Canadian Superintendents Face New Pesticide Use & Reporting Requirements

American golf course superintendents are watching with interest the impact of new pesticide use requirements confronting their Canadian counterparts in the province of Ontario.

In the latest chapter of a long-running saga, the provincial government in Ontario fulfilled the promise of its Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act last month by announcing a sweeping ban of 85 cosmetic-use chemicals - a total of 250 individual products - that included the herbicide 2,4-D. The bans are expected to become effective on April 22, Earth Day, and are a finalization of the original act, which was passed by the provincial government last June.

Golf courses in Ontario, along with agriculture, forestry and public-health and safety uses, are conditionally exempt from the ban, but they must adhere to a set of extensive conditions in order to continue using pesticides in the future. Golf courses must be accredited for integrated pest management by an approved accreditation body - the province's Ministry of the Environment is in the process of posting a list of such "approved accreditation bodies" on its website, and prepare an annual report on how they minimize pesticide use, make that report accessible to the public and hold a public meeting in which they must present that report.

Golf industry alliances in Ontario have been working closely with the government for some time on this issue to develop golf-specific requirements. They have worked with the government to demonstrate that golf course superintendents and the golf industry are responsible in developing measures to properly manage the use of chemicals.

Despite those conditions, environmental groups in Canada continue to push for golf to be removed from the exempt category.

Meanwhile, the GCSAA will monitor the situation in Ontario and assess possible ramifications for U.S. golf courses and superintendents.

The above report was originally published in GCM News Weekly. For more information, visit