Regulations and Policies regarding Chemical Spray Drift

Res #: 10-24A
Number: 10
Year: 2024
Midterm: No
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

WHEREAS shelterbelts are dying, as well as road allowance trees are dying or are at risk of dying.

WHEREAS spray drift and over spraying is killing trees and crops in adjacent fields and affecting organic farmers and bee operations.

WHEREAS aerial spraying at night and flying at low heights over farmyards is causing concerns with ratepayers.

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Ministry of Agriculture to review and update regulations and policies regarding agricultural or other chemical spray drift and publicize the Act/Regulations adequately to inform the public and businesses of regulations related to organic farming and bee operations involving aerial spray, spraying at night (both ground and air), and to strengthen penalties for violations, including suspension of licenses.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

March 25, 2024

Responsibility for the regulation of pesticides in Canada is shared by both the federal and provincial governments. While the MoA is responsible for regulating licenced pesticide applicators in Saskatchewan, Health Canada is responsible for regulating pesticide use by individuals, including agricultural producers, and Transport Canada is responsible for regulating the flight of an aircraft while performing a pesticide application, and for issuing air operation certificates to persons qualified to operate an aircraft.

All pesticide applicators (ground or aerial) are required to follow the pesticide label when applying a pesticide. This also includes adhering to the required buffer zones as stated on the label. Failure to follow the label when applying a pesticide is a contravention of both the federal and provincial pesticide legislation.

Pesticides may be applied during any season provided that the label allows for such application. Applications may be done early in the morning or late in the evening when conditions are typically less windy to help minimize drift and protect beneficial organisms.

Aerial application of pesticides is an essential crop protection tool in both agriculture and forestry as it is often preferred or the only practical means of application. Aerial applicators must have authorization on their air operation certificate to conduct night operations with their aircraft.

However, spray planes are rarely equipped with the required equipment to operate at night and therefore cannot receive the required authorization.

In the event of a pesticide misapplication, rural municipalities can contact the following:

  • Complaints related to a licenced applicator, contact the ministry at or 306-787-4660.
  • Complaints related to individuals, including agriculture producers, contact Health Canada Prairie Region at or 306-537-0100.
  • Complaints related to the operation of an aircraft, including night flying, low-flying, and flying over built-up areas or towns, contact Transport Canada Prairie Regional Service Centre at or toll-free: 1-888-463-0521.

Hon. David Marit – Minister of Agriculture