Ministry of Agriculture

Pesticide Laws and Regulations

Updated January 2014

British Columbia Laws

Provincial Legislation

Provincial legislation regulates worker safety, drinking water safety, the sale, use and disposal of pesticides in B.C. Farmers must comply with several provincial acts and regulations that have rules about pesticides. The following is a summary of the main provincial pesticide rules farmers need to comply with. See Federal Legislation and Municipal/Regional Legislation for more laws on pesticides.

Table Summarizing Provincial Pesticide Legislation for Farmers

Abbreviations for Names of Acts and Regulations.

  • WCB  = Workers Compensation Act (WCB); Occupational Health and Safety Regulation
  • IPM = Integrated Pest Management Act and Regulations
  • EMA = Environmental Management Act
  • PHA = Public Health Act, Health Hazard Regulations
Activity The Law Says: Act or Regulation
All Pesticide Activities People cannot cause an unreasonable adverse effect from a pesticide.
IPM
Pesticides must be used according to the label.
WCB
IPM
Employers must have written safe work procedures and put them into practice.
WCB
Buying Pesticides Farmers/Ranchers need a valid Pesticide Applicator Certificate to purchase Restricted Pesticides
IPM
Transporting Pesticides Pesticides must be transported in undamaged, labeled, closed and secured containers
IPM
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) Employers must have MSDSs available for workers
WCB
Storing Pesticides Probable sources of contamination (pesticides) must be stored 30 m from any well
PHA 
Pesticides must be stored in closed, labeled containers and according to label directions
IPM
The storage must be dry, locked, vented to the outside with a sign on each entrance stating Chemical Storage Warning Authorized persons Only
IPM
The active ingredient, Trade Name, PCP # and quantity of pesticide in the container must be marked on any pesticide container without its original label
IPM
Check Municipal and Regional Legislation section for National Farm Building Code requirements
Store pesticide away from: lunchrooms, food storage areas, or areas where food preparation occurs
WCB
Pesticide storage facility must meet WCB requirements in the WCB manual Standard Practices for Pesticide Applicators.
WCB
Application Anyone applying a Restricted pesticide must have a valid Pesticide Applicator Certificate
IPM
Anyone using a moderate or very toxic pesticide must have a valid Pesticide Applicator Certificate.
WCB
Everyone mixing, loading or applying a very or moderately toxic pesticide must be 16 years of age or older
WCB
Pesticides must be used according to all label directions.
IPM
Use of a pesticide cannot result in an unreasonable adverse effect
IPM
Sprayer mixing and filling should be done 30 m away from wells (probable source of contamination)
PHA
Sprayer wash water should be applied to land as a pesticide or treated as a special waste
EMA
When filling a sprayer, a 30 cm (12 inch) air gap must be kept between the water supply line and the sprayer tank OR a backflow prevention device must be installed in the water supply line.
IPM
Employers must ensure precautions are taken to prevent the drift of spread of a pesticide from their property.
WCB
Employers must make sure pesticides are applied in a way that controls the risk to people.
WCB 
Employers must make sure workers who are not needed for pesticide application leave the area to be treated.
WCB
Pesticide application in buildings should be scheduled when no one is in the building.
WCB
Application Equipment Equipment used to mix, load, or apply pesticides must: be used according to instructions, only be used by trained people, be cleaned and properly maintained, of materials that are compatible with pesticides, and in a safe condition before maintenance or repair work is carried out.
WCB
  Tanks greater than 200 litres (44 imp. Gal) and sold after Jan. 1999 must have: a device that shows the fluid level, secured openings to prevent spillage when in use, shut-off devices at end of hoses and pipes coming from the mixing tank.
WCB
Re-entry Workers cannot enter a treated area before the re-entry time has past. Re-entry times vary with the pesticide applied.
WCB
If a worker must enter a treated area before the re-entry time is over, the worker must be given proper personal protective clothing, follow proper procedures; know the hazards & enclosed areas should be vented if possible.
WCB
Informing Workers Employers must tell workers if seeds or planting stock has been treated with pesticides by posting the name of the pesticides, the date of application and safety precautions to follow.
WCB
Employers must tell workers if a pesticide used on the farm has drifted onto a work area and let them know of any hazards or precautions. If the pesticide drifted onto workers, the employer must tell the workers and tell them the name of the pesticide, hazards and precautions.
WCB
Employers must tell workers: If a pesticide will be used in a building where the workers go and any hazards or precautions
WCB
Warning Signs Areas to be treated with moderately or very toxic pesticides must be posted with a warning sign
WCB
Warning signs must be clearly identifiable and must be easily understood by workers.
WCB
Warning signs must show a skull and crossbones symbol, the word Warning in a language understood by workers and able to be read 8 m (25) away, the name of the pesticides, date of application, end of re-entry period, and how to get permission to enter before the re-entry time.
WCB
Warning signs for fumigants must also say Danger, Deadly Fumigant Gas, Keep out in a language workers understand. They must also have an emergency telephone number and the name of the applicator.
WCB
Application to a watercourse A permit is needed from the Ministry Environment to apply pesticide to a watercourse that is not self contained and on private land.
IPM
Disposal of Empty Pesticide Containers Empty containers must be pressure rinsed for 30 seconds or singled rinsed 3 times. The rinse water must be used for mixing a pesticide or applied to land where the pesticide has been applied for pest control; that is flat ground, not in a swale, and at least 200 m for any well or surface water; and does not consist of gravel,  sand  or other similarly porous material.
EMA
Empty rinsed pesticide containers must be taken to a pesticide container recycling site, a permitted landfill or buried according to section 42(6) of the Hazardous Waste Regulation.
EMA
Disposal of Pesticides Unwanted pesticides must be disposed of in an approved manner.
IPM
Record Keeping Employers must keep pesticide records that include the pesticide used, location of application, date and time of application, re-entry date, crop treated, rate and size of field.
WCB
Spills Pesticide spills greater than 5 kg or 5 liters must be reported to the Provincial Emergency Program at 1-800-663-3456
EMA
Washing and Wash Facilities Employers must provide wash facilities for workers who use pesticides or enter treated areas that may contaminate workers.
WCB
Workers must immediately clean any body area contaminated with pesticide.
WCB
Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment Employers must provide employees with suitable protective clothing and equipment. Must also ensure employees wear/use it.
WCB
Store contaminated clothing and equipment in a secure place until it is cleaned.
WCB
Employers must provide a place for workers to change into protective clothing
WCB

Names and Descriptions of Provincial Pesticide Legislation

Drinking Water Protection Act

The Drinking Water Protection Act and Regulations have requirements for the protection of drinking water quality and regulates domestic water systems. A domestic water system is a system that serves more than one single-family residence. The legislation does not allow people to cause a drinking water health hazard.

Environmental Management Act and Regulation

The Environmental Management Act and Hazardous Waste Regulation empowers the Ministry of Environment to control pollution within B.C. Waste regulated by this legislation includes a pollutants such as air contaminants, litter, effluent, refuse, biomedical waste, and special wastes. Part six of the Hazardous Waste Regulation applies to the disposal of pesticides (Pest Control Products) and pesticide containers. This regulation specifies how waste pesticides and waste pesticide containers are to be disposed of. The Spill Reporting Regulation requires pesticide spills greater than 5 kilograms or 5 litres be reported to the Provincial Emergency Program at 1-800-663-3456 within a reasonable time after the incident. Details on disposal of empty pesticide containers and unwanted pesticides are located at: Recycling and Disposal. Details of Spill reporting procedures are at: Pesticide Spills.

Public Health Act

The Public Health Act which is administered by the Ministry of Health includes regulations on farm practices that may result in a health hazard. The Health Hazards Regulation of this Act says that probable sources of contamination must be 30 meters from wells. Since some pesticides could be considered a health hazard and since they could be a probable source of contamination, on-farm pesticide activities should be carried out at least 30 meters from wells.

Integrated Pest Management Act and Regulations

The Integrated Pest Management Act and Regulations regulates the sale, containment, transportation, storage, preparation, mixing, application and disposal of pesticides within B.C. This legislation requires certain pesticide applicators be certified. It also prohibits the use of a pesticide in a way that would cause an unreasonable adverse effect. The IPM Act and Regulations is administered by the BC Ministry of Environment.

Integrated Pest Management Staff of the Ministry of Environment are located in offices at:

City Address Phone
Penticton 102 Industrial Place,
Penticton, BC V2A 7C8
(250) 490-8200
Prince George 3rd Floor, 1011 4th Ave.
Prince George, BC V2L 3H9
(250) 565-6135
Surrey 10470 152 St.,
Surrey, BC V3R 0Y3
(604) 582-5200
Victoria PO Box 9342
Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9M1
(250) 387-9955

Study Materials can be obtained from the Office Products Centre in Victoria by phoning:1-800-282-7955

Go to "Certification and News" for information on becoming certified or re-certified.

Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation

The Workers Compensation Act Occupational Health and Safety Regulation are intended for the protection of workers. They govern the use of pesticides at worksites that come under the authority of WorkSafeBC. The pesticide requirements apply to: safe application, informing workers, applicator certification and age restrictions, safety procedures, posting warning signs, re-entry intervals, pesticide drift, record keeping, personal protective clothing and equipment, and storage. One change impacting farmers is that re-entry intervals no longer need to be added together when pesticides are applied as a tank mix. The section on Worker Safety & Re-entry summarizes the key rules for pesticide application in agriculture. Additional general information can be obtained from WorkSafeBC at 1-888-621-7233 or the Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA) at 1-877-533-1789. WorkSafeBC also has an emergency phone number for accidents. It is 1-866-922-4357.

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