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Pest Control Products Act Regulations

Petition: No. 144

Issue(s): Human health/environmental health and pesticides

Petitioner(s): Charles Caccia

Date Received: 1 June 2005

Status: Completed

Summary: According to the petitioner, there have been delays in putting regulations under the new Pest Control Products Act (proclaimed in 2002) in force. The new Act invokes the adoption of the precautionary principle and, when in place, the regulations would offer greater protection of public health and ecological sustainability.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Health Canada

Petition

June 1, 2005

The Pest Control Act was proclaimed in 2002, but regulations have not yet come into force. With this letter I would like to request the Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development to forward this petition to the appropriate federal Minister urging that regulations to implement the act be completed and made public without further delay.

[Original signed by Charles Caccia]

Charles Caccia, Senior Fellow
Institute of the Environment
University of Ottawa


April 20, 2005

Petition to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

With this petition, I would like to bring to the attention of the Commissioner the fact that regulations under the new Pest Control Products Act, proclaimed in 2002, have not yet come into effect. This is a matter of grave concern because presently Canadians are only protected by regulations based on legislation enacted in 1969. The new legislation, amongst other, invokes the adoption of the precautionary principle which would go a long way in protecting public health and ecological sustainability.

For these reasons I find it necessary to file this petition and ask the Commissioner to investigate this matter, in the hope that a date can be established through the Minister's office for the promulgation of these long-overdue new regulations.

[Original signed by Charles Caccia]

Submitted by Charles Caccia
Senior Fellow
University of Ottawa
Institute of the Environment
555 King Edward Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 6N5
caccia@uottawa.ca

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Minister's Response: Health Canada

October 5, 2005

The Honourable Charles Caccia, P.C.
Senior Fellow
Institute of the Environment
University of Ottawa
555 King Edward Street
P.O. Box 450, Station A
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 6N5

Dear Mr. Caccia:

Further to my acknowledgement letter of July 8, 2005, and in accordance with the requirements of Section 22 of the Auditor General Act, I am pleased to provide you with Health Canada's response to the issues raised and recommendations made in your petition concerning the regulations under the new Pest Control Products Act (Petition no. 144).

Thank you for your interest in this matter. I trust this information will prove helpful.

Yours sincerely,

[Original signed by Ujjal Dosanjh, Minister of Health]

Ujjal Dosanjh


Environment Petition No.144: Response to Petitioner

Introduction

Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has the mandate to prevent unacceptable risks to people and the environment from the use of pest control products. Pesticides imported into, sold, or used in Canada are regulated by the federal government under the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) and Regulations. The PMRA is responsible for administering this legislation, registering pest control products, re-evaluating registered products and specifying maximum residue limits for foods to be established under the Food and Drugs Act.

Pesticides are carefully regulated in Canada through a coordinated federal and provincial regulatory network that delivers a program of pre-market scientific assessment, enforcement, education, and information dissemination. Once a pesticide has been registered, monitoring and compliance programs, by both the PMRA and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, promote the proper use of pesticides and the safety of our food supply.

Under both the existing and new PCPA, a pesticide can not be registered for use in Canada unless any associated risks to health or the environment have been determined to be acceptable. Risks are acceptable if, on the basis of extensive scientific data, it has been determined that there is reasonable certainty that no harm to human health, future generations, or the environment will result when the pesticide is used as directed. This standard of acceptability applies to both the pre-market evaluation of pesticides proposed for registration and the re-evaluation of registered pesticides for continued registration.

The new Pest Control Products Act (2002) received Royal Assent on December 12, 2002, and it will help ensure that Canadians are better protected from health and environmental risks posed by pesticides, and help ensure a safe and abundant food supply. The passage of this legislation is the culmination of an extensive, multi-year review of pesticides regulation in Canada and represents an overhaul of existing pesticides legislation. When in force, the new Act will:

  • Strengthen health and environmental protection by requiring special protection for vulnerable populations, taking into account pesticide exposure from all sources, and considering cumulative effects of pesticides.
  • Make the registration system more transparent by establishing a public registry and allowing the public to view the test data on which these pesticide evaluations are based, and allowing the PMRA to share scientific studies with provincial/territorial and international regulators.
  • Strengthen post-registration control of pesticides by requiring pesticide companies to report adverse effects, requiring re-evaluations of older pesticides every 15 years, providing the Minister with the authority to remove pesticides from the market if required data are not supplied, and providing increased powers of inspection combined with higher maximum penalties.

The precautionary principle, as recommended in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development issued from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, has been incorporated into the new Pest Control Products Act. It can be applied as an interim measure in cases when the full scientific re-evaluation of a pest control product has not yet been completed and there is potential for serious or irreversible damage if the product continues to be used. However, the present standards of acceptability provide significantly higher level of protection from risk of harm than does the application of the precautionary principle alone.

Since the new PCPA received Royal Assent, PMRA has adopted as policy most of the provisions of the new Act which did not require regulatory changes. In the current evaluation and re-evaluation process, special emphasis is put on the protection of vulnerable populations including infants, children, and pregnant women. Pesticide exposure from all sources, including food and water, is being assessed and evaluated and cumulative effects of pesticides that act in the same way taken into account. The PMRA is developing commodity-based risk reduction strategies in consultation with stakeholders, expediting the registration of lower-risk products and ensuring that only pesticides that make a useful contribution to pest management are being registered. These actions will allow Canadians access to newer, safer pesticides. A re-evaluation program has been established and all pesticides registered before January 1, 1995, are being re-evaluated to determine if their use continues to be acceptable under today's standards for health and environmental protection.

The new PCPA will further enhance public confidence, here and abroad, that Canadian agri-food, forestry, and other products are safe.

Question:

When will the regulations necessary to implement the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA 2002) be completed and made public?

Response:

Health Canada is working to have the new PCPA, along with essential regulations, come into force as soon as possible [i.e. the revised Pest Control Products Regulations (PCPR)]. These revised regulations will be deemed to be completed once published in Canada Gazette (Part II), which we anticipate will take place early in 2006.

The proposed revisions to the PCPR have already been made public through the recent release of a Notice of Intent by the PMRA, available at: http://www.pmra-arla.gc.ca/english/pdf/noi/noi2005-02-e.pdf.

The proposed legal wording for the revised PCPR will be published in Part I of the Canada Gazette as soon as possible.

Other regulatory initiatives that are not essential for the coming into force will be completed subsequently, as resources permit. The priorities are:

  • The List of Pest Control Product Formulants and Contaminants of Health or Environmental Concern under the New Pest Control Products Act; the proposed list was published in June 2005 on PMRA's Web site at: www.pmra-arla.gc.ca/english/pdf/noi/noi2005-01-e.pdf;
  • The updated Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) regulations;
  • The Pest Control Product Adverse Effects Reporting Regulations;
  • The Pest Control Product Safety Information Regulations;
  • The Sales Information Reporting Regulations;
  • The Review Panel Regulations.

Resources have been allocated to bring the new PCPA into force in these timelines. This includes completion of projects to build the infrastructure needed to implement the transparency provisions of the new PCPA.