Skip To Content
Horticulture & Landscape

Specialist High Skills Major –
Horticulture & Landscape

The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) in Horticulture and Landscaping provides students with a strong foundation for a wide variety of careers in the horticulture and landscaping sector. It enables students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before graduating and entering apprenticeship training, college, university, or an entry-level position in the workplace.

Bundle of nine Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits

 These credits make up the bundle:

  • four horticulture and landscaping major credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and skills. The four courses must include at least one Grade 11 and one Grade 12 credit, and may include one cooperative education credit related to the sector. (This cooperative education credit would be additional to the two that are required in the bundle; see below);

  • three other required credits from the Ontario curriculum, in each of which some expectations must be met through a contextualized learning activity (CLA) for the horticulture and landscaping sector. The three credits include:
    • one in English;1
    • one in mathematics; and
    • one in science or business studies (or a cooperative education credit related to the sector, which would be additional to the two cooperative education credits required in the bundle; see below);

  • two cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, apply, and practise sector-specific knowledge and skills.

Note: A compulsory English credit is required in Grade 11 and in Grade 12 for graduation with an OSSD. Schools may determine whether the CLA, required for the SHSM bundle of credits, is completed in the Grade 11 or Grade 12 English course

Sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses/programs

This SHSM sector requires students to complete a specified number of compulsory and elective sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses/programs, as indicated in the following table.

Note: Where an item in the table is capitalized, it is the proper name of the specific certification or training course/program that is appropriate for the SHSM. Where an item is lower cased, it is the name of an area, type, or category of training for which specific certifications or training courses/programs should be selected by the school or board. The requirements are summarized in the table below.

Four (4) compulsory

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Level C – includes automated external defibrillation (AED)

plant identification

Standard First Aid

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) – generic (i.e., not site-specific) instruction

Three (3) electives from the list below

advanced training in a technology

anti-oppression and allyship training

cash handling and register training

customer service

edging and trimming

fall protection

grading and drainage

grading and sodding

 herbicide and pesticide

ladder safety training

lawn mower use and safety

leadership skills

paver installation

plant layout

portfolio development

project management


sector-specific sustainability practices

sector-specific vehicle operation and safety

seed saving

soil classification and testing

tree planting

weed and pest identification and management

work orders

Working at Heights




Experiential Learning & Career Exploration

Experiential learning and career exploration opportunities relevant to the sector might include the following:

  • one-on-one observation of a cooperative education student at a placement in the horticulture and landscaping sector (an example of job twinning)

  • a day-long observation of a skilled tradesperson in the horticulture and landscaping sector (an example of job shadowing)

  • a one- or two-week work experience with a member of an industry association or a professional in the sector (an example of work experience)

  • attendance at college or university classes in a horticulture and/or landscaping program

  • the design and installation of a landscaping project on the grounds of the school or school board

  • attendance at a workshop put on by a garden centre or nursery

  • a tour of a greenhouse in which research is conducted

  • a volunteer experience with a community landscaping initiative

Sector Partnered Contextualized Experience (SPCE)

Innovative, Creativity & Entrepreneurship Training (ICE)
The ICE training in SHSM programs will allow students to understand the world from the perspectives of others, generate new ideas, and give students the confidence to develop strategies to implement and sustain their ideas while considering the impacts and consequences their innovation has on the world around them.


Sector-delivered Contextualized Coding
(e.g. SHSM-Agriculture:  GPS, GIS, Computer-controlled Devices with Ontario Federation of Agriculture)


Sector-delivered Contextualized Mathematical literacy
(e.g. SHSM-Horticulture and Landscaping: estimating, measuring, and budgeting with Landscape Ontario)

Reach Ahead Experiences

Students are provided one or more reach ahead experiences – opportunities to take the next steps along their chosen pathway – as shown in the following examples:

  • Apprenticeship: visiting an approved apprenticeship delivery agent in the sector
  • College: interviewing a college student enrolled in a sector-specific program
  • University: observing a university class in a sector-related program
  • Workplace: interviewing an employee in the sector


Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.