International – Pesticides and pest management

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is currently working with its counterparts in other countries to align the processes used to regulate pest control products and ensure the protection of health and the environment.

International Regulatory Cooperation

The aim of harmonization includes standardization of the type and scope of studies required to register a pesticide, the protocol followed in carrying out these required studies, the format and presentation of the submissions provided in support of a registration application, and the methods used to evaluate submissions and prepare reports.

Most notably, the PMRA pursues a wide range of initiatives with the United States and Mexico through the Working Group on Pesticides (TWG), established under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAFTA TWG met for the first time in March 1996; its aim is to create a more consistent basis for pesticide registration by the year 2002. Targets for harmonizing pesticide regulatory processes in the NAFTA countries include:

  • developing common data submissions for manufacturers;
  • providing greater co-ordination of approval processes for pesticides;
  • eliminating trade problems related to differences in maximum residue limits;
  • developing a common labelling system; and,
  • providing concurrent access to products.

Latest Developments

Significant milestones have been reached in our ongoing international regulatory cooperation efforts. These events are the results of the continuous efforts of Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and its international partners to harmonize pesticide regulatory systems for the purpose of improving product access and fostering an equal playing field, while maintaining strong human and environmental health protection.

North American Free Trade Agreement Label

The PMRA and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted registration simultaneously for the first North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) label for Avadex MicroActive Herbicide (Canada) and Fargo Herbicide (U.S.) to Gowan Company LLC. This represents a milestone for both the PMRA and EPA as this is the first jointly registered label and is a result of ongoing harmonization efforts between the two regulatory agencies. The NAFTA label will allow free movement of this product across the Canada/U.S. border.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) First Global Joint Review

The PMRA, along with the other involved countries: United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, received an electronic submission by Dupont for the registration of a new insecticide. This will be the first truly global Joint Review/Workshare project where we expect to complete the review in 14 months. This represents a significant improvement to the typical 21-24-month review standard for reviews conducted independently by these countries.

OECD Maximum Residue Level (MRL) Calculator

With the goal of harmonizing the calculation of maximum residue levels (MRLs) across the OECD, the OECD has developed an MRL Calculator. It is made up of an Excel spreadsheet simple to use without requiring extensive statistical knowledge from the user. There is one spreadsheet for single data sets and one spreadsheet for multiple data sets. A User Guide and a Statistical White Paper are available to help with the use of the Calculator.

As of April 1, 2011, Canada and the United States joined the other OECD member countries in their use of the OECD MRL Calculator to calculate pesticide MRLs. The OECD MRL Calculator will replace and supersede the NAFTA MRL Calculator.

Other International Initiatives

Alignment initiatives are also being pursued through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Group on Pesticides (WGP) which includes many other federal pesticide regulatory bodies.

Additionally, the PMRA participates in the following initiatives:

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