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SSISC Invasive-free certification program

SSISC Invasive-free certification program
Executive Director - Tue Apr 03, 2012 @ 12:17PM
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SSISC_certified_sticker__invasive-free_certified__updated.jpgInvasive species are a growing threat in the Sea to Sky Corridor, and the horticulture industry plays a key role in minimizing the risks.  Last year the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC) ran a successful pilot Invasive-free certification program, which originated at the suggestion of the industry at a 2010 horticulture forum.

After the 2011 pilot program, this is what some participants had to say about the program: “Overall the workshop was clear & concise with good topics”; “I like that this course brings the horticulture industry to the table to try a more direct approach to voluntary compliance”; and “For me the disposal information was very important”.  We’d like to thank all the companies that participated in 2011 (Alchemist Landscape Design & Management, Budial Resource Group, Coyote Landscape Contracting, Deeply Rooted Landscaping,  Heike Designs, Latham Landscapes, Marie's Mountainview Garden, Paulette French Design, Sound Garden Landscape Design, Whistler Landscaping) and invite others to participate as the awareness of invasive species as an issue grows.  Please keep reading to learn about updates to the program this year and other new developments.

Why should my company participate?

The goal of this program is to promote and integrate effective invasive species management into the practices of horticulture and landscape companies serving the Sea to Sky corridor.  Professional development will be provided to participating companies to improve their knowledge in the following three areas:

  1. Species Recognition and Procurement Practices – ensuring products purchased or grown are not invasive
  2. Site & Species Appropriate Control Methods – ensuring a base understanding of the types of control methods available to control a given species
  3. Disposal Practices – ensuring that invasive plant seeds or plant parts are properly disposed of, including ensuring integrity of the compost stream

Upon certification, companies can expect to receive recognition which could potentially translate into increased exposure (i.e. new marketing opportunities & access to a niche market).  Support will be provided to all participating businesses to help them reach the commitments of the program.   

New developments

In the United Kingdom, Japanese knotweed reduces property values and in some cases, people have been unable to secure a mortgage or insure their property due to knotweed infestations.  It is conceivably only a matter of time before this is the case within the Sea to Sky corridor.  Early detection and control is the best way to mitigate damage, and this course will provide participants with a full understanding of the issue that they can then pass on to clients.

Also, the SSISC is piloting a new Cost Sharing Program for Private Lands program this year that provides land owners, managers, and occupiers with the guidance and financial resources necessary to manage invasive plants on private property.  This program will rebate private landowners up to 50% of the cost of control of giant hogweed & Japanese knotweed, two of the highest priority invasive species in the corridor and recently added to the BC Weed Control Act.  To ensure quality of work, in order to qualify for reimbursement all treatment must be carried out by a SSISC Invasive-free Certified company (or the SSISC itself if no certified companies are available).  If this Cost Sharing Program carries on in future years, we’d like to see all control be completed by local companies or contractors. 

Frequently asked questions

Q:Who can take part in the program?
A: Although it is designed for those in the horticulture industry (garden centres, nurseries, landscapers, landscape architects) and contractors, anyone if welcome to register.

Q:What defines certification?
A: A company is certified ‘Invasive-free Certified’ when a minimum of 50% of staff have completed the ‘Invasive-free’ training, including all crew leaders/supervisors, and the company has signed a statement of commitment.  For individuals to complete the training, they must have participated in at least one introductory workshop (or equivalent training) and signed a statement of commitment.

Q:What is the cost?  (Note: The annual fee covers the costs of the program and is not a revenue generator)  
A: Cost is dependent on size of company:  Companies that are up to 10 employees/11-20 employees/over 20 employees will pay $50/$100/$150 respectively per year to be certified.  For individuals not part of a company working towards certification, the cost to take part is $20. When a company is working towards securing/maintaining certification, there is no limit on how many staff members can attend training in that year.  Cost also includes:

  • all resources, including a print copy of ‘A Guide to Identification and Management of Sea to Sky Invasive Plants’
  • year round support to all participating businesses to help them reach the commitments of the program
  • electronic certificates &  Invasive-free certified stickers
  • electronic letter to give clients about the value of being certified
  • recognition on our website and in correspondence/ads relating to the program

Q:How long is certification valid?
A: Companies need to re-certify annually; individual training is valid for 3 years.  Annual certification is important since it keeps companies involved and up to date on new information including news about treatment, emerging invasive species, and new legislation/regulations.   

Q:When are the workshops?
A: Participants need to attend just one 2 hour workshop (classroom style) offered in Squamish, Whistler or Pemberton.   Availability is on a first come first served basis with additional workshops being added as needed.




@ Capilano University


 @ RMOW Public Works Yard


@ Community Centre


·Wed,  April 25th, 9 -11 am

·Thur, April 26th, 2-4 pm

·Wed, April 25th, 2-4 pm

·Fri, April 27th, 8-10 am

·Tues, April 24th, 9-11am


·Tues, May 15th, 2-4 pm

·Fri, May 18th, 9-11 am

·Wed, May 16th, 2-4 pm

·Thurs, May 17th, 8-10 am

·Tues, May 15th, 9-11 am


·Tues, June 5th, 9-11 am

·Wed, June 6th, 2-4 pm

·Tues, June 5th, 2-4 pm

·Fri, June 8th,  8-10 am

·Wed, June 6th, 9-11 am

Q:What if I attended training in 2011?
A: Individual training will be valid through 2013.  Your company will need to re-certify annually, i.e. confirm participation in the program & number of trained staff, and pay the annual fee (see above “What is the cost?”).

Q: How do I sign up?
 A: Please contact Kristina by email or phone 604-698-8334 with the workshop you'd like to attend within one week of the course date.

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