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SSISC training programs are offered in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton, BC.

  1. Invasive-free Certification for Landscaping, Horticulture & Earthmoving Companies
    • Training is provided in a 2 hour classroom style workshop on species recognition and procurement practices, site and species-appropriate control methods, and disposal practices.
    • Benefits of certification include promotion of participating companies, referrals and reduced disposal rates at the Callaghan Transfer Station in Whistler.
  2. Best Practice Field Training for Herbicide Applicators (4 hours on site in Squamish)
    • For licenced herbicide applicators, or individuals interested in obtaining a herbicide applicators licence through the Province of BC
    • Field workshop provides guidance to participants regarding best practice recommendations for the treatment of Japanese knotweed using stem injection and foliar spray.
  3. Invasive Species ID Workshop (2 hours)
    • Classroom style workshop offered to the stewardship groups, environmental consultants, land surveyors, local government staff, roadside maintenance contractors and the general public.
    • Topics include how to what are the high priority invasive species for the Sea to Sky Region and what are their impacts, how to identify these species, new species to watch out for; how to report them, and ways to remove or contain them.

Training dates will be listed here each summer season. If your group would like to book in a tailored training session, please contact Clare O’Brien at ssinvasives@gmail.com

Invasive-free Certification Training

Sign up for any of the following workshops by emailing ssinvasives.programs@gmail.com or calling 1-705-970-0796

2017 Whistler Workshops:

Tuesday June 27: 1-3pm, Whistler Public Works Yard (Decker Room)

Weds June 28: 8-11am, Whistler Public Works Yard (Decker Room)

Thurs June 29: 1-3pm, Whistler Public Works Yard (Decker Room)

Thurs July 6: 8:30-10:30am, Whistler Public Works Yard (Decker Room)

2017 Squamish Workshops:

NEW this year: Workshops taking place at the Cheakamus Centre in Squamish will include an outdoor learning portion!

Mon July 10: 8:15-10:30am, Squamish (Cheakamus Centre)

Mon July 10: 1:15-3:30pm, Squamish (Cheakamus Centre)

Tues July 11: 8:15-10:30am, Squamish (Cheakamus Centre)

Tues July 11: 1:15-3:30pm, Squamish (Cheakamus Centre)

Weds July 12: 8:15-10:30am, Squamish (Cheakamus Centre)

Weds July 12: 1:15-3:30pm, Squamish (Cheakamus Centre)

Thurs July 13: 8:15-10:30am, Squamish (Cheakamus Centre)

Thurs July 13: 1:15-3:30pm, Squamish (Cheakamus Centre)

SSISC's Invasive-Free Certification program is the first of its kind in BC. The goal of this program is to integrate targeted invasive species management into the practices of horticulture, landscaping and earth-moving companies serving the Sea to Sky Corridor, and recognize those companies contributing to stopping the spread of invasive species.

Thanks to generous funding from the Community Foundation of Whistler, SSISC has been offering the Invasive-free Certification program since 2010. It all began at a horticulture forum hosted by SSISC, where industry feedback revealed a lack of education on invasive species and their significant threats - some even reducing property values.

Training is provided to participating companies on:

  1. Species recognition and procurement practices – ensuring products purchased/grown are not invasive
  2. Site & species appropriate control methods – ensuring an understanding of the types available
  3. Disposal practices – ensuring that invasive plant seeds or plant parts are properly disposed

Since 2011, 43 companies have participated in the program. Individuals attending have all made a commitment to minimize the threat of invasive species in the Sea to Sky corridor. SSISC commends the companies that have volunteered to take part in the program. They are making a difference as we all work together to address this important issue.


Invasive-free Certified sticker Invasive-free Certified program sponsor

Look for an Invasive-free Certified sticker on the vehicles and places of business of these certified companies:

Another View Landscaping

Critter Get Ritter

Deeply Rooted Landscaping

District of Squamish

DIG Land Care & Yard Services

Fanatical Botanical Garden Services

Green Admiral Nature Restoration

Heike Designs

Lady Bug Art & Garden

L. & A. Equipment

Latham Landscapes

Miller Capilano Maintenance Corporation – Horticulture crew

Nicklaus North Golf Course

Resort Municipality of Whistler - Horticulture, Turf Crew and Utilities

Resort Municipality of Whistler - Fire Crew

Sea to Sky Soils

The Gardener's Yard

Whistler Blackcomb Landscape Maintenance Department

Whistler Excavations

Deeply Rooted Landscaping

Landscape Maintenance Dept

Latham Landscapes
Heike Designs

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Q: Why should my company participate?
A: 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. 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.

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 is welcome to register. SSISC will also be running Invasive Species Training workshops for other professions and volunteers.

Q: What defines certification?
A: A company is ‘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 partial costs of the program and is not a revenue generator)
A: The cost for the certification or re-certification workshop is $35 per individual, this includes:

  • print resources, including a BC Noxious Weed field guide
  • a USB loaded with resource documents
  • year round support to all participating businesses to help them reach the commitments of the program
  • electronic certificates & letters to give clients about the value of being certified
  • Invasive-free certified stickers / truck decals
  • 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 will attend one 2-hour workshop (classroom-style) offered in Squamish, Whistler or Pemberton. We are currently planning the workshops for 2017. Please contact ssisc.outreach@gmail.com for more information.

Q: What if I attended training in 2014, 2015, or 2016?
A: Individual training is valid for three years but you are welcome to attend refresher workshops yearly as a review. Threats and pressures are constantly changing, and we encourage participants to stay informed.

Q: How do I sign up?
A: Please contact us at ssinvasives.programs@gmail.com or 1-705-970-0796

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SSISC thanks the Community Foundation of Whistler and the Resort Municipality of Whistler for making this program possible.


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I have no hesitation in saying that the course was excellent and provided amazing value for money. There is always something new to learn about dealing with invasive plants because we are dealing with a very dynamic Phenomenon. This course was up-to-date, had good visual presentation and the course materials for reference were outstanding. This is exactly the sort of information that should be widely circulated to inform anyone who is connected with landscaping, construction, biological restoration, or real estate. The course focused on practical ways of identifying and dealing with invasive plants in our local community. I could take what I learnt and apply it in the field immediately.

- Richard Beard, Green Admiral Nature Restoration

The crew at Latham Landscapes would like to thank Claire for accommodating our staff for this years re-certification. The course was wonderfully presented and very informative.

- Kris Latham, Latham Landscapes

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Gardeners have a long tradition of moving plants to new regions, and the popularity of gardening has increased the importation of plants into Canada and BC from other regions of the world. The Sea to Sky Corridor’s range of climates — from the coastal climate around Squamish, to the varied interior climate around Pemberton — allows gardeners to grow a wide range of interesting trees, shrubs and flowers. Some plants are sown or planted in gardens with ideal growing conditions, but without the plant’s natural pests and predators, are able to easily spread through their fruits, seeds or roots. Invasive plants are non-native and have the potential to pose substantial undesirable or detrimental impacts including: 

  • Biodiversity loss - including rare & endangered species
  • Habitat loss - for wildlife, birds, fish and other organisms
  • Harm to human and/or animal health - can be toxic 
  • Significant reductions in the quality & quantity of crops 
  • Increased wildfire risk 
  • Reduced land values
  • Increased erosion & stream sedimentation

Early detection and control is the best way to mitigate damage, one reason to work with Invasive-free Certified horticulture professionals.

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