Before a pesticide can first be registered, the human health and environmental risks are evaluated according to the scientific standards of the day. However, as science evolves and new information becomes available, these products are subject to a post-market re-evaluation process to ensure they meet the latest health and environmental risk assessment standards.
Ongoing Improvement of the Re-evaluation Program
Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) routinely assesses its programs to identify opportunities to modernize business practices.
We are initiating a review of the Re-evaluation Program that will:
- Explore opportunities for enhanced stakeholder engagement earlier in the process to inform the risk assessment
- Examine a more sustainable approach to re-evaluations that will balance appropriate funding and workload
- Seek increased collaboration with international regulators on re-evaluations to capitalize on the best available science and sharing the regulatory workload.
We are also launching a pilot program to enhance agricultural stakeholder engagement in re-evaluation decisions. We will work with growers of minor-use crops to increase awareness of the re-evaluation process and proposed decisions, and facilitate growers' participation in the re-evaluation process.
The objective is to achieve a sustainable Re-evaluation Program that continues to protect health and the environment, and incorporates efficiencies and streamlined business practices.
Over the course of 2020, the Program Renewal team engaged stakeholders representing 141 associations and organizations through 24 sessions held across Canada and virtually. Through these discussions, the PMRA sought feedback from stakeholders on the Integrated Approach.
The results and summary of these sessions can be found in the 2020 What Was Heard Report.
As PMRA continues to assess the Re-evaluation Program, stakeholders are invited to provide comments to HC.PMRARenewal-RenouvellementARLA.SC@canada.ca.
Risk assessments according to current scientific standards consider:
- exposure risks in all of the population, including more sensitive segments of the population such as infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly
- combined exposure from dietary, residential and drinking water sources
- a more in-depth assessment of the risk to pollinators
- risk of cumulative exposure to chemicals with a common mechanism of action.
For any re-evaluation of a pesticide or registration of a new one, PMRA scientists review the available information on the product, including monitoring studies, toxicology studies and foreign reviews, before publishing a proposed decision for public consultation.
The Basis for Re-evaluation
The Pest Control Products Act requires the PMRA to initiate re-evaluations of each registered pesticide within 15 years of its initial registration or the most recent major decision affecting the registration. As science continues to evolve, new information, methodologies and approaches that become available over time may affect a previously made regulatory decision. For this reason, PMRA re-evaluates registered pesticides, every 15 years or sooner, to determine whether the use of these products continues to be acceptable according to current standards.
During a re-evaluation, PMRA reviews available scientific information on the product before proposing a decision, including information provided by pesticide registrants, other federal or provincial departments and information published in scientific literature. The scope of each review corresponds with the complexity of science issues associated with a given pesticide. A proposed re-evaluation decision is published for a 90-day public consultation prior to being finalized. Re-evaluation may result in:
- Changes to how products are allowed to be used to meet current health and environmental protection standards, or
- Removing products from the market to prevent harm to health or the environment.
The re-evaluation process is described in the Regulatory Directive DIR2016-04, Management of Pesticides Re-evaluation Policy, as well as Regulatory Directive DIR2001-03, PMRA Re-evaluation Program.
Special Review Process
Special review is another post-registration process provided for under the Pest Control Products Act. A special review can be initiated when:
- there are reasonable grounds to believe that the health or environmental risks of a product, or its value, is unacceptable, or
- an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member country prohibits all uses of an active ingredient for health or environmental reasons.
More information on special reviews is found in the Regulatory Directive DIR2014-01, Approach to Special Reviews.
Working with Regulatory Science Community
The PMRA continues to explore alignment of re-evaluation schedules with those of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or other work sharing opportunities for reviews where appropriate. Reviews from members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development are also considered.
Publications and Status
Re-evaluation and special review documents are published in the following regulatory publications:
Proposed Re-evaluation Decision (PRVD): Also referred to as a consultation document, this publication contains summaries of the evaluation and conclusions on the acceptability of continuing the registration of an active ingredient. Proposed regulatory actions with specified conditions and requirements for maintaining registration of products are outlined in this document. Its publication is followed by a 90-day public consultation period.
Re-evaluation Decision (RVD): Publication of the RVD announces PMRA's final decision concerning the active ingredient under re-evaluation in Canada, and explains how the final decision was made. The RVD document includes responses to comments received during the PRVD consultation period. The RVD may also follow a Re-evaluation Note.
Re-evaluation Note (REV Note): REV Notes are published at various stages of the re-evaluation or special review process to provide the public with information, or to conduct consultations. REV Notes include an annual re-evaluation work plan. Up until 2018, REV Notes also included special review consultation and decision documents.
Proposed Special Review Decision (PSRD): This publication outlines the proposed decision for consultation. It contains a summary of the information taken into account to assess the aspect of concern that triggered the need for a special review.
Special Review Decision (SRD): The decision document includes PMRA's final decision statement, after having considered comments received during the consultation period.
You can subscribe for updates from PMRA's Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed to obtain links to re-evaluation and special review publications when they are posted online.
Information regarding past and present re-evaluations or special reviews can be found in the Pesticide Product Information Database.
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