Category 1PA Operator

Protected Ag Operators using closed loop irrigation/chemigation systems are referred to as Category 1 PA Operators. 

There are two steps to achieve PAS Certification:

Step 1 – Registration: 

All Category 1 PA Operators must register before December 31, 2023. Once registered, a Temporary PAS Certificate will be issued. Category 1 PA Operators will be required to present this Temporary PAS Certificate to their suppliers in order to be eligible to receive shipments of PCP registered products labelled for greenhouse use in 2024. These Temporary PAS Certificates will expire on June 30, 2024.

Step 2 – Audited and Certified: 

The PAS Standards consist of mandatory and optional protocols. Please visit the Resources section for a copy of the Protocol Manual. All Category 1 PA Operators must be audited for compliance before June 30, 2024. Upon registration you will be assigned an Auditor to assist with the certification process.

In consultation with your auditor, choose Basic Certification or Certificate of Excellence Certification.

Basic CertificationCertificate of Excellence Certification
For basic certification all Category 1 PA Operators must be audited and pass Section C. In Section C there are four protocols which cover water management assessment and system monitoring.  PA1 Operators awarded Basic Certification by June 30, 2024, will be eligible to continue to receive shipments of PCP products labelled for greenhouse use.Operators can also achieve a Certificate of Excellence (COE) which demonstrates a commitment to workplace excellence. To achieve COE status, in addition to section C, operators must also be audited for compliance with sections A (Pesticide Handling, Storage & Training), B (Pesticide Application), D (Site Management) and E (Emergency Response) of the Standards. 
PA 1 Operators awarded a Certificate of Excellence by June 30, 2024, will be eligible to continue to receive shipments of PCP products labelled for greenhouse use.
PA 1 Operators not PAS fully certified by June 30, 2024, will be ineligible to receive shipments of PCP products labelled for greenhouse use.

Audit Incentives for Certificate of Excellence:

To promote industry best practices, CropLife Canada is providing an incentive for any operation completing the full audit (Certificate of Excellence) by December 31, 2023. The full audit consists of the successful completion of all protocols within the PAS standard (Sections A through E). CropLife Canada will cover the PAS audit costs for any operation that completes the full audit by Dec. 31, 2023. This does not include any costs associated with the completion of the water assessment (protocol C1). 

As an added incentive, those operations that achieved Certificate of Excellence before December 31, 2023 will be allowed to self-audit for their next audit cycle (2025). 

Complete incentive details are available under the Resources Tab.

Questions & Answers

Do I require a Declaration of Category 2PA Operation (CAT2) Waiver if part of my operation is Category 1 (CAT1)?

Some Protected Agriculture (PA) operations have both closed loop systems and other irrigation systems at the same greenhouse site. These sites must register as Category 1. In these scenarios the closed loop portion of the operation must be audited for compliance with the Protected Agriculture Stewardship Standard by June 30, 2024. A category 2 waiver is not needed in these cases, the temporary and full certificate supersede and will provide access to PCP products labelled for greenhouse use.

How does the Standards address companies that have multiple locations?

For the purposes of certification, a site is described as one unique location (specific address and/or land location). A site may span multiple addresses and will be considered a single site provided that the sites are adjacent. Each different location (address and/or land location) will be treated as a separate assessment and a separate registration must be completed. 

What happens if I am currently a CAT2 Operation, and we install a closed loop system in some or all of our operation?

It is expected that over time an operator may choose to install a closed loop system at a location that previously did not have any closed loop systems. When a CAT2 waiver is completed, the operator agrees to terms which include notifying AWSA of any changes in use, scope or operation that changes the category for our operation. In these cases, the operation should be audited for compliance with the Standards. Once successfully audited a certificate will be issued which makes the CAT2 waiver redundant. For ease of delivery, it is recommended that the water assessment be completed before using the irrigation system. This will minimize any disruptions to the cropping cycle(s).

What happens in 2024 if I do not register for either CAT1 or CAT2?

Starting on January 1, 2024 distributors and retailers of PCP registered products labelled for greenhouse use will be required to either verify a CAT1 operator’s certification status (Temporary certificate or full PAS certificate) prior to selling/shipping products or have confirmation of an operator’s CAT2 waiver prior to selling/shipping products. Ag-retailers must verify PA operators as part of their obligations as a certified AWSA retailer. Failure to do so jeopardizes their retail certification which they are required to maintain.