Using Pesticides in Ontario

Visit pesticides for up-to-date information on provincial pesticide use requirements. Some of the information provided in this generic chapter may not apply to all crops

Read the label before use.
Product labels may change.
Review the Grower Pesticide Safety Course Manual at:
Ontario Pesticide Education Program
Keep detailed spray records.

Federal Registration of Pesticides

Before a pesticide (pest control product) can be sold or used in Ontario, it must be registered under the federal Pest Control Products Act (PCP Act). The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada registers pesticides for use in Canada following an evaluation of scientific data to ensure that any human health and environmental risks associated with its proposed uses are acceptable, and that the products have value.

The PMRA re-evaluates registered pesticides to determine whether today's health and environmental protection standards are still met when the pesticide is used according to the label. The PMRA also assesses whether the pesticide still has value. Re-evaluations are initiated every 15 years. Outcomes of a re-evaluation can be:

  • no change to the registration
  • amendments to the label (e.g., changes to personal protective equipment requirements, restricted entry intervals, buffer zones)
  • modifications to existing Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs)
  • elimination or phasing-out of certain uses or formulations
  • discontinuation of the registration

A special review of a registered pesticide can be initiated at any time by the PMRA if the PMRA has reason to believe its use may pose unacceptable risk to human health or the environment or the pesticide no longer has value. Special reviews focus on a specific concern (e.g., neonicotinoid pesticides and impacts to pollinator health).

The pesticide label is a legal document. Follow all label directions. Labels for all registered pesticides are under "Search Pesticide Labels" on the PMRA website at Health Canada. Ensure you have the most current label and are aware of any re-evaluation decisions. Emergency registrations are temporary registrations (1 year or less) for pesticides needed by growers to manage a new invasive pest or pest outbreak. Know the expiration date for pesticides you are using under an emergency registration.

Maximum Residue Limit (MRL)

When you apply a pesticide to a crop, some residue may remain on the crop at harvest time. A Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) is the maximum amount of pesticide residue that may remain on food after a pesticide is applied as per label directions and which can safely be consumed. The PMRA sets the MRL well below a level that may cause harm to human health. The MRL is specific for every pesticide-crop combination.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for enforcing the MRLs established by the PMRA. OMAFRA's Food Inspection Branch conducts an annual Produce Food Safety Monitoring Program which involves collecting Ontario grown fresh fruits and vegetables and testing them for pesticide residues and pathogenic organisms (e.g., Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7).

If you apply a pesticide at a higher rate, make too many applications or harvest a crop before the Pre- Harvest Interval has ended, there may be pesticide residues in excess of the MRLs set by PMRA.

When exporting your food product, it is important to confirm the importing country's MRLs because it may be different than ours. Processors or retailers may demand more restrictive limits. Growers should seek advice of their intended market to determine if more restrictive limitations apply. Keep accurate and up-to- date records on pesticide use in each crop.

For more information on MRLs, see:

  • PMRA's MRL database provides information on established Canadian MRLs. This database includes importing MRLs that may have pesticide- crop combinations that are not registered for use in Canada. Always check the current Canadian pesticide label for registered uses.
  • Global MRL Database provides free access to U.S. MRL information.
  • Agricultural Chemical Companies can provide MRL information for their products. Companies' contact information are found on the pesticide labels, company websites and in OMAFRA's crop protection publications.
  • Summaries of OMAFRA's Food Safety Monitoring Program results.
  • CFIA's Chemical Residue Surveillance Program

Regulation of Pesticides in Ontario

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) is responsible for regulating the sale, use, transportation, storage and disposal of pesticides in Ontario. Ontario regulates pesticides by placing appropriate education, licensing and/or permit requirements on their use, under the Pesticides Act and Regulation 63/09. All pesticides must be used in accordance with requirements under the Pesticides Act and Regulation 63/09, which are available on the e-laws website or by calling Service Ontario or by calling ServiceOntario at 1-800-668-9938 or 416-326-5300.

Classification of Pesticides

The PMRA classifies a pesticide into one of four classes - manufacturing, restricted, commercial and domestic. As of May 1, 2020, Ontario's pesticides classes have been aligned with the federal government's pesticide categories to remove duplication and reduce complexity for the sale and use of pesticides in Ontario, while ensuring continued protection of human health and the environment.

The MECP automatically classifies pesticides in Ontario as Class A, B, C or D based on the federal classification system plus one additional class (Class E) for regulating the sale and use of neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed.

Table 2-1. Federal and Provincial Classification

Federal Product Class Federal Class Description Provincial Class
Manufacturing The pesticide is only used to manufacture a pest control product. Class A
Restricted The pesticide is restricted by the federal government out of concern of environmental risk or human health.Addition al information must be shown on the label regarding essential conditions for display, distribution and limitations on use. Specific qualifications may be required for a person to use this product. Class B
Commercial The pesticide can only be used in commercial activities that are specified on the label. Class C
Domestic The pesticide is primarily used by the general public for personal use and in and around their homes. Class D
N/A - Class E* Corn and soybean seeds that are treated with imidacloprid, clothianidin or thiamethoxam neonicotinoids

* Class E pesticides do 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.

Each Ontario Class has specific certification, licensing and/or permit requirements and restriction on its use and sale.

Certification and Licensing

Certified Farmers and Their Assistants

Farmers must be certified through the Grower Pesticide Safety Course (GPSC) in order to buy and use Class B and C pesticides on their farms. Certification is not required to buy and use Class D pesticides for agricultural purposes.

Farmers become certified by successfully completing one of the following certification options:

  • one-day in-person course and pass an open book certification test with a mark of at least 75%, or
  • online course and successfully complete quizzes and case studies to become certified.

Farmer assistants and supervised farmers using Class B or C pesticides must complete training and assist or be supervised by a certified farmer. Farmer assistants and supervised farmers must complete one of the two training options:

  • participate in a GPSC (assessment is not required) or
  • participate in an On-Farm training session given by an On-Farm Instructor.

For information about farmer training and certification requirements visit the MECP website and for information on courses visit the University of Guelph's Ontario Pesticide Education Program website or call 1-800-652-8573.

To buy and use Class E pesticides, farmers are required to:

  1. Complete the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Course for Corn and Soybean
  2. Complete a pest risk assessment and a pest risk assessment report
  3. Sign an IPM Written Declaration Form stating that you considered IPM principles to decrease the risk of early season insect damage.

Farmers must provide these pieces of information to a vendor sales representative or custom-seed treater in order to purchase Class E pesticides. They must retain these records for at least two years.

Farmers must also carry with them or have readily available at the field when they are planting a copy of their certificate of completion of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Course for Corn and Soybean and pest risk assessment report.

For information on the requirements for Class E pesticides visit the MECP website. For information on the IPM Course visit the University of Guelph's website at

Pesticide Commercial Applicators (Exterminators) and Their Assisting Technicians

All applicants for a pesticide exterminator licence must first become certified by passing an examination. Once certified, you can apply to the MECP for an exterminator licence.

For more information on how to become certified, refer to Ontario Pesticide Training and Certification

University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus 1-888-620-9999
Email: or Website

For further information on pesticide licensing please refer to the document Guide to Pesticide Licensing.

For information on technician training, visit:

Ontario's Cosmetic Pesticide Ban and Excepted Uses

Ontario prohibits the use of certain pesticides for cosmetic (non-essential) purposes.

Only low risk pesticides and biopesticides may be used for cosmetic purposes such as in lawns and gardens, and these are listed in the publication "List of Active Ingredients Authorized for Cosmetic Uses (Allowable List)"

Under the ban, the use of an active ingredient that is not on the Allowable List is permitted for appropriately licensed individuals if the use falls under one of the exceptions to the ban. There are exceptions for public health and safety (including for public works, buildings and other structures that are not a public work, and to control poisonous plants), golf courses, specialty turf, specified sports fields, arboriculture and the protection of natural resources, if certain conditions are met. There are also exceptions for agriculture, forestry, research and scientific purposes, uses of pesticides for structural exterminations (e.g., in and around homes to control insects), and uses of pesticides required by other legislation.

To locate your local go to MECP District Office.

To speak with your local MECP Pesticide Specialist:

  • South West Region - 519-668-9292
  • Central Region - 905-512-0981
  • Central Region - 416-990-1694
  • Eastern Region- 613-540-6874
  • Northern Region - 705-562-0853

Pesticide Application Information

When you decide to use a pesticide, choose the least toxic and least volatile option for your situation. Use an appropriate application method and ensure equipment is properly maintained and calibrated. Take all possible precautions to prevent the exposure of people and non-target organisms to the pesticide, before, during and after the application. Read the most current pesticide label thoroughly before application. The pesticide label is a legal document and must be followed. Pesticides may only be used in accordance with label instructions. The label provides important information, such as:

  • directions for use (e.g., rates of application, crops/ sites it can be used on, target pests, crop rotation restrictions, total number of applications, droplet size, application equipment, timing, appropriate weather conditions)
  • required personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • hazard symbols and warnings
  • restricted entry intervals
  • pre-harvest intervals
  • buffer zones / vegetative strips
  • precautionary statements
  • steps to be taken in case of an accident disposal
  • equipment sanitation

For more information on hazards, consult the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) or contact the manufacturer.

For more information on pesticide application, see:

Restricted Entry Intervals

Restricted Entry Interval (REI) is the minimum period of time that must elapse before hand labour tasks can be performed in an area treated with pesticide. The REI allows the pesticide residues and vapours to dissipate to safe levels to protect agricultural workers.

Hand labour tasks involve substantial worker contact with treated surfaces such as plants, plant parts or soil. Examples of these activities include planting, harvesting, pruning, detasseling, thinning, weeding, scouting, topping, sucker removal, mowing, roguing and packing produce into containers in the field or greenhouse. You can only perform these tasks after the REI has passed. Hand labour generally does not include operating, moving or repairing irrigation or water equipment, except for hand-set irrigation.

An REI can range from 12 hours to several days depending on the crop and the task (e.g., scouting, harvesting). A minimum 12-hour REI must be observed in agricultural crops, even if no REI is indicated on the label. However, REIs do not apply to biopesticides (e.g., microbials, pheromones) unless specified on the label. For golf courses and residential turf applications, the spray solution must
be dry before re-entry can occur. When tank mixing pesticides that have different REIs, you must observe the longest REI.

A Certified Farmer or Licensed Commercial Applicator (i.e., a holder of the appropriate Exterminator License, such as an Agriculture Exterminator License or a Greenhouse/Interior Plant Exterminator License) may need to enter a treated area early to do short-term tasks before the end of the REI. In these cases, the Certified Farmer or Licensed Commercial Applicator may enter between 4-12 hr after the application wearing a NIOSH-approved respirator and any other protective clothing (PC) and personal protective equipment stated on the label for mixing and loading. This Certified Farmer or Licensed Commercial Applicator (exterminator) must not be in the treated area during the REI for more than a total of 1 hr in any 24-hr period.

See Figure 2-1 for an example of a 24-hr REI on a pesticide label.

Figure 1. Example of a 24-hr REI on a pesticide label.

Figure 2-1. Example of a 24-hr REI on a pesticide label. (text version)

Certified Farmers and Licensed Commercial Applicators should plan pesticide applications around work tasks so that no one needs to enter treated areas before the restricted entry interval has passed.

Days to Harvest Intervals for Food Crops (Pre-harvest, Pre-grazing and Feeding Intervals

These intervals state the minimum time that must pass between the last pesticide application and the harvesting of the crop or the grazing and cutting of the crop for livestock feed. If you harvest a crop before the pre-harvest interval (PHI) has ended, there may be pesticide residues in excess of the maximum residue limits (MRLs) set by PMRA.

"Up to the day of harvest" means the same as 0 days PHI; however, the REI may be more restrictive (e.g., a 12-hr restricted entry interval) and must be observed for harvesting that occurs on the day of pesticide application.

To avoid exceeding the maximum residue limits, always follow the directions on the label.

Spray Buffer Zones

Spray buffer zones are no-spray areas required at the time of application between the area being treated and the closest downwind edge of a sensitive aquatic or terrestrial habitat. Spray buffer zones reduce the amount of spray drift that enters non-target areas.

Sensitive terrestrial habitats include hedgerows, grasslands, shelterbelts, windbreaks, forested areas and woodlots.

Sensitive freshwater habitats include lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, reservoirs, marshes, wetlands and ponds.

The pesticide label indicates the size of the spray buffer zone, which depends on the product used, the method of application, and the crop being sprayed.

Unless forbidden by the pesticide label, Health Canada's online Buffer Zone Calculator may allow applicators to reduce the spray buffer zones based on weather conditions, the category of the spray equipment and the droplet size.

For soil fumigation, a buffer zone is an area established around the perimeter of each application block.

Vegetative Filter Strips

A vegetative filter strip is:

  • a permanently vegetated strip of land.
  • sits between an agricultural field and downslope surface waters.
  • must be at least 10 m wide from edge of field to the surface water body.
  • must be composed of grasses, but may also contain other vegetation (shrubs, trees, etc.).

Vegetative filter strips reduce the amount of pesticide entering surface waters from runoff by slowing runoff water and filtering out pesticides carried with the runoff. Certain pesticide labels will require a vegetative filter strip. Other labels will recommend a vegetative filter strip as a best management practice.

Protect the Environment

Protect Water Sources

According to the British Crop Protection Council (BCPC), 40%-70% of surface water pesticide contamination comes from mixing and filling areas.

Where possible, load or mix pesticides on impermeable surfaces located safely away from watercourses or environmentally sensitive areas. Collect drainage and run-off and dispose of it safely (Your Guide to Using Pesticides, BCPC 2007).

Clean your spray equipment away from wells, ponds, streams and ditches. Apply the diluted rinse water (usually at a ratio of 10:1) to the treatment area (crop), but do not exceed the pesticide rate recommended on the label.

Do not make a direct connection between any water supply (e.g., public supply, wells, watercourse or pond) and a spray tank. Use an anti-backflow device or intermediate system to prevent back-siphoning that could contaminate the water supply.

Immediately contain and clean up any spills to prevent contamination to water sources.

Check the pesticide label for specific instructions on protection of water sources.

See protecting water sources, for more information:

Bee Poisoning

Honeybees, native bee species (e.g., bumble bees, squash bees) and other pollinating insects are important pollinators for many Ontario crops. Insecticides, some of which may negatively affect bees, require careful management to achieve both pollination and insect control of pest species. Growers and licensed commercial applicators can protect bees by following these suggestions:

  • Time insecticide applications to minimize bee exposure (e.g., apply post bloom). Daytime treatments, when bees are foraging, are most hazardous. Insecticide applications in the evening are the safest, unless there is evidence of a strong temperature inversion or high humidity. Under normal circumstances, spraying after 8 p.m. allows the spray to dry before the bees are exposed to it the next day. Spraying during early morning is the next best time, when fewer bees are foraging, but pesticide residues may still be present. Spraying should be completed well before 7 a.m. While honeybees and most other pollinating insects do not usually forage at temperatures below 13°C, bumblebees do. If you plan to spray in the morning, contact beekeepers who have bees within 5 km of your crop and spray site. The beekeepers may then have the option of taking any possible protective action.
  • Do not apply insecticides while fruit trees are in bloom. The Bees Act makes it an offence to do so in Ontario. Do not spray any flowering crop on which bees are foraging.
  • To prevent drift toward nearby hives, do not apply insecticides on windy days or when there is evidence of a strong temperature inversion.
  • Bees and other pollinators may be poisoned by visiting flowering weeds, trees and cover crops that have come into contact with an insecticide via spray drift or drift of insecticide-contaminated
    dust during planting. Avoid spray drift to flowering weeds that are adjacent to or within the target field. Where possible, mow down flowering cover crops or flowering weeds in and bordering target fields prior to spraying to help safeguard the bees. Control dandelions and other flowering weeds within fields before spraying or planting seeds treated with an insecticide. Take measures to reduce movement of dust from insecticide seed treatments to flowering trees, weeds and water sources that are in or adjacent to the target field. For more information on reducing dust movement, search for "Pollinator Protection and Responsible Use of Treated Seed - Best Management Practices".
  • Systemic insecticides may also pose a high risk to bees and other insect pollinators. Bees can be exposed to insecticide residues in or on flowers, leaves, pollen, nectar and/or surface water. Do not apply insecticide or allow it to drift onto blooming crops or off-site habitat if bees are foraging in or adjacent to the treatment area.
  • In crop settings where pesticide use is highly likely, beekeepers should remove honeybee colonies as soon as pollination and bloom are complete in the crop and before any insecticides are applied post bloom. In emergency situations, if the colonies cannot be removed in time, beekeepers can place burlap or cloth soaked in water at the entrance of the hive to disrupt the flight of the bees for up to 12 hr and provide more time for spray to dry. To help prevent overheating of the hive during this time, keep an opening of 2.5 cm on each side of the hive entrance so bees can still get out and ventilate the hive. Also, the water on the burlap or cloth will help cool the colony.
  • Not all pesticides are equally toxic to bees. If there is a risk of honeybee poisoning, try to choose an insecticide that is not highly toxic to bees. When there is a choice, choose a product formulation that is less hazardous to bees.
  • Always read the most current pesticide label for guidance. Some pesticides cannot be used when bees are active in the crop.

For more information on ways to reduce bee poisoning, see:

Practices to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Agricultural Pesticides in Canada, available at the Canadian Honey Council website. Select "Bee Health Roundtable."

Manage Drift

Pesticide drift is the aerial movement and unintentional deposit of pesticide outside the target area. Drift results in wasted product, may compromise crop protection and can adversely affect nearby sensitive environmental areas, crops and wildlife. The following strategies can help reduce the risk of pesticide drift:

  • Do not spray when wind direction is changeable, or wind speeds are high or gusty. These conditions increase the potential for off-target drift. While most pesticide labels indicate allowable wind speeds, some do not.
  • Regularly monitor wind conditions during spraying, preferably in the field with a handheld wind meter at nozzle height or elevated to the top of the target canopy from within the planted area. Record the wind speed and direction. As conditions change, make adjustments to manage drift potential. Adjustments may include a coarser droplet size, minimizing nozzle-to-target distance, adjusting air energy or vector on air-assisted sprayers, slowing travel speed, using a drift reducing adjuvant or discontinuing spraying until conditions improve.
  • Do not spray during periods of dead calm. Periods of dead calm may occur between late evening and early morning and can result in the vapour or fine spray droplets remaining aloft, like fog. Spray-filled air can move unpredictably over great distances several hours after the spray event is completed.

Temperature inversions create problems for spray applicators because pesticide spray can:

  • remain suspended and active in the air above the target for long periods of time
  • move with light breezes in changeable and unpredictable directions
  • move down slopes and concentrate in low-lying regions

Field air temperatures are often very different from local or regional forecasts, so the most reliable method of detecting inversion conditions is to measure temperatures at, and several metres above, the ground. Commercial hand-held inversion detectors are now available. Spray applicators can also recognize a temperature inversion from environmental cues, such as when:

  • there is a big drop from daytime to nighttime temperature
  • wind dies down by early evening and night
  • far away sounds can be heard clearly
  • odours seem more intense
  • daytime cumulus clouds collapse toward evening
  • overnight cloud cover is 25% or less
  • smoke or dust hangs in the air and/or moves laterally in a sheet

Temperature inversions start to form about 3 hr prior to sunset, become stronger as the sun sets and continue until sunrise when the surface warms and air mixing begins. If you suspect there's an inversion, don't spray. Often, warnings for the risk of inversions are stated right on the product label.

  • If specified, use the sprayer output indicated on the pesticide label.
  • Use a nozzle at a pressure that will produce the droplet size specified on the pesticide label or delivers droplets appropriate for the job.
  • Coarser droplets reduce drift significantly. Air induction nozzles used above 2bar (30psi) will produce Coarse to Ultra Coarse droplets. They can be used in the top nozzle positions on air-assist sprayers in specialty crops, or along conventional horizontal booms. Ensure the droplet size and volume are appropriate for the application being performed.
  • Minimize the distance between nozzle and target as much as possible while still maintaining spray uniformity.
  • Establish buffer zones for the protection of adjacent sensitive areas. Some pesticide labels will state buffer zone setbacks; follow these carefully.
  • Use drift reduction technology, such as hoods, shrouds, screens or air curtains.
  • If appropriate, use drift-reducing adjuvants in the spray tank. The intense agitation in air-assist sprayers for specialty crops has been shown to reduce the effectiveness of drift-reducing adjuvants. Certain combinations of drift-reducing adjuvants and air-induction nozzles have been shown to increase the incidence of fine droplets. Consult with the adjuvant manufacturer.
  • When possible, use non-volatile pesticide formulations or products.

For more information about spray drift, see:

  • Sprayers 101
  • OMAFRA website: Spraydrift
  • OMAFRA Factsheet Pesticide Drift from Ground Applications
  • OMAFRA Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada booklet Best Management Practices - Pesticide Storage, Handling and Application, Order No. BMP13
  • Ontario Pesticide Education Program (University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus) Drift of Pesticides video series (click the "YouTube" icon)

Waste Management (container disposal)

Empty Pesticide Containers Up to 23 L

Never re-use empty containers.

The Ontario Empty Pesticide and Fertilizer Container Recycling Program, an industry-led program, is available free of charge to growers and commercial applicators. Through this program, you can return triple-rinsed or pressure-rinsed plastic pesticide and fertilizer containers up to 23 L to container collection depots located throughout the province. Remove the cap and booklet from the pesticide container and metal handle from the fertilizer pail before recycling. To locate the closest container collection depot, visit Cleanfarms, call your local dealer or contact Cleanfarms at 416-622-4460 (toll-free at 877-622-4460) or

Empty Pesticide Containers Greater Than 23 L (Totes and Drums)

Growers and commercial applicators should return pesticide containers that are greater than 23 L in size to the point of sale or local collection site for disposal. Contact your local dealer for details on disposal of these containers, or contact Cleanfarms at 416-622-4460 (toll-free at 877-622-4460) or

Empty Seed and Pesticide Bags

Growers can return their empty seed and pesticide bags to select retail locations. Contact your local dealer for details on disposal of these empty seed and pesticide bags, or contact Cleanfarms at 416-622-4460 (toll-free at 877-622-4460) or

Surplus Spray Mix

The best approach is to plan the spray job accurately to avoid creating a surplus.

When this is unavoidable, dispose of excess spray mix by spraying it on other crops that require an application of this pesticide. Before spraying, check the label to make sure the pesticide is registered for use on that other crop.

If you cannot find another allowable crop to spray, then dilute the remaining spray mix by adding 10 parts of water for each 1 part of spray mix.

The diluted solution can be safely applied to the original treated area as long as you do not exceed the pesticide rate recommended on the label. Be sure to check the label for any restrictions about crop rotation, days to harvest or disposal of surplus spray mix.

Never re-spray the treated field with undiluted spray mix. Spraying an area twice at the same pesticide rate will double the labeled pesticide rate. This may cause illegal pesticide residues in the harvested crop or harmful residues in the soil that can cause crop damage.

Surplus Pesticides Disposal

Be sure to safely dispose of pesticides that you do not need or cannot use. Options for proper disposal include:

  • Contact the supplier. It is sometimes possible to return unused pesticide if it is still in its original, unopened container.
  • Hire a licensed waste hauler who is licensed under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act to carry hazardous wastes.
  • Cleanfarms operates a free Obsolete Pesticide and Animal Health Product Collection Program throughout the province every 3 years. To locate the closest collection point and date, visit the Cleanfarms,contact Cleanfarms at 416-622-4460 (toll-free at 877-622- 4460) or or contact your local dealer for program details.
  • Contact your municipality to see if any hazardous waste collection days are scheduled and verify whether quantities of agricultural pesticides will be accepted.

Storing Pesticides

Ontario's Pesticides Act and Regulation 63/09 provide details on storage requirements for pesticide storage facilities. As shown in Table 2-2, the storage requirements that must be followed are dependent on which classes of pesticides you store.

Table 2-2. Requirements for Pesticide Storage Facilities
Storage requirements Pesticide Classe
Class B****
Pesticide Classe
Class C
Pesticide Classe
No contact with food or drink Yes Yes Yes
Not an impairment to health and safety Yes Yes Yes
Clean and orderly Yes Yes Yes
Warning sign G posted* Yes Yes Yes
Emergency telephone numbers posted** Yes Yes Yes
Vented to outside Yes Yes No
Limited access (locked) Yes Yes No
No floor drain Yes Yes No
Respiratory protection and protective clothing kept readily available Yes Yes No
Area used primarily for pesticides Yes No No

Note: Sufficient precautions are needed in your storage area to prevent the pesticide from entering the natural environment. Ensure your floor drain does not enter the natural environment.

* See here. These signs can be purchased from your pesticide dealer/vendor.

** Emergency contact numbers must include telephone numbers for the local fire department, hospital and poison control centre. The number for the MECP Spills Action Centre (1-800-268-6060) should also be readily available.
*** Only applies to Class C pesticides that are fumigants.
**** Does not apply to animal repellent products that only contain the active ingredient Capsaicin or Capsaicin and related capsaicinoids.

For more information about storing pesticides, see:

  • OMAFRA Factsheet Farm Pesticide Storage Facility
  • OMAFRA Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada booklet Best Management Practices - Pesticide Storage, Handling and Application, Order No. BMP13
  • Ontario Pesticide Education Program (University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus) Grower Pesticide Safety Course Manual. Select "Learn."

Pesticide Spills

Part X of the Environmental Protection Act defines a spill as a discharge of pollutant (including pesticides) that is abnormal in quality or quantity, from or out of a structure, vehicle or other container into the environment. An overturned pesticide sprayer that results in the release of the pesticide spray solution to the environment is an example of a spill. A pesticide container that ruptures and leaks its contents is another example of a spill. The discharge or spraying of a pesticide in an unapproved area is also considered a spill.

Part X of the Environmental Protection Act requires every person having control of a pollutant that is spilled or who spills, causes or permits a spill of a pesticide shall immediately notify:

  • the Ministry (through the Spills Action Centre)
  • the municipality within the boundaries of the spill, and
  • the owner of the pesticide or the person having charge, management or control of the pesticide.

Ontario's Spills Action Centre receives calls 24 hours a day (1-800-268-6060). Your local municipality may have additional reporting numbers such as fire department and Medical Officer of Health.

Where a spill causes or is likely to cause an adverse effect as defined by the Act, Part X of the Environmental Protection Act requires the owner of the pesticide and the person having control of the pesticide to:

  • immediately do everything practicable to prevent, eliminate and ameliorate any harm, and
  • restore the natural environment or other property to the state it was in prior to the spill.

Additionally, Ontario Regulation 63/09 under the Pesticides Act requires the person responsible for a pesticide to immediately notify the Ministry's Spills Action Centre in the event of a fire or other occurrence that may result in the pesticide being discharged into the environment out of the normal course of events if the discharge would be likely to:

  • cause impairment of the quality of the environment for any use that can be made of it;
  • cause injury or damage to property or to plant or animal life;
  • cause harm or material discomfort to any person;
  • adversely affect the health of any person;
  • impair the safety of any person; or
  • render directly or indirectly any property or plant or animal life unfit for use by humans.

Before you begin to clean up a spill of any nature, remember to protect yourself against pesticide exposure. Wear the proper protective clothing and personal protective equipment. If the spill occurs inside an enclosed area (e.g., a pesticide storage area or a vehicle during transport), ventilate the area first. Once you have protected yourself and removed other persons or animals from the spill site, take additional measures to stop the spill at the source and prevent it from spreading and/or contaminating watercourses. Specific precautions, emergency contact information and first aid procedures may be found on the label.

For minor spills, it may be possible to rectify the problem:

  • For a liquid spill - Cover the spill with a thick layer of absorbent material such as kitty litter, vermiculite or dry soil. Sweep or shovel the material into a waste drum and dispose of the contents as you would a hazardous waste.
  • For a dust, granular or powder spill - Sweep or shovel the material into a waste drum and dispose of the contents as you would a hazardous waste.

For major spills, it is essential to stop the spill from spreading.

The clean-up guidelines above may not be appropriate for all spill situations. Once you have contained the spill, follow directions from the manufacturer and regulatory authorities on cleaning the contaminated area.

Some of the information contained in this chapter is not authoritative. It is derived from the Pesticides Act, Ontario Regulation 63/09, Environmental Protection Act, and the federal Pest Control Products Act, Fisheries Act and Species at Risk Act and is for informational purposes only. Efforts have been made to make it as accurate as possible, but in the event of a conflict, inconsistency or error, the requirements set out in the referenced legislation take precedence. For specific legal details, please visit for Ontario legislation and for federal legislation, and consult your lawyer if you have questions about your legal obligations.

For information on preventing spills, see:

  • OMAFRA Factsheet Ways to Avoid Pesticide Spills
  • OMAFRA Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada booklet Best Management Practices - Pesticide Storage, Handling and Application, Order No. BMP13
  • Ontario Pesticide Education Program (University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus) Grower Pesticide Safety Course Manual. Select "Learn."

For pesticide poisonings and pesticide injuries, call:

Ontario Poison Centre:
, (TTY) 1-877-750-2233

For more information, see Emergency and First Aid Procedures for Pesticide Poisoning on inside back cover.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300