Event Summary: Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency Stakeholder Information Session, December 7, 2021
On December 7, 2021, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) held a stakeholder virtual information session on pest control product regulatory highlights and priorities. This event included presentations on pre- and post-market performance updates from the Registration Program, and the Value Assessment and Re-evaluation Management Program. As well, the new executive lead of the Transformation Agenda team presented the guiding principles and first steps taken in the PMRA transformation process.
More than 180 participants took part in the virtual session, including from industry, academia, consumer groups and associations, health and environmental advocacy and non-governmental organizations, and government partners.
Highlights and Priorities
On August 4, 2021, the Government of Canada made a commitment to further strengthen the PMRA’s human and environmental health and safety oversight and protection. This includes consulting on specific provisions of the Pest Control Products Act, improving the availability of independent data to further support pesticide decisions and the transparency of decision-making, and the creation of a new science advisory committee to provide advice, as appropriate, prior to certain evidence-based decisions on pesticides, including on Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs).
The new Transformation Agenda builds on the previous Program Renewal work already underway at the PMRA. Program Renewal principles will continue to contribute to shaping the way the PMRA transforms into a more sustainable program.
Targeted review of the Pest Control Products Act
A targeted review of the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) will be undertaken related to modernizing review processes, improving transparency and access to information, and increasing the use of real-world data and independent advice into the pesticide decision-making process. As part of this work, potential legislative changes may be required to enable proposed measures.
Environmental health and safety oversight
The PMRA is working on the development and implementation of a modern, proactive strategic regulatory system that monitors risks over the full pesticide regulatory lifecycle. Process changes will:
- Apply a continuous monitoring and re-evaluation of pesticide health and environmental safety and value throughout the product’s regulatory lifecycle, to identify and address potential risks earlier
- implement a risk-based approach with a level of oversight proportional to the level of risk of the product
- leverage additional real-world scientific evidence including water monitoring and pesticide use data to inform regulatory decisions
Availability of independent data
The PMRA is working to increase availability of real-world data by parties such as universities, other federal, provincial and territorial governments, other regulatory agencies, and Canadians, to further support pesticide review decisions, and the transparency of decision-making.
Plans include the development of a national water monitoring program and an approach to address gaps in the availability, timeliness and accuracy of pesticide use information.
Concrete measures will be implemented to increase transparency, improve public understanding of the pesticide regulatory processes and allow for a more meaningful participation process for Canadians, and broaden access to information and data that contributed to regulatory decisions. A scientific advisory committee will also be created to provide, where appropriate, independent scientific advice to the PMRA prior to decision-making.
Panel Discussion on Independent Data
Panelists from Health Canada, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada shared their perspectives on the collection and sharing of real-world data to support a national water monitoring initiative, and pesticide use information.
Throughout the session, participants submitted and up-voted questions online for response from the various Government of Canada officials. The majority of questions focused on:
- The establishment of the new scientific advisory committee
- How the collection of additional data, with respect to water monitoring and pesticide use will be used and reviewed
- The targeted review of the Pest Control Products Act
- The impact of COVID-19 on workforce and business operations
The session closed with Health Canada’s commitment to continued collaboration and regular engagement with stakeholders as progress is made on key priorities.
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