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 Whistler Community Foundation, 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.
New! The Invasive-Free Certification program is now offered online.
With our new online delivery, company members and individuals will have the option to complete the course at their convenience, any time of year. Please note, course fees are $35 per individual.
- Species identification – ensuring products purchased and grown are not invasive.
- Site & species-appropriate control methods – understanding the most current and effective strategies.
- Disposal practices – ensuring that invasive plant seeds or plant parts are properly disposed of.
If your group would like to book a custom training session, please contact us or call Claude-Anne at (819) 328-1678.
“The workshop was very interesting and full of useful information. I was surprised at how much I learned! The course instruction and materials provided were relevant and applicable to our industry. I recommend this course to anyone in the site development, earthmoving, or excavating business.” -Ora Ramage, L&A Equipment
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why should my company participate?
- By participating, your company will contribute to stopping the spread of invasive species in the Sea to Sky corridor and protecting its health, biodiversity, environment, and economy.
- By being certified your company will show its commitment to environmental sustainability and attract clients that value sustainable services.
- Upon certification, your company will receive recognition and increased marketing opportunities which could lead to increased exposure.
- Getting certified helps ensure bylaw enforcement. The District of Squamish and the Resort Municipality of Whistler have bylaws in place that prohibit the planting and distribution of invasive plants.
Q: Who can take part in the program?
The course is designed specifically for companies in the horticulture industry:
- Landscape architects
- Excavators and earthmovers
- Garden centres
However, gardeners of all levels and nature lovers are welcome to sign-up!
SSISC also offers Invasive Species Training workshops for other professions and volunteers; contact us to learn more.
Q: How do I register?
Q: What are the requirements of certification?
Companies are considered ‘Invasive-free Certified’ when:
- A minimum of 50% of its staff (including all supervisors and crew leaders) have completed the Invasive-free training, and
- Yearly re-certification costs have been paid, when applicable.
Individual trainees must have completed the online course and committed to following the PlantWise principles in order to receive certification. Individual certification is valid for 3 years.
Q: What is the cost?
The cost is $35 per individual. This includes:
- access to our interactive online course
- individual certificate of completion (digital version)
- reduced rates for disposal of invasive plant matter at the Squamish landfill
- stickers and truck decals identifying your business as Invasive-Free certified (necessary to access reduced disposal rates)
- access to educational resources specifically curated for landscapers, horticulturists, and earthmovers
- year-round support and consultation to all participating businesses
- SSISC-issued letter verifying your company’s current certification (digital version)
- promotion through our website, social media accounts, and ads relating to the program
- referrals to inquiring members of the public
To maintain your company certification:
If at least 50% of your staff has taken the Invasive-Free certification online course within the last 3 years, and you would like to maintain your company’s certification without sending any staff to the workshops, the fee is $50.00 per year. The company re-certification fee provides you with the benefits highlighted above.
Note: the fees cover partial costs of the program, the remainder of our costs are covered by grants from our partners, including the Whistler Community Foundation.
Q: How long is certification valid?
- Individual training is valid for 3 years, but
- Companies must re-certify annually
- 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: How long does it take to complete the course?
A: The course takes approximately 2-2.5 hours to complete.
Q: What if I attended training in a previous year?
That is great! We are glad that you took the time to attend one of our past in-person Invasive-Free Certification Workshops, which took place each year until 2019.
Past in-person course attendance does not count towards current certification. Going forward, individual training will be valid for three years.
We encourage everyone to participate in our newly designed online course to stay informed on the constantly changing threats and pressures of invasive plant species.
Currently Certified Businesses
Since 2010, over 50 landscaping, horticulture and earthmoving businesses have participated in the program. Participants have all made a commitment to minimize the threat of invasive species in the Sea to Sky corridor.
SSISC commends the companies that have taken part in the program over the years. They are making a difference as we all work together to stop the spread of invasive species in the Sea to Sky corridor.
The companies that are currently Invasive-Free Certified are listed below:
I recently completed the Invasive Species Identification in the Sea to Sky Region online course, and I must say it exceeded all my expectations. The course was not only thorough but also incredibly interesting and information-packed. From the comprehensive modules to the engaging presentations, every aspect of the course was designed to enhance my understanding of invasive species in the Sea to Sky region.
- Laura Perkins, Certification online course participant
[The invasive-free training and resources provided is] good for the new employees and as a refresher…it is good to keep taking this workshop to remind us how important it is to use good practice.
-Marie-Claude, Owner, Deeply Rooted Lanscaping
We found the training very informative as always. Breanne did a great job and was very knowledgeable. We have removed invasives on a bunch of occasions and are always identifying new ones. We stopped some contractors from digging up a bunch of knotweed until we could advise them the proper disposal methods and provided them with bags and tags. We have also written to the Pemby Valley Nurseries about removing invasive lamium from our hanging baskets. We are all very aware of the problematic invasives in the area and always check we are not planting invasives.
-Sally, Supervisor, Whistler Blackcomb Landscaping
It was a great program and Breanne did a good job. I’d like more of my staff to participate next time.
-Julie, Owner, Wildside Landscaping
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
We all appreciated your knowledge and clear presentation and are thrilled to the first of hopefully many earthworks and excavating companies to appreciate the value of your group.
-Ora Ramage, L & A Equipment
The crew at Latham Landscapes would like to thank Clare for accommodating our staff for this years re-certification. The course was wonderfully presented and very informative.
-Kris Latham, Latham Landscapes