Message to Golf Courses from Health Canada

By Jerry Rousseau

In late May, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the federal legislator for pesticides, circulated a three-page notice to major national and regional/provincial industry associations on the subject of golf course pesticide use.

Use of pesticides on golf courses:  Important information from Health Canada

For decades, the WCTA and other representative groups have worked with PMRA on multiple levels, often passing along information to our members about label changes or active ingredients being taken off the market, advocating for new chemistries, providing updates on pest issues and industry needs, etc, etc, but I don’t ever recall seeing ‘compliance promotion material’ directly messaged to the Canadian golf industry.

Perhaps something went out before my time and while the messaging is pretty standard stuff, ie. legislative requirements, reminder about recent regulatory changes, follow the label and so on, surely superintendents everywhere are wondering if there’s a specific driver for this sudden interest in golf.

Golf has always had an excellent track record with PMRA in the overall but I’m curious too and on behalf of WCTA members, have asked PMRA a few questions such as:

What’s driving this campaign, is it a pre-planned strategy or reactionary?
Is the scale national or regionally targeted?
Is there is any particular area of concern?
Are other turf sectors like sportsfields being contacted?

Shaun Dhaliwal, Pesticide Compliance & Enforcement Officer and frequent WCTA conference speaker, stated, “Currently in 2024, BC is the only province still focusing on golf courses as a priority sector.  This is due to the fact that in BC one of the main compliance issues we have seen that has warranted our continued inspections is the misuse of chlorothalonil-based products as it is currently labelled.

"Ruh roh," as Scooby Doo would say and certainly something to look into further.  On that note, communication with PMRA is ongoing and we expect further messaging regarding this specific issue in later summer or early fall.  Whether or not inspections are being planned this summer has not been disclosed.