Government of Canada moves forward on commitments to strengthen the pesticide review process
June 20, 2023 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring responsible pesticide management across the country.
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, along with the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), announced next steps toward a sustainable approach to pesticides management while giving farmers the tools they need to keep providing reliable access to safe and nutritious food.
In addition, Health Canada published a Notice of Intent, which began consultations on proposed amendments to the Pest Control Products Regulations (PCPR). These proposed amendments are a result of the 2022 consultations on targeted review of the Pest Control Products Act.
Following consultation with stakeholders to better understand Canadians’ expectations about the pesticide regulatory review process and its transparency, Health Canada has restarted the science-based process of evaluating acceptable increases to pesticide residue limits, in line with international guidelines. The health and safety of Canadians will remain at the forefront of the process.
Additionally, the Government of Canada is eliminating the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes on federal lands through amendments to the Greening Government Strategy (GGS), led by Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). The GGS specifies how the Government of Canada will transition to net-zero carbon and climate-resilient operations by 2050, while also reducing environmental impacts beyond carbon, including on waste, water and biodiversity.
ECCC will generate real-world data to help make progress on this sustainable approach to pesticides management in Canada and to better understand the impacts of pesticides on the environment.
These next steps from the Government of Canada are aligned with Canada’s commitment to implementing the 2022 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), which aims to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. The Framework includes a focus on reducing the overall risk from pesticides by at least half by 2030. There are many ways to reduce risk that are not correlated to reduction in pesticide use, for example, the timing of application, the effectiveness of a given product, science, and other pest management approaches. As such, the GBF target focuses on the overall impacts and risk management of pesticides and does not command a specific target reduction in pesticide use.
Health Canada has been and will continue to increase the transparency and accessibility of decisions, including posting plain language summaries of key decisions online and disclosing applicants’ names as applications enter the review stage for both pre- and post-market. Health Canada has also launched the external Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) for pest control products and consulted key stakeholders on a transition to a continuous oversight approach and systematic review of emerging science.
“It is only through a whole of government approach that we will be more successful in creating a sustainable way forward in pesticide management for the safety of our health, the environment, and wildlife. By taking these initial steps today, we are paving the way towards stronger pesticide management in Canada.”
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
“Real-world data is critical to enhancing our understanding of the impacts of pesticides on the environment. By increasing monitoring and research on this issue, and eliminating the unnecessary use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes on federal lands, the Government of Canada is taking important first steps to support its commitments under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada
"Pesticides are part of the toolbox agricultural producers use to protect their crops from pests and contribute to their productivity. The measures announced by our government today help to ensure responsible access, framed by reliable data, to these essential inputs, while protecting health and the environment."
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
“Today, a new approach was put forward to eliminate the non-essential, cosmetic use of pesticides on federal lands. Our commitment to leading by example through the Greening Government Strategy is not just about the fight against climate change, but also about protecting biodiversity and greenspaces. This amendment will put these goals into action and further expand our efforts.”
The Honourable Mona Fortier
President of the Treasury Board of Canada
To further strengthen the transparency and sustainability of pesticide management in Canada, on August 4, 2021, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $50 million in Health Canada’s PMRA and AAFC’s pest management research, to be supported by ECCC and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Health Canada, ECCC, CFIA and AAFC have been working in collaboration on PMRA’s Transformation Agenda.
At the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) in December 2022, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) was adopted; this framework sets out direction for global actions to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, including four goals to achieve by 2050, and 23 targets to reach by 2030.
ECCC is leading work on a whole-of-government approach to implement the GBF, including the development of Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy.
The Science Advisory Committee on Pest Control Products (SAC-PCP) was launched in January 2022 and act as an advisory role to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is working to develop the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy, which will be a coordinated approach to agri-environmental issues. Discussions that are currently underway provide an opportunity to consider the sustainable use of pesticides and potential impacts on water, soil health, and biodiversity. Working together with the agriculture sector, AAFC intends to set a shared direction for collective action to improve environmental performance over the long-term while supporting farmer livelihoods.
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
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