Protected Agriculture Stewardship Standards

About

Protected Agriculture (PA) refers to crops that are grown under structures such as greenhouses, shade houses, hoop houses, high tunnels and warehouses. The Standards consist of auditable protocols to assist Protected Ag operators in the identification and mitigation of risks associated with pesticide application with the longer-term goal of continuous environmental, health and safety improvement. The Protected Agriculture Stewardship Standards are managed and audited by the Agrichemical Warehousing Standards Association (AWSA).

Protected Ag Operator using closed loop chemigation systems (i.e. drench application) are referred to as Category 1 PA Operators. Effective January 1, 2024, all Category 1 PA Operators will need to be certified under the program to access greenhouse labelled PCP registered crop protection products. Distributors and retailers of greenhouse labelled PCP registration crop protection products will be required to verify an operator’s certification status prior to selling/shipping products. Category 1 PA Operators should register to receive a copy of the Standards and to be assigned an Auditor.

To become certified, operators must be audited by an AWSA Auditor for compliance with the Standards.

Protected Ag Operator not using closed loop chemigation systems (i.e. foliar application) are referred to as Category 2 PA Operators. They are not required to be audited, but effective January 1, 2024 they will need to sign a waiver to access greenhouse labelled PCP registration crop protection products. Category 2 PA Operators should register to be added to distribution list.

Information

The 2016 Proposed Re-evaluation Decision by PMRA (PRVD2016-20) for Imidacloprid raised water quality concerns related to greenhouse product use. As a result, a group of impacted stakeholders agreed to work towards the development of a credible protected agriculture pesticide lifecycle stewardship program. The approach focuses on adherence to a national standard that supports compliance with registered pesticide label directions and the mitigation of risks associated with crop protection tools, fostering the health and safety of people and the environment. “Protected agriculture” refers to crops that are grown under structures such as greenhouses, shade houses, high tunnels, warehouses, etc. Crops grown using these systems include fruit, vegetables, flowers and other commercial crops (e.g., mushrooms and cannabis). Further clarity is provided in the Scope section. The sector works closely with crop-protection product manufacturers and government officials.

CropLife Canada and its members in collaboration with the British Columbia Greenhouse Growers Association, Canadian Horticultural Council – Greenhouse Vegetable Working Group, Canadian Nursery Landscape Association, Cannabis Council of Canada, Flowers Canada Growers, Les Producteurs en serre du Québec, Mushrooms Canada, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers and Québec Vert created the Protected Agriculture Stewardship Standards to assist operators in the identification and mitigation of risks associated with the use of crop protection tools. The Standards were drafted by a multi-stakeholder committee committed to the continuous improvement of environmental, health and safety risks in the Canadian protected agriculture sector. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) acted in an advisory capacity to guide development of the standards.

The Standards apply to all greenhouse labelled PCP registered crop protection products.

Category Description Requirement
Category 1 Protected Ag Operations
  • All PA operations, of any crop, using closed-loop chemigation systems. A closed system is one where any excess chemigation liquid delivered to the crop is captured via trough, drainage tile, or other similar conveyance system, rather than allowed to percolate into the ground.
  • Any mixed operations must be certified on portions of the facility that falls under Category 1.
  • Note – Warehouse production structures and freight container growing operations with no subterranean plumbing and continuous flooring are excluded from Category 1.
Must be certified under the Protected Ag Stewardship Standards before December 31, 2023 to be eligible receive greenhouse labelled PCP registered products as of January 1. 2024.
Category 2 Protected Ag Operations
  • All PA operations, of any crop, using open chemigation systems where excess chemigation liquid is not captured.
  • Warehouse production structures.
  • Freight container growing operations.
Effective January 1, 2024 must provide crop protection product supplier with a waiver declaring the operation falls into Category 2 in order to receive greenhouse labelled PCP registered products.
(NOTE: Waivers are not required to purchase non-greenhouse labelled products at this time.)

Category 2 Operators should Register to added to the waiver distribution list.

To become certified, operators must be audited by an AWSA Auditor for compliance with the Standards. The first step is to register with AWSA. This can be done by filling in the registration form on this website. Once registered an information package will be set to you which includes a copy of the Standards. Auditor information will be provided along with other relevant information pertaining to the audit process.

A copy is available under the resources tab at the top of the page. A hard copy of the standards will be mailed to you once Operators complete the registration form.

Each Category 1 PA operation must successfully complete an audit to achieve certification. For the purposes of certification, a site is described as one unique location (specific address and/or land location) which has a closed loop chemigation system present in all or part of their protected ag structures. A site may have multiple structures at this location which have defined areas for pesticide storage and mixing/loading that would form part of the audit. A site may span multiple addresses and will be considered a single site provided that the sites are adjacent.

Organizations that have multiple locations that have any or all of the following at each location are subject to an audit:

  • Have a closed looped chemigation system
  • have a defined storage area for pesticides used at a closed loop operation
  • have a defined pesticide mixing/loading area for closed loop chemigation systems.
  • Each different location (address and/or land location) will be treated as a separate audit and a separate certification number will be issued.

Each separate location must be registered with AWSA. Please complete the registration form.

June 1, 2022 – This is the date when auditors will be ready to start auditing operators.

May 19, 2023 – As per PMRA’s re-evaluation Decision on Imidacloprid and Its Associated End-use Products, greenhouses using closed recirculation system (for example, closed chemigation system), are required to undertake a third-party audit that validates the facility’s closed recirculation system and other measures are sufficient to prevent releases, effluent or runoff containing this product from entering lakes, streams, ponds, or other waters. See the Water Management Assessment section of this website

December 31, 2023 – this is the date by which operators using closed loop chemigation systems must be certified.

Effective January 1, 2024 Category 2 PA Operators must provide their suppliers with a waiver to access greenhouse labelled PCP registered products. The waiver requires the operator to confirm that they do not use a closed loop chemigation system anywhere in their operation. The waiver form will be available electronically on this website starting on January 1, 2023. Category 2 Operators should register to be added to the waiver distribution list.