Selling and buying pesticides – Dispenser certification

Retail vendors selling pesticides in Alberta must employ staff that have proper certification.


Retail vendors that sell federally classed restricted and commercial pesticides (Schedule 1 and 2 in Alberta) must employ at least one person holding a commercial pesticide dispenser certificate.

The vendor must also ensure that a dispenser or a dispenser assistant is working whenever the outlet is open.

Commercial pesticides

To become certified to sell Schedule 1 and 2 pesticides, individuals must be trained and pass a certification exam. The training covers:

  • sales regulations
  • authorized buyers
  • safe handling of pesticides
  • safe storage
  • safe disposal

Commercial Dispenser Certification Program

This program is a collaborative effort between Lakeland College and the Alberta government. It consists of:

  • home-study material
    • available year-round
    • requires 30 – 40 hours of dedicated study time
  • certification exam
    • 2 hours in length
    • closed book
    • primarily written in electronic format at a number of exam-writing centres
    • paper-based exam sessions can be arranged at the Lakeland College campus (Vermilion) and by contacting Lakeland College

Commercial dispenser exams

The certification exams are based on the Standard for Pesticide Education, Training and Certification in Canada.

Register for the exam by contacting Lakeland College. Once the fees have been paid, you will be sent a password. Bring the password and photo ID to the pre-arranged exam-writing centre.

Exam grades are available immediately after writing the exam. Upon passing the exam, a commercial pesticide dispenser certificate will be sent in the mail from Lakeland College. Confirmation of marks will also be sent.

Certification lasts 5 years. To recertify, a dispenser must meet recertification qualifications and apply for a new certificate.

Lawn and garden pesticides

All retail vendors selling domestic class (Schedule 3) pesticides must employ at least and certified lawn and garden pesticide dispenser. This requirement covers the majority of pesticide products formulated for residential lawn and garden use.

No dispenser is required for sale of pesticides for inside use or those formulated for direct application on people or pets such as:

  • repellents
  • flea and tick collars
  • pet shampoo

Lawn and Garden Dispenser Program

The program’s objective is to ensure that someone at each retail outlet understands pesticide sales regulations and safety requirements. This information is then shared with buyers.

Certificate holders will not be pest control experts, but will be familiar with:

  • pesticides
  • pesticide safety
  • provincial regulations
  • provincial reference materials

How to take the program

The program is available year-round as a home-study package from Olds College. An optional in-class tutorial is also available. For further information, contact Olds College or:

Students will be advised of the exam times and closest writing locations. Upon passing the exam, a certificate will be issued by the college.

The certificate lasts 5 years. To recertify, a dispenser must meet recertification qualifications and apply for a new certificate.

The Lawn and Garden Certification Program does not qualify dispensers to sell:

  • commercial pesticides
  • restricted pesticides
  • Schedule 4 pesticides with certification statements on the labels

Dispenser assistants

Commercial and lawn and garden vendors must have a certified dispenser or dispenser assistant working at outlets during business hours. Dispenser assistants can only work under supervision of a dispenser. When the dispenser is temporarily away from the outlet, the assistant can authorize a pesticide sale.

A dispenser assistant is trained by the dispenser. The training checklist is in Appendix B of:

The code requires the dispenser to train and complete the training checklist with their assistant(s) every year. The vendor must keep the training checklist on hand for 5 years.


Connect with Lakeland College about the Commercial Pesticide Dispenser Certificate Program and the exam:

Phone: 1-866-853-8646
Email: [email protected]

Lakeland College

Connect with Olds College for information about the Lawn and Garden Pesticide Dispenser Program:

Phone: 1-800-661-6537

Olds College − Contact Us