Understand agronomic justification and prescription
The object of agronomic justification is to reduce the use of pesticides by promoting professional support for agricultural producers. It is prepared by an agronomist, who analyzes the situation to determine whether the application of any of the targeted pesticides is really necessary. Depending on the situation, a prescription may then be issued to allow purchase of the product.
As of January 1, 2025, an agronomic justification will be required prior to planting seeds of certain crops that are coated with an insecticide, other than a biopesticide.
The application of class 1, 2 and 3 pesticides containing atrazine, chlorpyrifos or any of the three neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid or thiamethoxam) by land or air, or the use of seeds of certain crops that are coated with any of the above three neonicotinoids (class 3A) is prohibited unless prior justification has been obtained from an agronomist. The same agronomist then signs a prescription to allow the pesticide to be purchased. For more information, see the list of the trade names of applicable pesticides (in French only).
If you are a farmer or a contract applicator of pesticides in an agricultural setting, make sure that:
- The terms of the agronomic justification are met and it contains all the required information (PDF 1.02 Mb). (Individual justifications cover only one crop per parcel of land or group of parcels and are valid for a maximum of one year.);
- You obtain the prescription, dated and signed by the agronomist who prepared the justification to purchase the pesticide;
- Agronomic justifications are kept for a minimum of five years and submitted to the Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs (MELCCFP) upon request;
- In emergency situations, an agronomic prescription has been issued before the purchase of the insecticide. The insecticide must be applied within 36 hours of the issue of the agronomic prescription. The agronomic justification must be obtained no more than two business days after the prescription.
If you are an agronomist, make sure that:
- All required information is included in the agronomic justification and prescription. Refer to the Checklist of Required Information (PDF 1.02 Mb) and use the Agronomic Justification and Prescription templates (DOCX 73 Kb).
- Justifications are valid for a maximum of one year and cover only one crop per parcel of land or group of parcels.
- Prescription validity cannot exceed the expiration date shown in the justification.
In emergency situations, where chlorpyrifos or any of the three neonicotinoids must be applied to quickly control an insect that endangers a crop, the agronomist must provide a prescription to the farmer and the justification must be issued no later than two business days after the prescription date.
Justification, progress and implementation (PDF 295 Kb) (in French only) provides a summary of actions taken and results obtained during the first four years of implementation of the agronomic justification and prescription process.
Pesticide application in littoral zones
Under the terms applicable to farming in littoral zones (in French only), producers may be temporarily authorized to apply a pesticide in the littoral zone of a lake or watercourse , as well as in a three-metre strip along or around them, except in the 3-metre strip on each side of watercourses and 1-metre strip of ditches. The following requirements are mandatory:
- Obtain prior agronomic justification for Class 1 to Class 3A pesticides, save biopesticides or pesticides intended to destroy grasslands;
- Comply with the terms of the agronomic justification and ensure that the justification contains all required information (PDF 1.02 Mb). Justifications cover one crop per parcel of land or group of parcels, are valid for a maximum of one year and may allow a maximum of three active ingredients in the choice of treatment;
- Apply Class 1 to Class 3 pesticides by September 1 of each year and only to growing crops or no-till plots;
- Retain the agronomic justification for at least five years and submit it upon request to the MELCCFP.
In emergency situations, when the agronomist considers that a fungicide or insecticide is necessary to quickly control a pest that endangers a crop, the pesticide may be applied prior to obtaining agronomic justification. However, the agronomic justification must be received within two working days of application of the pesticide and, its code number must begin with the letter U.
An agronomic prescription stemming from the agronomic justification is still required to purchase and apply any of the highest-risk pesticides.
The Agronomic justification templates (DOCX 73 Kb) and the Pesticide Management Code Guide de référence (PDF 6.86 Mb) (French) provide additional information.
Last update: August 31, 2023