Ontario Cosmetic Pesticide Ban: Golf Exemption Explained

A little over a year ago I wrote an article for Flagstick Golf Magazine, It was an extremely brief summary of what golf courses are expected to comply with to gain an exemption from a province wide ban on cosmetic pesticides. It had received a lot of attention at the time, but I've never posted it here on Turfhugger. I'm doing so now because I figured it'll help Turfhugger readers understand just one possibility of how a pesticide ban might look in your neck of the woods. It'll also serve to frame the reality of pesticide use in Ontario, which is where tomorrows guest author is from. Enjoy.

The Province of Ontario initiated a cosmetic pesticide ban (Ontario Regulation 63/09) meant to eliminate unnecessary use and potential threats to the environment. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method of preventing pests and applying the appropriate control measures helps superintendents reduce pest pressures and active ingredients in chemical controls.

There are two parts to the ban that any golf course must abide by in order to continue to use products under the ban. These include the parameters of the IPM Accreditation exemption tool for golf courses, and additional provincial requirements of the ban.

Under the exemption, golf courses are defined as the areas intended to be used as playing surfaces, therefore clubhouse lawns, patios and gardens are not exempt from the cosmetic ban.

Golf courses choosing to use pesticides that fall under the cosmetic ban must be in the IPM Accreditation Program of the Integrated Pest Management Council of Canada (IPMCC).

Level 1 Accreditation comes once the IPM Agent successfully completes an annual Desk Review Audit. An independent certified environmental auditor will review weekly scouting forms, pest control application forms, annual hot spot management forms, annual pest control product usage forms, sprayer calibration documentation and training documentation. These expectations must continue to be met annually.

Level 2 Accreditation is met only once the golf course has successfully completed its On-Site Audit by an independent certified environmental auditor once every three years. This audit will review all of the requirements within Level 1 as well as a site tour, equipment calibration demonstrations by staff, a tour of the preventative techniques employed at the golf course and a written test completed by the IPM Agent(s).

Starting in 2011 staff will be required to submit an Annual Report, which must be accessible to the public within seven days of a request. 2012 brings the next compulsory stage, an Annual Public Meeting to discuss all of the information within the Annual Reports. The golf course is required to publish a notice in the public paper and notify all occupants of abutting properties and properties within 100 m of the golf course.

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