMENT AVEC PESTICIDES”; there must be a pictogram showing the prohibition to gather plants for consumption, the active ingredient of the pesticide used, the product registration number, the permit-holder, farmer or forest manager, their address and telephone number, the number of the certificate of the person in charge of carrying out the work, their name and initials, the telephone number of the Centre anti-poison du Québec and the date application of the pesticide. This sign may not contain any information other than the aforementioned information and it must remain in place until the end of the edible plant season in the treated area (s. 57).

  • The owner or operator of a forest area in the domain of the State who intends to apply pesticides or have them applied over more than 100 hectares in the same administrative region must, before the work begins, publish a message in a newspaper circulated in the territory where the work will be carried out or broadcast the message on a radio or television station in that territory. This message must contain the following information:

    • the name and telephone number of the owner or operator of the territory where the work will be carried out;
    • the nature, goal and location of the work;
    • the period during which work will be carried out;
    • restrictions on access to the treated premises and on consumption of plants from the premises; and
    • the name and telephone number of the permit holder in charge of the work.

The message must be published or broadcast at least one week and no more than three weeks before the start of the work. The work cannot begin until the message has been published or broadcast (s. 58).

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Picture: Guy Gauthier, Le Québec en images, CCDMDSpecific rules concerning the land application of pesticides in road, railway or power corridors for corridor maintenance

  • The limits of the areas in which the application of pesticides is prohibited by virtue of the various application distances that must be respected must be marked off to allow the person applying the pesticide to respect the application distances from bodies of water, wells and protected immovables (s. 62).

  • Prior to carrying out the work, the owner or the operator of a road, railway or power corridor must:

    1. publish a message in a newspaper circulated in the territory where the work will be carried out or broadcast the message on a radio or television station in that territory. This message must contain the following information:

    • the name and telephone number of the owner or operator of the territory where the work will be carried out;
    • the nature, goal and location of the work;
    • the period during which work will be carried out;
    • restrictions on access to the treated premises and on consumption of plants from the premises; and
    • the name and telephone number of the permit holder in charge of the work.

    The message must be published or broadcast at least one week and no more than three weeks before the start of the work. The work cannot begin until the message has been published or broadcast (s. 63).

  1. notify the regional office of the Ministère concerned at least 21 days before the start of the work. This notice must contain the following information:

  • the name and address of the owner or operator of the territory where the work will be carried out;
  • the names of the permit and certificate holders who will carry out the work and their permit and certificate numbers;
  • the total area to be treated and the planned dates for the work;
  • the name and registration number and a copy of the label of the pesticides to be applied;
  • the proposed quantity, dosage and number of pesticide applications;
  • the name, address and telephone number of any person responsible for providing information on the work;
  • a map describing the pesticide application areas and the sections within those areas on which the application of pesticides is prohibited;
  • a copy of the message that will be published or broadcast in the local media.

The work cannot start until this notice has been given (s. 64).

  1. give prior notice to the municipality concerned or, in the case of an unorganized territory, the regional county municipality (RCM) concerned (s. 64). Suggestion: The content of this notice could be identical to the message published or broadcast in the local media and be sent 21 days prior to the start of work.

  • An owner or operator of a road, railway or power corridor must keep for five years a register of the work and enter the following information: dates of pesticide application, the name and registration number of the pesticides used, the areas treated and the weather conditions at the time of each application (s. 65).

  • An owner or operator of a road, railway or power corridor must send to the regional office concerned, not later than two months after the end of the work, a report on the pesticide application carried out containing the following information: the name, quantity and registration number of the pesticide used, the application dates, the areas treated, the equipment used, the names of the permit and certificate holders who carried out the work and the number of the permit and the certificate (s. 66).

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Specific rules concerning the aerial application of pesticides in forest areas and road, railway and power corridors

  • Before applying a pesticide, the person in charge of the application must mark off the limits of areas where pesticide applications are allowed or prohibited, unless a flight line guidance system is used. Moreover, the pilot or the person who supervises the application from another plane must have a map or an aerial photograph at hand showing the pesticide application area and the sections of that area within which the application of pesticides is prohibited. This map or photograph must cover a 300 metre strip around the pesticide application area (s. 77 and 78).

  • At the time of applications of pesticides other than an insecticide in a forest area, a person who intends to apply a pesticide must first post a sign at the point of access of each passable road leading into the area to be treated and having the same specifications as in the case of a land application – see above section 57 (s. 81).

  • The owner or operator of a forest area in the domain of the State who intends to apply pesticides or have them applied over more than 100 hectares in the same administrative region as well as the owner or operator of a road, railway or power corridor (regardless of the area) must, before the work begins, publish a message in a newspaper circulated in the territory where the work will be carried out or broadcast the message on a radio or television station in that territory. This message must have the same specifications as in the case of a land application – see above section 63 (s. 82).

  • At the time of application of a phytocide or Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk):

    • A person who intends to apply or to have them applied this pesticides must notify the regional office of the Ministère and the municipality (or the regional county municipality, if it is an unorganized territory) according to the specifications mentioned for land applications in the corridors (s. 64). The notice sent to the Ministère must indicate the location of the operations base of any aircraft used and the potential sites of emergency release. This obligation does not concern the projects subject to the environmental assessment and review procedure (s. 83).

    • A register must be kept for five years and a report on the application of pesticides be sent at the latest two months after the end of the work to the regional office of the Ministère. The specifications of the register and the report on the application are the same as those for land applications of pesticides in the corridors - see above sections 65 and 66 (s. 84 and s. 85).

The obligations of keeping a register or sending the report on the application are incumbent upon the person who applies or causes to apply these pesticides except when it involves the application of pesticides in a public forest or a road, railway or power corridor where these obligations lie with the owner or the operator of this forest or this road, railway or power corridor.

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Application distances

The table at the following link summarizes the application distances that must be respected in forest areas and road, railway and power corridors according to the locations where the pesticide storage, preparation and land or aerial application activities take place (s. 15, 22, 29, 35, 50, 52, 59, 60 and 80).

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Activities subject to a certificate of authorization

Since 2003, some activities are no longer subject to the obtention of a certificate of authorization under section 22 of the Environment Quality Act. The requirements of the certificate of authorization were transferred to the Pesticides Management Code.

Activities subject to a certificate of authorization

Prior to the entry into force of the Code After the entry into force of the Code
Upkeep of road, railway or power corridors None
Application by air, in a forest environment or for non-agricultural purposes Application by air, other than a phytocide or Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk), in a forest environment or for non-agricultural purposes
Tordeuse

Although the Code permits pesticide applications at distances of less than 15 metres from lakes, rivers and streams, and although upkeep work on road, railway or power corridors has been excluded from the obtention of a certificate of authorization, the application of pesticides for municipal, industrial, commercial or public purposes in the buffer strip of a watercourse or lake as defined in the Protection Policy for Lakeshores, Riverbanks, Littoral Zones and Floodplains (10 or 15 m. depending on the slope) remains subject to a certificate of authorization (even if the work is carried out in a road, railway or power corridor).

The information provided in this document is in no way meant to replace the full official text of the Pesticides Management Code.

Avoid pesticides… a natural thing to do.


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