New Classification of Pesticides in Ontario Unfairly Targets Experienced Farmers by the OLA

The classification of pesticides in Ontario has changed catching experienced farmers unaware of new restrictions and putting their animals and crops at risk.  Starting on January 1, 2021, farmers need to be certified to buy and use Class B or C pesticides and trained if working under supervision of a Certified Farmer.  This includes Class 4 pesticides that could previously be used without a person needing to be certified or trained.

Donna Burns, OLA Eastern Ontario Governor and president of the Renfrew, Nipissing, Pembroke Landowners learned from a farmer in her area that he was now required to pay for a license and take training to do what he has been doing for over 25 years, without incident – spraying his own land to control weeds.

Donna reported: “With respect to what I learned yesterday about the Weed Control, I called the Ontario Pesticide Education Program (1-800-652-8573) and learned the following:

  1. There was a CHANGE that took effect January 1, 2021where some pesticides for BOTH weeds and pests (i.e. rats/mice/bugs) – Class B or C pesticides — only required your Farm Business Number (FBR) that allowed you to purchase the product to use on your property.   However, that is no longer available.  NOW … do require certification for ALL products which includes those that you used to purchase with just your FBR number in the past.
  2. To get this certification, you must call the Ontario Pesticide Education Program at 1-800-652-8573.  It is called the Grower Pesticide Safety Course.   You can get registered for this online one-day course.  The cost is $105.00.  They will send you the manual by Purolator (which is included in the price) where you can read ahead and study, and then do the online course.  You need to achieve a 75% mark for certification.  Once you achieve this certification……it is good for 5 YEARS.
  3. For those who are not computer-literate, they offer in-person classes….but these in-person classes are normally held in the winter months (December 1 – April 30) before farmers start work in their fields.  These are courses where you given an open-book to work from.  Because of COVID, they will send the manual to you ahead of time for you to study and then come in for a ½ day to do the certification test.  There is a Renfrew County instructor.  But you need to call the above number (1-800-652-8573) and book your training.  They only have one in-person course next week in Addison, Ontario (eastern Ontario).”

Other farm families are affected in a different way. Donna Wilson and her family have farmed all their lives and use BoVaid Tags to prevent pink eye in their cattle. The new rules, which put their animals at risk, prompted Donna to write to the Ontario government in protest. Here is Donna’s letter, printed with permission.

Dear Mr. Hardiman MPP for Oxford, Minister of OMAFRA,

My husband, daughter and I have farmed our whole lives (70, 39 & 47 years) and have used, for example, “Bovaid Tags” to protect the eyes of our cattle from flies that cause Pink Eye. As you may or may not know, Pink Eye is a terrible disease of the eyes for cattle caused by flies and in many cases, the animal goes blind and has to be put down if not caught early and the animal is put inside and bathed with a boric and water solution. It is an extremely painful disease for the animal. We have been using these tags or similar ones on our cattle for over thirty (30) years and now we are being told that we need a pesticide license to buy them and use them.

This is extremely upsetting and totally ridiculous to me, if this is true.

How can this Conservative government feel that they are knowledgeable enough to make this ridiculous decision without asking or at the very least informing farmers about it. If this is true, our Ontario Conservative government is no better than the Liberal government who used farmers to get every cent out of them that could with ridiculous laws, rules, forced paperwork and crazy courses. FARMERS ARE NOT STUPID as government thinks they are, AND CAN SEE A BOONDOGGLE A MILE AWAY AND THAT IS WHAT THIS IS if it is true.

I have sent this email to MPP’s that represent constituencies around ours, which is Kanata-Carleton.

Please reply to me ASAP with your reasoning as to why this is happening. I look forward to your reply, preferably in writing.


Donna Wilson

4182 Woodkilton Rd.,

Woodlawn, ON., K0A 3M0


Apparently, the BOVAID tags are now included in the new regulations with little or no warning to farmers about the new procedures.

We wonder if these new rules are meant to address a problem or is it just another cash grab.