Selling and buying pesticides – Overview

Pesticide sales in Alberta are regulated at all levels of distribution and sale to end users.

The Alberta government and the agri-chemical industry share a common goal of minimizing the risk of pesticides to human health and the environment. That is why regulations are in place governing distribution and sales.

Vendor requirements

Vendors selling pesticides must meet these requirements:

  • Wholesale pesticide vendors selling Schedule 1 or 2 pesticides (federally classed restricted or commercial products) or Schedule 3 pesticides (primarily federally classed domestic products) must hold a wholesale vendor registration.
  • Retail pesticide vendors selling Schedule 1 and 2 pesticides must hold a valid Agrichemical Warehousing Standards Association (AWSA) certificate or a pesticide vendor registration. They must also:
    • employ at least 1 person at each retail outlet who holds a commercial pesticide dispenser certificate.
  • Retail outlets selling Schedule 3 pesticides must employ at least 1 person at each retail outlet who holds a lawn and garden pesticide dispenser certificate.
  • In addition to employing a dispenser (or applicator) at every outlet, the vendor must ensure that the certified dispenser or a dispenser assistant is working at the outlet whenever it is open for business.
  • Certified dispensers can train dispenser assistants by completing a dispenser assistant training checklist for every assistant every year. This checklist is in the Environmental Code of Practice for Pesticides. Vendors must keep a copy of the checklist that has been completed for every assistant for 5 years, and make a copy of the checklist upon request of the Alberta government.

Who can sell pesticides

A person or company wanting to sell Schedule 1 or 2 pesticides must hold a pesticide vendor registration or a valid AWSA certificate of compliance.

The 2 types of vendor registration are:

  • wholesale: for anyone who wholesales Schedule 1, 2 and 3 pesticides to other Wholesale Pesticide Vendors or to Retail Pesticide Vendors
  • retail: for anyone who sells Schedule 1 and 2 pesticides to end users

AWSA certificates of compliance holders are deemed registered and do not need to obtain a pesticide vendor registration. More information can be found at:

Note that no vendor registration is required for:

  • retail sale of pesticides in Schedule 3
  • retail and wholesale of pesticides identified in Schedule 4

Dispenser certification

Every vendor outlet must employ at least one person who holds an appropriate dispenser certificate. Certified dispensers are trained to have knowledge of pesticide sales regulations and safety requirements. This also ensures that customers have access to correct information about pest management and pesticide use and pesticides are only sold to appropriate individuals.

In addition, vendor must have a dispenser or trained dispenser assistant working at the outlet at all times the business is open to the public.

For more information about dispenser certification, see:

Who vendors can sell to

Commercial pesticide vendors must comply with sales requirements and government and industry pesticide storage regulations. They must also ensure that they only sell Schedule 1 and 2 pesticide products to the following:

  • certified pesticide applicators
  • pesticide service registration holders
  • bona fide farmers, ranchers, commercial greenhouse operators and market gardeners*
  • a number of specified Commercial pesticides are available to acreage owners and hobby greenhouse operators*. A list of the specified Commercial class pesticide active ingredients is included in the Environmental Code of Practice for Pesticides.

*In cases where the label specifies "For use by certified or qualified applicator only", the pesticide may not be sold to non-certified farmers, commercial greenhouse operators and market gardeners.

Registered pesticide products

To understand which pesticides fall under which schedules, see:

The document below will also help vendors determine the federal classification and provincial schedule of all registered pesticides. It also includes information on who can buy and use pesticides in Alberta.