Abell Pest Control Celebrates World Honey Bee Day
In February, Sean Rollo will take the reins of the Canadian Pest Management Association (CPMA) from outgoing president Nicholas Holland. The focus of his presidential term: continuing education credits (CECs) for pest management professionals nationwide.
This would let applicators attend a required number of approved professional development and training seminars to renew their licenses.
Some provinces already encourage CECs for recertification. These include Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland/Labrador and Nova Scotia. Québec approved CECs for applicator license renewal in 2022; it plans to implement the program in 2023 and accept cumulative credits retroactively.
But the province with the most pesticide applicators — Ontario — does not do this.
“In fact, they have the most archaic pesticide applicator licensing program in Canada,” says Rollo, who is technical and business development manager for Orkin Canada in Moncton, New Brunswick.
While many Ontario pest control companies provide ongoing training for employees, he says it is possible for an applicator to write an exam once, then remit checks annually for the next 30 years and remain licensed.
“It’s a little frightening,” Rollo says. “The fact that we handle chemicals that are potentially very dangerous if not used properly and we have no continuing education credits or opportunities in the province of Ontario is ludicrous.” Regulations change, products change, and applicators need to stay on top of this, he says.
To be considered a professional service, the industry needs to hold applicators to a higher standard. “Every major profession out there has continuing education credits,” including teachers, dentists, doctors, chiropractors, plumbers and mechanics, points out Rollo.
He hopes a renewed focus will make progress in Ontario. “We’ve been trying to tackle this with the Ontario government for 20-plus years,” he says. “They just don’t seem to be interested in changing.”
Rollo is optimistic CEC programs can be improved or developed in Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
COVID INTERRUPTION. Rollo previously served as CPMA president from 2019 to 2021. He ran again for office because “I felt I had some unfinished business; COVID kind of threw a monkey wrench into things,” he says.
Instead of working on continuing education efforts, his focus quickly turned to getting the government to classify pest management as an essential service so PMPs could continue to protect human health, property and environment.
“In the early stages of COVID, we were not considered an essential service,” recalls Rollo. He and other CPMA members spent “many, many hours” in meetings and calling all branches of government “to make sure they fully understood that we needed to be on that list. Fortunately, we were able to accomplish that in pretty short order, and every province and every territory deemed us to be essential,” he says. Then the task became figuring out how the industry would operate safely in a COVID environment.
Serving a second term as president will allow Rollo to complete that “unfinished business.”