Ministère de l'Environnement
et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques

The Pesticides Management Code

Protect health and the environment in childcare centres and schools

Updated: February 2021

Other document

Circular notice relating to regulatory amendments:

Urban Areas (PDF, 205 KB)Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre.

Reference Guides on Pesticide Legislation (French)This hyperlink will open in a new window.

Fact sheets on indesirable organisms (French)

Bed bugs (French, PDF, 822 KB)

The Pesticides Management Code introduces regulations controlling the storage, sale and use of pesticides. It promotes an approach aimed at better prevention of health risks posed by these products, particularly to children and the environment.

Why have special regulations for premises frequented by children?

Enfants - centre de la petite enfance et écoles - Photo : L. Daveluy, © Le Québec en images, CCDMDChildren are particularly vulnerable to the noxious effects of pesticides due to their physiology (undeveloped immune system, greater skin permeability, lower body weight, etc.) and the higher exposure levels that result from their behaviour (e.g., their tendency to put objects in their mouth). Pesticides are absorbed in the body, particularly by way of the mouth, skin and through the respiratory system. They can trigger immediate effects, which are usually manifested by symptoms such as headaches, skin or eye irritation, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite and fatigue.

Furthermore, pesticide use often causes water, air and soil contamination. When organisms that are not targeted by the application of these products are exposed to them, the result is a negative impact on biodiversity.

How does the Pesticides Management Code concern you?

Childcare centres, daycare centres and home childcare residences governed by the Educational Childcare Act and all establishments, public or private, offering preschool, primary or secondary education, including schools for Native students, are targeted by the Pesticides Management Code, more specifically sections 32, 32.1 and 33 and Schedule II. Other provisions of the Pesticides Management Code may also apply. Thus only pesticides representing the lowest risk to human health and the environment may be applied inside or outside these establishments.

To obtain a list

Permit and certificate holders targeted by the Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides must comply with the provisions of the Code. In addition, certain provisions apply to those without certificates (for instance, the owner of a home childcare residence) who apply Class 4 and Class 5 domestic-use pesticides in these premises.

Permits and certificates required for work done inside and outside establishments

In the case of remunerated work:

  • extermination companies must hold a Subclass C5 permit, and exterminators must hold a Subclass CD5 certificate for use of Class 1 to Class 3 and Class 4 pesticides, or must be supervised by a certified individual;
  • for green space maintenance, ornamental horticulture companies must hold a Subclass C4 permit, and their employees must hold a Subclass CD4 certificate for use of Class 1 to Class 3 and Class 4 pesticides, or must be supervised by a certified individual.

In the case of non-remunerated work (an individual, for instance a janitor, using Class 1 to Class 3 pesticides):

  • for extermination activities, the owner of the premises must hold a Subclass D5 “Application for Extermination” permit, and pesticide application work must be carried out by a Subclass CD5 certificate holder, or must be supervised by a certified individual;
  • for green space maintenance, the owner of the premises must hold a Subclass D4 “Application in Ornamental Horticulture” permit, and pesticide application work must be carried out by a Subclass CD4 certificate holder, or must be supervised by a certified individual.

Pesticide classification

In Québec, pesticides are divided into classes according to their level of risk for the environment and for public health. The table below briefly compares the federal and Québec classifications of pesticides.

- Class 1
Pesticides for restricted use Class 2
Pesticides for commercial, agricultural or industrial use Classes 3 and 3A*
Pesticides for domestic use Classes 4 and 5
* Neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid or thiamethoxam) that coat the seeds of certain crops (oats, wheat, canola, corn, grain corn, sweet corn, barley or soybeans)

Class 1 to Class 3A pesticides are purchased and used by holders of permits issued by the Ministère. Class 4 and Class 5 pesticides may be obtained from various sales outlets such as garden centres, hardware stores, department stores, etc.


Main regulations in force

General regulations for all users

  • Only biopesticides and authorized active ingredients mentioned in Schedule II of the Pesticides Management Code both inside and outside the establishment in question can be applied.
  • It is prohibited to apply pesticides inside and outside childcare centres and educational institutions when services or activities are being offered by these establishments.
  • A minimum eight-hour waiting period must be respected before services or activities resume in areas treated.
  • All instructions appearing on the pesticide label must be respected. Where instructions and a provision of the Pesticides Management Code are inconsistent, the more restrictive of the two applies.
  • Contamination of any space that does not require treatment and pet exposure to the products applied must be avoided.
  • A distance of three metres from bodies of water, watercourses and wetlands must be respected during pesticide applications.

Supplementary regulations for holders of permits and certificates

  • A regulatory sign (PDF, 79 KB) must be displayed at all entrances to an enclosed area, or every 20 linear metres along the perimeter of a non-enclosed area, following the application of pesticides on a lawn or paved surface or on trees or bushes. This requirement does not apply when pesticides are injected into plants.
  • The regulatory sign must be in clear sight and display a warning indicating not to touch the treated surfaces for 24 hours after application. It must also indicate the plants treated, the active ingredient used, the date and time of application, the registration number of the pesticide, and the name, address and phone number of the permit or certificate holders.

Moreover, when application work includes the exclusive use of biopesticides or pesticides containing one of the active ingredients listed in Schedule II, the circle and slash on the pictogram may be either red or yellow.

  • It is prohibited to apply fertilizer-pesticide mixtures.

Pesticides authorized in pest management

If biopesticides or any active ingredient listed in Schedule II prove ineffective over a period of at least seven days following application, cyfluthrin may be used to control or destroy flying insects (PDF, 981 KB), crawling insects, food insects (PDF, 751 KB) and wood insects under the following conditions:

  • only exterminators holding a Subclass C5 permit from the Ministère can apply this ingredient;
  • at least 24 hours before application, the administration of the establishment must be notified by written notice of the name of the pesticide, the reasons for applying the active ingredient and the active ingredient to be applied, the registration number of the pesticide and the proposed date and time of application;
  • the application must be followed by a period of at least 12 hours before services or activities resume in premises treated with cyfluthrin.

For specific needs, the application of certain other products is also permitted under the first two conditions listed above, for instance:

  • D-phenothrin or tetramethrin to destroy wasp, hornet or bee nests (PDF, 1.2 MB).
  • bromadiolone in combination with Bitrex (denatonium benzoate) and bromethalin (with Bitrex) to control rodents (PDF, 1 MB) (rats, mice). These rodenticides must be used in solid block form and placed in a locked trap to prevent any human contact. Rodenticides must be used only as a last resort on these premises since several types of efficient traps can be envisaged for rodent control purposes. Above all, rodent food sources must be eliminated, and rodent access routes uncovered and blocked.

Pesticides authorized for green space maintenance

A pesticide to control the emerald ash borer may also be injected into trees on the property of an establishment under the following conditions:

  • At least 24 hours prior to application, the establishment’s administration must be informed by written notice of the name of the pesticide to be applied and its active ingredients, the pesticide registration number, the reasons for applying the pesticide and the proposed date and time of application.
  • The injection is performed by a Subclass C4 permit holder and the permit holder takes the necessary steps to prevent anyone from coming into contact with the injection device.
  • The injection holes are sealed after application.


How to live without pesticides

The Pesticides Management Code serves to modify certain user habits of both extermination and green space maintenance companies and individuals (home owners, daycare centre employees, etc.) who apply pesticides inside or outside childcare centres or other childcare services, preschools, primary schools or secondary schools.

Although the range of products available will now be limited, harmful organisms can still be controlled effectively, both inside and outside the establishments in question. By learning to recognize undesirable insects and plants, establishing the necessary preventive measures for deterring their appearance, and using environmentally-friendly substitutes, we will reduce pesticide use, thereby protecting the environment, our health and the health of our children.

By adopting the pest management, pesticides will only be used as a last resort after all other possibilities have been exhausted. The participation of parents, children and the establishment’s personnel is required in order for this approach to be implemented. Each and every player has an important role to play.

Inside and around childcare and educational establishments

A basic way to reduce the food sources that attract harmful organisms is by applying the appropriate rules of hygiene both inside and outside the buildings in question. For instance, all premises where food is prepared and consumed should be disinfected and cleaned on a daily basis (kitchens, cafeterias, dinettes, etc.). Children and older students must be continually reminded to avoid leaving food in lockers or desks.

Frequent inspections and the laying of traps are indispensable ways to detect the beginning of an infestation and effectively monitor the premises. In addition, there are a number of different strategies to eliminate places where harmful organisms (insects, rodents, etc.) proliferate. For instance, you can replace deteriorating structures such as rotten pieces of wood; eliminate water leaks; mow the lawn close to all buildings; leave a plant-free strip around the perimeter of the foundations; prune branches of trees in contact with buildings; install screens; and block all cracks and fissures.

Outside establishments

For the lawn

Opt for a more natural lawn that requires less maintenance and water and fewer products. Be patient! A lawn being converted to pesticide- and chemical fertilizer-free maintenance requires an adjustment period.

For more information, consult Maintenance of Residential Lawns (French)

For all inert surfaces such as paving stones

Eliminate weeds by pulling them out or applying boiling water. Boiling water should be used after hours to ensure the safety of children.

For ant nests in lawns

Apply boiling water to the ant nests on a frequent basis and resow the area once they have been destroyed.


If you really must resort to pesticides…

Does the situation require professional expertise? If the answer is yes, please make sure that the individual in question holds the appropriate permits and certificates issued by the Ministère.

However, if you think that you can solve the problem by yourself, please take guidance from:


List of Active Ingredient Trade Names:

If someone you know becomes ill from pesticides

Guide the person to a well-ventilated area and ask him/her to lie down on his/her side.

Then contact the Centre antipoison du Québec, at 1-800-463-5060 (toll free emergency number, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) and follow their instructions to the letter. If the person’s condition appears serious, go to the hospital immediately, making sure to bring the label of the product in question.

The information provided in this document is in no way meant to replace the full official text of the Pesticides Management Code.


Reference Guide (French, PDF, 6,8 MB)

Healthy Lawns - Pest Management Regulatory Agency

Fact sheets - Pest Management Regulatory Agency

Please note: If you need advice for pest control measures contained in the Pest Notes, it is important that you check if active ingredients are authorized according to the Pesticides Management Code.

Acting together to protect health, pollinators and the environment

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