Pesticide Issue Update - April 2014

12.02.01.Pesticide Debate200By Jerry Rousseau

On October 10th, 2013, Allied Golf Association of BC Environmental Advocacy Committee representatives met with Environment Minister Mary Polak on the subject of pesticide use.

Trevor Smith, AGA-BC President stated in a follow-up article, “At that meeting we were able to review the proposed regulatory changes with the Minister and her staff, engage in active discussion and agree to be forthcoming with further recommendations.  One of those recommendations was to create a separate category for golf courses.”  He went on to say, “The representatives of the Environmental Advocacy Committee all felt that the meeting was very positive and look forward to a very healthy relationship going forward.”

A day earlier on October 9th, the BC Ministry of Environment released proposed IPM Act regulatory changes to stakeholders and the general public with a deadline for comments set at December 8th. 

See Intentions Paper

The proposed IPM regulatory amendments include:

  • Require a pesticide user licence for application of pesticides in private landscaped areas other than where regulatory exceptions apply 
  • Require notification of residents when pesticides are used on private landscaped areas 
  • Establish a list of pesticides considered safe for use by untrained people that may be: displayed for easy access by customers; sold without a vendor licence; and applied in private landscaped areas without a user licence (see Appendix 2 – New Schedule 5 Pesticides) 
  • Update the list of pesticides that are excluded from IPMR requirements for a licence to reflect the new list of pesticides considered safe for use by untrained people (Schedule 5) and current understanding of pesticide products and their use (see Appendix 3 – Updated Schedule 2 Pesticides)

The Polak/AGA-BC discussion had been scheduled some time earlier so timing of the regulatory announcement was enormously fortunate.  The committee had just enough notice to review the proposed regulatory amendments before the ink was dry and provide constructive feedback directly to the Minister.   

AGA-BC’s Environmental Advocacy Committee then met with Ministry of Environment staff on November 28th to review and clarify the proposed changes and to offer golf industry suggestions and feedback. 

With the Ministry intending to have changes enacted in two stages between spring of 2014 and 2015, it was quickly noted that the implementation timeframe was relatively short.  For golf courses, changes to the regulation would mean the following:

  1. All golf courses, whether on private land or public will need to have a Pesticide Use Licence for a fee of $250 per year. 
  2. All persons spraying pesticides will need to have a Pesticide Applicators Certificate or under the proposed regulations, an ‘assistant applicator’ certification.  
  3. The alternative for golf courses is to have a service license contractor apply products on courses who may not be able to hire certified applicators or maintain a use license.  A Pesticide Service Licence is needed for anyone spraying pesticides for a fee for service based business

Since the November 28th meeting, MOE had not provided any update until prompted via email on March 17.  On March 18th, the following was stated by Provincial Pesticide Licence Officer, Gwendolyn Lohbrunner:

“The process has been delayed, so any changes that occur will be later in the year (we do not have an exact time yet). The consultation process generated a great deal of response which took extra time to review. We will update you as soon as anything new comes forward.”

The committee last met April 1st, identifying two main action items at present:

1. Write a letter to the Ministry of Environment regarding a separate classification of pesticide certification for golf.
2. Create resource material, to be called a ‘grass-roots kit’, to help individual golf courses lobby local politicians.  The plan is to have a government relations firm create the kit after the upcoming Golf Awareness Day in Victoria.

The next meeting of the Environmental Advocacy Committee takes place May 20th.    Comments or questions may be directed to Committee Chair, Keith Lyall at