Invasive-Free Certification

for Landscaping, Horticulture & Earthmoving Companies

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.

Check back here for 2020 Workshop dates and times!

If your group would like to book a custom training session, please contact or (819) 328-1678.

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 of which include reducing property value.

Training includes:

  • Species recognition and procurement practices – ensuring products purchased/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.

Book your space

in an upcoming workshop

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should my company participate?

A: 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: How do I sign up?

A: Workshops are available through our Eventbrite page.

If none of these workshop dates work for you, and you have more than 4 staff that would be attending, we may be able to schedule another workshop date that works for you. Simply get in touch with us at to book your space, at least one week prior to the course date.

Q: What are the requirements of certification?

A: A company is ‘Invasive-free Certified’ when a minimum of 50% of its staff (including all supervisors and crew leaders) have completed the Invasive-free training and the company has signed a statement of commitment. Individual trainees must have participated in at least one introductory workshop (or equivalent training) and signed a statement of commitment in order to receive certification.

Q: What is the cost?

A: Cost is $35 per individual. This includes:

  • attendance at an ‘Invasive-free’ workshop
  • all print resources
  • a USB containing invasive plant management resources
  • year-round support and consultation to all participating businesses to help them reach the commitments of the program
  • certificate
  • client letters verifying your company’s current certification
  • stickers and truck decals identifying your business as Invasive-Free certified
  • reduced rates for disposal of invasive plant matter at transfer stations, and
  • recognition on our website and in correspondence/ads relating to the program.

If at least 50% your staff are currently certified (individual certification lasts 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 includes promotion of participating companies, referrals and reduced disposal rates at the Callaghan Transfer Station in Whistler.

Note: the fees cover partial costs of the program, the remainder of our costs are covered by grants from our partners, including the Community Foundation of Whistler.

Q: How long is certification valid?

A: Companies must 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: How long are the workshops?

A: Classroom-style workshops run 2 to 2.5 hours.

Q: What if I attended training in a previous year?

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: Where do the workshops take place?

Workshops run in Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton. SSISC has partnered with the Cheakamus Centre to offer the Squamish workshops at their Environmental Learning Centre. We encourage participants to register in these Squamish workshops which include an outdoor learning component exploring the management of invasive species on site.

Environmental Learning Centre at the Cheakamus Centre

Invasive-Free Certified Businesses

Since 2010, over 50 landscaping, horticulture and earthmoving businesses have participated in the program. Currently, 21 businesses are certified. In 2018 alone, 93 individuals were trained. 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 minimize the impact of invasive species in the Sea to Sky corridor.

The workshop was very interesting and full of useful information. I was surprised at how much I learnt! 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

[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