Purpose

This technical guidance provides regulatory information for landscape licensed exterminators authorized to use pesticides to maintain turf and ornamental plantings, treed areas not exceeding one hectare and rights of way or easements not related to public works. Ontario’s cosmetic pesticides ban took effect April 22, 2009. The requirements of the ban are detailed in the Pesticides Act, which was amended by the Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act, 2008 and in Ontario Regulation 63/09 (O. Reg. 63/09).

Update

Subsection 74(3) of O. Reg. 63/09 specifies that as of April 22, 2011, warning signs (i.e. Sign D and F) can no longer deviate from the versions of the signs referred to in subsection 1(5) of the O. Reg. 63/09. In other words, if warning signs are required to be posted to provide public notice of a land extermination, the law requires that the version of the warning signs posted on the MOE's website be used.

Classification of pesticides

A pesticide product must be registered by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and classified by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to be sold and used in Ontario (please refer to s.6 of the Pesticides Act and s.9 of O. Reg. 63/09). Products must be used according to label directions and for purposes allowed under the ban.

As set out in subsection 4(5) of O. Reg. 63/09, Ontario has established a pesticide classification system consisting of eleven classes under provincial legislation as set out below.

  • Class 1 pesticides are products intended for manufacturing purposes
  • Class 2, 3 and 4 pesticides are restricted or commercial products
  • Class 5 and 6 pesticides are domestic products intended for household use
  • Class 7 pesticides are controlled sale products (domestic or restricted)
  • Class 8 pesticides are domestic products that are banned for sale and use
  • Class 9 pesticides are ingredients in products for use only under exceptions to the ban
  • Class 10 pesticides are ingredients in products for the poisonous plant exception
  • Class 11 pesticides are ingredients in products for cosmetic uses under the ban

Pesticide use notification for Class 11 pesticides

A landscape licensed exterminator is required to post a non-residential area notice sign (sign E) when using a Class 11 pesticide on non-residential area land as a land extermination in order to notify the public of pesticide use (examples of signs are available on the ministry’s website).

Pesticide use notification for Class 9 and 10 pesticides

A landscape licensed exterminator may use a Class 9 or 10 pesticide under an exception to the ban.

The posting of a residential area warning sign (Sign D) on residential area land or a non-residential area warning sign (Sign F) on non-residential area land is required to notify the public of pesticide use when using a Class 9 or 10 pesticide in a land extermination.

Health or safety exception

A landscape licensed exterminator may use a Class 2, 3 or 4 product containing a Class 10 pesticide to manage plants that are poisonous to the touch to humans, such as poison ivy, poison sumac, wild parsnip, stinging nettle and giant hogweed.

Golf course exception

Refer to the Golf Courses technical guidance for information on this exception to the ban.

Specialty turf and specified sports field exception

Refer to the Specialty Turf and Specified Sports Field technical guidance for information on these exceptions to the ban.

Arboriculture exception

There is an arboriculture exception to the use of a Class 9 pesticide to maintain the health of trees. The following uses are permitted under the arboriculture exception:

  • A landscape licensed exterminator injecting a Class 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 product that contains a Class 9 pesticide into a tree; and
  • A landscape licensed exterminator applying any pesticide product that contains a Class 9 pesticide directly to a tree if the pesticide is used to maintain the health of the tree.

A landscape licensed exterminator injecting a Class 2, 3 or 4 product that contains a Class 9 pesticide into a tree or a person applying any pesticide product that contains a Class 9 pesticide directly to a tree for the purpose of maintaining the tree’s health must first obtain a written opinion from a professional tree care specialist stating that the use of the pesticide, as part of an integrated pest management strategy, is necessary to maintain the health of the tree. Note: pests damaging the fruit of a tree would not impact the health of the tree.

In addition, landscape licensed exterminators are required to provide advance written notice to the occupants of all residential properties that abut the area where the tree is located. Warning signs indicating that a Class 9 pesticide has been used must also be posted. Note: the tree is considered to be the application area.

This written notice must be provided one to seven days in advance of the application and includes:

  • Date of the extermination
  • Description of the application area
  • Pest to be exterminated
  • Name of the pesticide and its registration number
  • Ingredient of the pesticide to be used
  • Contact phone number of a representative of the person who will use the pesticide

Other legislative requirements exception

An exception to the ban for the use of Class 9 pesticides is provided for the purpose of complying with a requirement under other federal or provincial legislation. For example, a weed inspector has authority to issue an order to destroy a noxious weed, which is negatively affecting agricultural land, as listed under Regulation 1096 made under the Weed Control Act. The written order will list the weed(s) to be controlled and the exact location to be treated. A person has the responsibility to ensure that, before he or she uses a Class 9 pesticide for this excepted use, he or she is complying with the written order. Furthermore, this exception only applies if the use of a Class 9 pesticide is the only effective and practical means of complying with the order.

The Weed Control Act is under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. To obtain contact information for the weed inspector in your area get in touch with your local municipality, region, district or county.

Natural resources exception

There is an exception to the ban for the use of Class 9 pesticides to manage, protect, establish or restore a natural resource. The natural resources exception can only be considered if no other exception to the cosmetic pesticides ban applies. For example, if there is a treed area of one hectare or larger used for forestry purposes, then the exception to the cosmetic pesticides ban for forestry use applies and a Forestry exterminator licence is required.

A landscape licensed exterminator may use a Class 9 pesticide to manage, protect, establish, or restore natural resources under this exception depending on the circumstances.

In addition, a Class 9 pesticide must be used in accordance with integrated pest management (IPM) principles. IPM emphasizes pest prevention, and considers all options before deciding on the most effective, environmentally friendly and cost effective means of managing a pest problem and reducing reliance on pesticides.

A landscape licensed exterminator who is a Conservation Authority (CA) employee, Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) employee or is providing a service to either a CA, the MNR or a body responsible for managing a natural resources management project for the MNR under written agreement may use a Class 9 pesticide to manage, protect, establish, or restore natural resources under this exception to the ban.

Where a private land owner wants a Class 9 pesticide used, then either the contracted landscape licensed exterminator or the landowner must apply to the appropriate Director of the MNR to receive a written opinion that states that the use of a Class 9 pesticide is necessary for one of the following purposes:

  • To control an invasive species that may be detrimental to the health of a person, the environment or the economy of Ontario.
  • To benefit a species of plant or animal native to Ontario, through the protection of the species or its habitat, or the establishment, restoration or management of the species' habitat.
  • To protect or restore a rare ecosystem or its components.

The landscape licensed exterminator must carry a copy of the written opinion or have it readily available at the extermination site at all times during the extermination and must use the pesticide for the purpose set out in the written opinion. The MNR Director’s written opinion must include the following information:

  • The name of the person authorized to use the Class 9 pesticide
  • Street address or legal description of the property that contains the application area
  • The purpose for which the Class 9 pesticide is to be used
  • The time period, not exceeding five years, during which the opinion is valid

For further information or to apply for a written opinion contact the local MNR district office or MNR's public contact centre at 1-800-667-1940.

Supervision of technicians and trainees

A landscape licensed exterminator may supervise technicians and trainees using a Class 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 product. Under supervision, technicians and trainees may use a Class 9 pesticide under certain exceptions to the ban including golf courses, public works, specialty turf and arboriculture.

Compliance and enforcement

To report non-compliance of pesticide use, please contact your MOE district office during regular business hours. After business hours, call the MOE's Pollution Hotline at 1-866-MOE-TIPS (1-866-663-8477).

For more information

Visit the MOE website for additional information on topics such as:

A number of fact sheets and suggestions on caring for lawns and gardens are available on the MOE's website for specific audiences.

Questions about the cosmetic pesticides ban can be directed to the MOE's Public Information Centre at 1-800-565-4923 or 416-325-4000 (press 0 to talk to an information officer).

This technical guidance is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Interested parties are advised to refer to the Pesticides Act and O. Reg. 63/09 to address specific circumstances.

PIBS 7661

Updated: June 23, 2021
Published: December 04, 2015