Canadian municipalities have been banning the use of Cosmetic Pesticides for a number of years, now Ontario has officially stepped in and will be making it a provincial law.
“We have fulfilled our commitment to ban the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides in Ontario. I'm proud to say that, when the ban takes effect on Earth Day, we will have eliminated this unnecessary risk to our environment, our families, and especially our children.” – John Gerretsen, Minister of the Environment
I've been reporting on the possibility, numerous drafts and responses of the Ontario Cosmetic Pesticide Ban since I started this blog, now the McGuinty Government has released the regulations and I've got mixed impressions.
I'll be covering this issue a lot over the next week, this first entry will review the facts of the legislation as it relates to golf courses. I've added some comments and clarification in green. I've tried to remain unbiased, but I couldn't help myself at some points.
Just a side note, I'm a very passionate environmentalist but I get the impression that some of the features in this legislation are not about protecting the environment and I'm afraid that they will cause some confusion amongst the public, you'll see which ones I mean.
Ontario Regulation 63/09
Golf courses, accreditation by integrated pest management body
18. (1) If a pesticide mentioned in section 16 is used in relation to a golf course, the owner or operator of the golf course must ensure that the golf course is accredited by an integrated pest management body that has been approved by the director for the purposes of this section.
According to section 16, Class 9 pesticides include this list here.
Although the regulations do not mention the name or details of the "integrated pest management body", it is safe to assume they are referring to the IPM Accreditation Program developed by the IPM-PHC Council of Ontario. It is not mentioned what, if any, changes will be made to the program other than those mentioned in the Annual Report, see Section 19 (scroll down).
(2) Subject to subsection (3), the owner or operator of a golf course is exempt from subsection (1) until the later of the following dates:
1. April 22, 2012.
2. The second anniversary of the first day pesticides are used on the golf course.
For example if I'm the superintendent of GoForeTheGreen Golf Club and I do not apply a Class 9 product until July 18th of 2010, then I will not have to fulfill the requirements under this regulation until July the 18th of 2012. Or, if my golf club does not open until 2020 and I first apply pesticides on June 30th of 2020, then I must be accredited by June 30th of 2022.
(3) Subsection (2) applies if the golf course is registered by an integrated pest management body mentioned in subsection (1) before the later of the following dates and the registration is maintained:
1. April 22, 2010.
2. The first day pesticides are used on the golf course.
Meaning, get IPM Accredited by April 22 of 2010 or else you cannot use the Class 9 products until you are IPM accredited.
(4) If the owner or operator of a golf course has taken steps to meet the condition set out in subsection (3) and the Director is of the opinion that meeting that condition would cause undue hardship to the owner or operator of the golf course, the Director may, in writing, specify a later date by which the golf course must be registered by an integrated pest management body mentioned in subsection (1) for the purposes of subsection (3).
If your late, you've got to kiss some ass before being allowed to use the Class 9 products. Ha! I'm pretty sure they won't be handing many of these out.
(5) For the purposes of this section and sections 19, 20 and 21, the operator of a golf course is a person who is responsible for managing or supervising the golf course and includes a golf course superintendent or manager.
This is where I find it a little confusing and I'll be trying to get some clarification. Read the above one more time, doesn't it seem like they are referring to an employee? However, section 19.4.6 refers to "the golf course’s integrated pest management agent or another person approved in writing by the integrated pest management body for the purposes of this section". So that means that there may be some exceptions, but I can't find more details on that.
For details on the current Pesticide Applicators License go here.
Golf courses, annual report
19. (1) The owner or operator of a golf course on which a pesticide mentioned in section 16 is used shall ensure that an annual report is prepared in accordance with this section.
(2) The annual report mentioned in subsection (1) shall cover the period from January 1 to December 31 in a year in which a pesticide mentioned in section 16 is used on the golf course and shall be prepared before June 30 in the following year.
So my 2010 records must be submitted by June 30th 2011. FYI, you'll notice down in Section 20, subsection 7 it notes that subsection 1, referring to the public meetings, does not apply until January 1, 2012. So I think it means that I must turn in my 2012 records by June 30th 2013, but I must first show them to the public by December 1st 2012.
(3) The annual report mentioned in subsection (1) shall be prepared in a form approved by the Director.
This format? More than likely will be released through the IPM Council.
(4) The annual report mentioned in subsection (1) shall set out the following information with respect to the use of Class 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 pesticides on the golf course:
1. The name of each pesticide ingredient contained in the pesticides used and the reasons for the use of pesticides containing those ingredients.
Active Ingredient: Trifloxystrobn
Pest: Brown Patch
2. The quantity in kilograms of each pesticide ingredient used.
Total Product Used: 905 grams
Total Active Ingredient: .18 oz
3. If an annual report was prepared previously, an explanation of any differences between the information provided under paragraphs 1 and 2 and the information provided under those paragraphs in the most recently prepared annual report.
4. A map or plan of the golf course showing all application areas.
This is new, but a fantastic feature that will help staff monitor hot spots in the future. I've been doing these maps for years, overlapping them with the local watershed, soil types, habitat zones, buffer zones, and water quality monitoring sites.
5. An explanation of how maintaining accreditation by the integrated pest management body minimized the use of the pesticide ingredients on the golf course and how it will minimize the use during the year in which the report is prepared.
Self explanatory - not sure if the program itself will really accomplish what they are setting out to do here, let's keep in mind that superintendents have been doing this kind of work for years. Don't forget a golf course must recover the cost of products they use, while landscape companies (who are not exempt) make more money. This is one point I hope the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario keep in mind as they continue to lobby the government to not exempt golf courses from the ban. I hope they give our industry a fair chance to demonstrate and prove our commitment to the environment. In fact, if they are interested, I could walk them through it.
6. The name, contact information, registration number and signature of the golf course’s integrated pest management agent or another person approved in writing by the integrated pest management body for the purposes of this section.
Employee? Or contractor?
7. Confirmation by the owner or a representative of the owner of the golf course that the report is complete.
8. Any other information that, in the opinion of the Director, is relevant to the use of pesticides and with respect to which the Director has notified the owner or operator of the golf course.
Does this mean that the director can request even more information than what golf courses are already providing?
(5) Subsection (1) does not apply until January 1, 2010.
Golf courses, public inspection of annual report
20. (1) The owner or operator of a golf course on which a pesticide mentioned in section 16 is used shall ensure that, on an annual basis, the annual report mentioned in subsection 19 (1) is made available for inspection by members of the public in accordance with the following rules:
1. The annual report shall be made available for inspection before December 1 in the year in which it is required to be prepared.
Should this read "The annual report shall be made available for inspection before December 1 in the season prior in which it is required to be prepared"? I ask because in section 19.2 it reads "The annual report mentioned in subsection (1) shall cover the period from January 1 to December 31 in a year in which a pesticide mentioned in section 16 is used on the golf course and shall be prepared before June 30 in the following year."
You'll notice down in subsection 7 it notes that subsection 1 does not apply until January 1, 2012. So I think it means that I must turn in my 2012 records by June 30th 2013, but I must first show them to the public by December 1st 2012.
2. Not later than 15 days before the annual report is made available for inspection, the report shall be prepared and clauses (6) (a) and (c) shall have been complied with.
FYI, Clauses 6A and 6C were not part of the IPM Accreditation Program previously. See them below.
3. Not later than 15 days before the annual report is made available for inspection, i. notice shall be published in a newspaper having general circulation in the area where the golf course is located, setting out,
A. the name and address of the golf course,
B. the name and telephone number of the owner or a representative of the owner of the golf course, and
C. the date on which and the time and place at which the annual report will be available for inspection, and
ii. subject to subsection (2), a copy of the notice shall be given to the occupants of each property that abuts or is within 100 metres of the golf course.
So if the annual report must be available for inspection by the public before December 1st 2010, then I must place an ad in a local newspaper declaring the information in A, B and C (above) by November 15th, because I must present it by the end of the month. I guess this means that as soon as the snow mold /winter application is down, irrigation system is blown out, the greens have been covered, and the whole operations of the club has been laid to bed, the superintendent/agent must compile all of this information in to an easy to understand presentation and hold a public meeting.
4. A copy of the notice mentioned in sub paragraph 3 i shall be kept by the owner or operator for a period of at least two years after its publication.
Makes sense. These reports will be good to refer to from year to year.
(2) For the purpose of clause 38 (1) (c) of the Act, if more than 50 persons must be notified in order to meet the requirement in sub paragraph 3 ii of subsection (1) and the Director is satisfied that it would be unduly onerous to give notice in accordance with clause 38 (1) (a) or (b) of the Act or Ontario Regulation 228/07 (Service of Documents) made under the Act, the notice is sufficiently given if it is given in a manner approved by the Director.
I'll have to dive into this later, but I think it basically means that if you are a downtown course and you could potentially have thousands of people show up, the Director will allow for a lesser means of notice.
(3) In approving a manner of giving notice under subsection (2), the Director may specify that the manner of giving notice is sufficient for the purpose of subsequent inspections of annual reports as long as there is no change in the circumstances relevant to the Director’s approval.
Basically, if the director approves it once, they'll know that the same should go in the future.
(4) The owner or operator of the golf course or a representative of the owner or operator of the golf course shall notify the Director of any changes in the circumstances referred to in subsection (3).20
(5) For a period of at least five years after an annual report mentioned in subsection 19 (1) is prepared,
(a) if the property where the golf course is located has a building that is accessible to the public, a copy of the annual report shall be kept in the building and given, on request, free of charge to any person who presents himself or herself at the building;
So in the year 2017 I'm going to go to a friends wedding at a golf course in Ontario. In the clubhouse is a copy of the 2012 report that must be accessible to me "on request and free of charge". If I'm Joe Public, how am I going to understand such a report? If I see that area X was sprayed with XX gallons of Mecoprop Dicamba, what does this mean to me? I know that this legislation is meant to get rid of those who spray needlessly and help make pesticide applicators accountable, I just fail to see how this information is going to make any sense to Joe Public, no offense Joe.
(b) if the property where the golf course is located does not have a building that is accessible to the public, a copy of the annual report shall be kept in a building on the property to which members and guests of the golf course have access and shall be given, on request, free of charge to any person who has access to the building;
Same rebuttal as above.
(c) a copy of the annual report shall be given, on request, to a provincial officer or the Director immediately; and
(d) a copy of the annual report shall be given, on request, to any person free of charge within seven days after the request.
So I can call the club up one week before the wedding and it will be ready for me. Ha.
(6) A copy of the most recently prepared annual report mentioned in subsection 19 (1),
(a) shall be displayed in a prominent place in the building mentioned in clause (5) (a) or (b);
(b) shall be given to any person free of charge, if the person requests a copy during ordinary business hours at the building mentioned in clause (5) (a) or (b); and
(c) shall be posted on a website approved by the Director.
I'm pretty sure this is referring to just the hard data, nevertheless it's on a Ministry of the Environment website. This makes it easier for Joe Public to look it up and have no clue what he's looking at from the comfort of his own home. Ha.
(7) Subsection (1) does not apply until January 1, 2012.
Golf courses, public meeting
21. If an annual report is required to be made available for inspection by members of the public under section 20, the owner or operator of the golf course or a representative of the owner or operator must attend at the date, time and place of the inspection and present the annual report to the members of the public who are present.
So that's that. Stay tuned for more details and evaluation of the regulation.