March 15, 2011
The Garden Centre Sector of Landscape Ontario has created a template that all business owners can adopt and modify for their business. This initiative will help garden centre owners and mangers create consistency of behaviour, training and job safety for garden centre employees.

The handbook is a policy manual with distribution to all employees. It contains information about the business such as the mission statement, company history and the service culture of the owners. It reflects the position of management, as it relates to this culture and it includes operational, legal and safety requirements of all employees. Policies in writing are legally binding and are written to protect all parties. Without a policy handbook for all new and present employees there is a real possibility that staff will impose their own unwritten code of conduct without your input.

By having a clearly written professional employee handbook, it sets company standards of behaviour, describes the terms of employment, details conditions of work such as dress code, mobile phones, etc., and clearly states the safety requirements of the job, reinforces standards of customer contact and service.

The handbook is recommended as part of the orientation of new hires. The final pages of the document are duplicate sign-offs for both parties to demonstrate receiving and accepting the conditions of employment. The policies described in the handbook are in force on garden centre property, or on any company worksite including delivery vehicles.

The template is designed for managers to customize fit their own garden centre. It contains hyperlinks to easily move through the document and make changes, additions or deletions. The blue blanks have been left to inscribe with personal business policy or philosophy. The document also includes links to various provincial Ministry of Labour websites for further clarity.

The handbook template can be downloaded at This resource has been made available to all LO members. For further information on the Garden Centre Employee Handbook, contact: Michael Van Dongen, LO Garden Centre Sector Group Chair, at, or Bob McCannell, Handbook author, at