September 15, 2008
Pesticide use in Ontario is regulated by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), which has a mandate to protect consumers and workers in trades that bring them into direct contact with pesticides. In 1998, the ministry introduced mandatory training, certification and supervision requirements under Regulation 914 (Reg. 914) of the Pesticides Act for a class of pesticide applicators known as trainees and technicians.

Those requirements ensure that adequate training and supervision are given to applicators (technicians who work with pesticides) who are not fully licensed exterminators. This is done in order to protect their health and safety, as well as the public and the environment.

A trainee is defined as someone who works as an assistant to a licensed exterminator, and has not successfully completed an MOE-approved pesticide safety training course with practical training from a licensed exterminator. Under law, he or she requires direct supervision by a licensed exterminator at all times.

A technician has successfully completed an MOE-approved pesticide safety training course and has received practical training from a licensed exterminator. A technician requires indirect supervision by a licensed exterminator.

Technicians must always have their technician identification card readily available at the worksite, and produce it if requested. In order for this ID card to be considered valid, all sections must be completed in full, including the technician’s name and address, a PIC, PIRC University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus identification number, and the dates of completion of the academic and practical portions of the technician training course. The licensed exterminator who observed completion of the academic and practical portions of the course must sign the card, as well as the technician.

A technician is allowed to post signage to notify the public that pesticides are being used. Under Regulation 914, it is the licensed exterminator who is supervising the project that ensures the signs meet the land extermination public notification requirements.

A licensed exterminator may supervise, at one time, up to three unlicensed assistants (a combination of trainees and/or technicians) applying pesticides at one or more sites. A supervising licensed exterminator may have an unlimited number of trainees or technicians during training, if the extermination is not performed for payment.

An exterminator may be deemed a technician if his license is not specific to the place of work. For instance, he or she may be licensed to work as a structural exterminator, but is assisting a fellow exterminator performing a land extermination outdoors. In this instance, the structural exterminator is not allowed to supervise unlicensed assistants.

Finally, a water exterminator licensed for mosquitoes or biting flies, while performing an extermination for mosquito larvae control under the authority of a water extermination permit issued under section 7(2) of the Pesticides Act, may supervise up to seven technicians and/or trainees at one time.

There are many other conditions that govern the activities of trainees and technicians who work with pesticides under Regulation 914. For a summary of the key regulatory requirements for trainees and technicians, the MOE has published a reference document entitled Guide to Pesticide Licensing and Certification (Publication # 4523e). It is available through the publications link on the MOE web site at

Additional information about the regulatory requirements for application of pesticides within Ontario may be obtained by contacting a pesticide specialist at the regional MOE office in your area. To find the nearest ministry regional office follow this link: