The value of a pest control product lies in its contribution to managing pest problems. This contribution can lead to economic, health, and environmental benefits. Value assessment helps ensure that only those products that make a positive contribution to pest management are registered. Value assessment helps to minimize the risks associated with pest control products ensuring appropriate use rates and that all products are approved for use only if their contribution to pest management is significant.
Value assessment under the current Pest Control Products Act
Section 4(2)(a), (b) and (d) of the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) states that the Minister shall:
(a) support sustainable development designed to enable the needs of the present to be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs;
(b) seek to minimize health and environmental risks posed by pest control products and encourage the development and implementation of innovative, sustainable pest management strategies by facilitating access to control products that pose lower risks and by other appropriate measures;
(d) ensure that only those pest control products that are determined to be of acceptable value are approved for use in Canada.
Section 2.(1) of the PCPA defines value as follows: In respect of a pest control product, value means the product's actual or potential contribution to pest management, taking into account its conditions or proposed conditions of registration, and includes the product's
- effect on host organisms in connection with which it is intended to be used; and
- health, safety and environmental benefits and social and economic impact.
The value assessment process
Value assessment is an important element of the evaluation of pest control products, and may include assessments of efficacy, host and rotational crop tolerance, sustainability, and social and economic impacts.
Efficacy Evaluation involves assessing product performance and host tolerance to ensure appropriate label claims and the lowest application frequency and rate (or rate range) required to provide effective and reliable pest control without damaging the host crop, commodity or site and under a broad range of normal-use conditions.
Economics and social impact evaluation involves examining the effect of the pest problem on the volume or quality and value of the commodity, or the efficiency of the industrial process to be treated. This includes estimating the potential economic impacts of a decision to register or not register the proposed treatment, and predicting the impact that the availability of the proposed pesticide treatment would have on the competitive position of the relevant Canadian production sector. Consideration of the impact of availability is particularly important when the proposed treatment is already available in competing countries, the treated commodity is imported into Canada, or the treatment is not registered in countries that import the treated commodity from Canada.
Sustainability Evaluation assesses the role of the proposed treatment in pest management and the overall production systems for the commodity to be treated, including:
- compatibility with and contribution to sustainable production practices and integrated pest management, including consideration of pest biology and economic threshold (the population level at which an organism becomes a pest);
- comparison with alternative products and practices, including potential contribution to risk reduction (for example, by virtue of lower persistence, toxicity or bioaccumulation, or reduced impact on beneficial and other non-target organisms); and
- contribution to resistance management.
The depth of the value assessment undertaken in any particular case depends on a variety of factors, such as the degree of risk posed by the pesticide use in question and the product's potential contribution to sustainable pest management systems. For example, economic assessment may be undertaken:
- where risk is deemed to be significant, the economic value of the commodity is high, and the product in question appears to be critical to the control of an important pest;
- when the costs of risk mitigation measures are high compared to the economic value of the commodity (e.g., to determine if it would be worthwhile for a grower to use the product if expensive personal protective equipment were required);
- when the competitiveness of an industry could be negatively affected by a decision to deny registration; or when a decision to deny registration could result in a reduced supply of the commodity to be treated.
The direct or indirect health and environmental benefits of a product are also evaluated when relevant. Examples of direct benefits include the control of a disease causing organism or its vectors, or the control of an environmentally significant pest, such as purple loosestrife or zebra mussel. Indirect health or environmental benefits can occur in situations where efficacy - in terms of decrease in pest population - is less than ideal, but the product contributes to risk reduction, resistance management, or sustainable pest-management systems.
Value assessment contributes to the goals of reducing risk and supporting sustainability by:
- ensuring appropriate use rates and frequencies. This helps to reduce pesticide exposure to users, bystanders and the environment, and to minimize dietary exposure to pesticides by reducing the amount of pesticide likely to remain in or on food;
- ensuring that proposed risk mitigation methods are practical;
- providing an objective assessment of the economic impact of potential regulatory decisions;
- identifying products that contribute to sustainable pest management systems; and
- minimizing negative impacts of products on such systems.
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