Class E pesticides

The provincial government is responsible for regulating the sale, use, transportation, storage and disposal of pesticides in Ontario.

Treated seeds are seeds that have been coated with a pesticide. In Ontario, Class E pesticides are corn and soybean seeds treated with the following neonicotinoid insecticides:

  • imidacloprid
  • thiamethoxam
  • clothianidin

This class of pesticides applies to corn seed grown for grain or silage and soybean seed. The regulation does not apply to:

  • popping corn
  • sweet corn
  • corn used for the production of seed
  • soybean seed planted for the purpose of producing a soybean seed crop of certified status under contract
  • corn seed and soybean seed treated only with fungicide

There are requirements for vendors who sell, offer for sale, or transfer Class E pesticides and special requirements for others, such as treated seed sales representatives and direct-to-farm vendors. There are also requirements that apply to custom seed treaters who provide neonicotinoid seed treatment services to farmers.

The regulation does not include requirements for the transport and storage of Class E pesticides.

Vendor licences

You must hold a licence to sell certain pesticides in Ontario.

A vendor is considered to be a person or a business that sells, offers to sell or transfers pesticides, or in this case, corn or soybean seed treated with imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and/or clothianidin.

A treated seed sales representative is an individual who represents a person who is required to hold a treated seed vendor’s licence and has direct contact with the buyers of neonicotinoid-treated seed and facilitates the sales transaction for a vendor. Treated seed sales representatives have special responsibilities under the regulation but do not require a licence.

If eligibility criteria are met, direct-to-farm vendors do not require a licence but they have some regulatory responsibilities similar to those that apply to treated seed sales representatives.

A vendor of Class E pesticides must apply online for a treated seed vendor licence from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

The cost for the licence is $200 and does not expire. This cost is similar for other types of licences to sell pesticides in Ontario. If you hold another licence to sell a different class of pesticides in Ontario, you will still need to obtain a treated seed vendor licence to sell Class E pesticides.

If you do not sell neonicotinoid-treated corn or soybean seeds (Class E pesticides), you do not need to obtain a treated seed vendor’s licence.

Selling class E pesticides

Vendors can sell a Class E pesticide to a farmer or another person planting a Class E pesticide if he or she provides:

  • a certification number obtained through completion of the integrated pest management (IPM) training
  • a written declaration to the vendors that the grower has considered IPM principles before purchasing a Class E pesticide
  • a completed and signed pest risk assessment report

Vendors do not need to retain the documents that are required to be presented by buyers, however, some of the information needs to be documented in their record of sales and kept for at least four years. Vendors need to document the following information:

  • the pesticide’s unique name and the class into which it has been classified
  • the certification number obtained through completion of the integrated pest management (IPM) training
  • the quantity of pesticide in each container and the number of containers sold or transferred
  • the name and address of the purchaser or transferee
  • the date of the sale or transfer
  • if the purchaser or transferee holds a licence or permit to use the pesticide or a licence to sell or transfer the pesticide, the type, class, number and expiry date if applicable of the licence or permit

Treated seed sales representative and direct-to-farm vendors will also need to forward these documents to the licensed vendor on a timely basis (in addition to their own record keeping).

Pesticide sales representatives

Sales representatives have direct contact with the buyer to facilitate the sale of a Class E pesticide on behalf of a vendor. It is up to the vendor to determine the appropriate training for their sales representatives. Sales representatives will need to understand the regulatory requirements and the necessary documentation to be reviewed and retained before facilitating the sale.

Vendors must:

  • ensure that a treated seed sales representative receives training on the relevant regulatory requirements
  • keep a record of the name of the treated seed sales representative and the date of training
  • provide each sales representative with vendor identification

In addition to carrying identification provided by the vendor when facilitating a sale, sales representatives must also ensure buyers provide the required documentation and information to purchase Class E pesticides.

This means they must collect the following from buyers:

  • proof of IPM training in the form of a certificate number
  • a pest risk assessment report that confirms the presence of pests in soil or crop damage at or beyond the thresholds set out in the Pest Risk Assessment Guideline or by meeting one of the risk factors from the pest risk criteria set out in the Pest Risk Assessment Guideline
  • a Declaration of Consideration of IPM principles
  • a treated seed vendor’s licence number if the buyer is another vendor.

Sales representatives are required to submit a copy of the collected documents and information to the vendor they represent within 30 days of collecting the information. Once sales representatives submit the collected documents to the vendor, they do not need to retain any copies for themselves.

Custom seed treaters

A custom seed treater is a person that provides a seed treating service in which neonicotinoid-insecticides are applied to seeds as a seed treatment prior to planting.

People who use these services of a custom seed treater do not need to have a vendor’s licence.

There are requirements that custom seed treaters must follow, including preparing a record for each Seed Treating Service provided.

The record must contain:

  • date the seed treating service was provided
  • name and address of the person for whom the seed treating service was provided
  • mass, in kilograms, of corn seed or soybean seed treated
  • name and class of the pesticide used to treat the seed and the registration number assigned to the pesticide under the Pest Control Products Act (Canada)

Please note that custom seed treaters are required to keep these records for at least four years.

Integrated pest management training

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an approach to managing pests that is environmentally and economically sustainable.

IPM includes:

  • promoting the use of different treatment methods to prevent and reduce the risk of pests and encourage beneficial insects, including pollinators
  • using pesticides as a last resort to control pest problems
  • training on identifying pests, scouting methods and alternative methods to using pesticides

Successful completion of the IPM training course is required in order to purchase and plant neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed. Farmers need to provide proof that they have completed this training by providing their certificate number to a sales representative, vendor or custom seed treater.

The certification:

  • only needs to be completed once
  • does not expire (recertification is not required)

It is a separate training program from other pesticide training, such as the Grower Pesticide Safety Course.

IPM training is available at various locations through the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus either in person or online. Follow the link or call 1-866-225-9020 for more information.

The cost for training is $88.33 upon registration. The fee will increase by 10% annually until September 2020.

Pest risk assessment report

A pest risk assessment report is documented proof that the conditions of a farm property demonstrate a risk for pests that allow the use of neonicotinoid-treated seed.

In order to purchase neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed, a person (such as a farmer) must provide a pest risk assessment report to a vendor, sales representative or custom seed treater.

The pest risk assessment report must reflect the findings from your pest risk assessment. Pest risk assessments must be done according to the Pest Risk Assessment Guideline, which the guideline outlines how pest risk assessments are to be conducted and sets out the minimum thresholds and pest risk criteria.

There are three pest risk assessment methods:

  • soil pest scouting
  • crop damage assessment
  • pest risk criteria

Soil pest scouting

This method assesses the presence of grubs and wireworms in soil. Soil pest scouting is often done in the spring or fall.

The assessment must confirm the presence of an average of two or more grubs, or one wireworm in soil at a farm property. A report must verify that the assessment meets or exceeds the pest threshold in order to purchase neonicotinoid-treated seeds.

Crop damage assessment

This method assesses crop damage from pests. The assessment must confirm at least a 15% stand loss in corn, or at least a 30% stand loss in soybean caused by pests, in order to purchase neonicotinoid-treated seeds.

Pest risk criteria

This method uses the criteria listed in the Pest Risk Assessment Guideline. You have to identify at least one risk factor on the property from the criteria list in order to purchase neonicotinoid-treated seeds.

Farmers are be able to perform a pest risk assessment and prepare a report if they have completed the integrated pest management (IPM) training.

A pest risk assessment report does not expire and can be used to purchase and plant seeds for multiple years on the same farm property. You can download and print a pest risk assessment report form online.

Contact us

Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Tel: 416-325-4000
TTY: 1-800-565-4923

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Toll-free: 1-877-424-1300
TTY: 1-855-696-2811