Event Summary: Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency Stakeholder Information Session, December 9, 2022
On December 9, 2022, 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 executive lead of the Transformation Task Force presented a review of the context and objectives of the transformation initiatives, and the forward stakeholder engagement plan. Members of the Transformation Task Force presented updates on progress achieved on the four pillars of the Transformation Agenda:
- strengthening human health and environmental protection through modernized pesticide business processes governing pesticide reviews
- improving transparency
- increasing the use of independent real-world data and independent advice in the pesticide regulatory process, and
- reviewing targeted provisions of the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA).
More than 120 participants from industry, academia, consumer groups and associations, health and environmental non-government organizations, and other government departments took part in the virtual session.
Highlights and Priorities
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians are protected from risks associated with the use of pesticides while working to enhance the protection of human health, wildlife, and the environment. Health Canada's PMRA ensures that all pesticides approved for use in Canada meet strict standards for health, safety, and environmental protection.
On August 4, 2021, the Government of Canada announced a $50 million investment to further strengthen human health and environmental protection. To deliver on this commitment, the PMRA established a Transformation Agenda to strengthen its oversight and protection of human health and the environment through a number of measures. This agenda includes modernizing business processes, increasing the availability of independent data and advice to better inform regulatory decisions, improving transparency to increase the public’s understanding of the decision-making process for pesticides, and a targeted review of the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA).
Targeted review of the Pest Control Products Act
The Agency held broad public consultations to inform the targeted review of the PCPA, as laid out in a Discussion Document which contained a list of questions to guide consultation input. The results of this extensive stakeholder consultation were published in a What We Heard Report.
Although this round of formal consultations has closed, feedback is still welcome from all stakeholders and partners about our broader transformation agenda at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Increased use of independent data and advice
The PMRA has begun work on the development of a national framework for water sampling and monitoring, and a pesticide use data program. The goal of these initiatives is to increase the availability of independent real-world data by parties such as universities, other federal, provincial and territorial governments, other regulatory agencies, and Canadians, which will further inform pesticide decisions and increase the transparency of decision-making.
In July 2022, the Science Advisory Committee on Pest Control Products was established to provide independent advice in response to specific or general science questions related to the assessment, management or value of pesticides. It was noted that Health Canada’s PMRA maintains the responsibility and the sole authority to make regulatory decisions on pesticides, taking into consideration the advice provided by the Committee.
PMRA recognizes that the transparency of our work plays a critical role in strengthening trust in our regulatory decisions. To help people understand what our role is and how we regulate pesticides in Canada, measures are taken to:
- ensure products that communicate our science are written in clear, concise and plain language, while maintaining scientific integrity and accuracy;
- ensure our science is communicated in a way that is accessible to all who need it, and that information is easy to navigate through an improved user experience;
- address information gaps on how we conduct our review process;
- improve our ability to identify and process confidential and personal information through new processes, guidance and technology;
- explore options across policy, regulatory and/or legislative levers to respond to stakeholder feedback on the need to improve access to the data that form the basis of decisions;
- take steps to make it easier for stakeholders to find and request the information they are searching for; and
- better explain the basis of decisions including the science process followed, conclusions on the data reviewed, the evaluation of health and environmental risks and the reasons for the decision.
Stakeholders were presented with several examples of improvements being made to key webpages to increase transparency for the public, such as the Public Registry, proposed decisions and updates, plain language consultation summaries, and consultations and public engagement opportunities.
Question and Answer sessions were held on the updates presented. Stakeholders had questions on the following topics:
- The criteria used to determine where transformation is necessary
- PMRA’s ability to manage existing and future workload while designing and putting into place transformation initiatives
- What impact, if any, the Government’s Bill S-6, an Act Respecting Regulatory Modernization, has on the targeted review of the PCPA
- How biodiversity might be included as a new category in the PCPA
- What water bodies are included in the water monitoring program
- How the collection of additional data, with respect to water monitoring and pesticide use will be used and reviewed, and whether it will be made available to researchers and academics
- The establishment of the new Science Advisory Committee
- The current tools in place to publicize consultations
The session closed with PMRA’s commitment to continued collaboration and engagement with stakeholders and partners as we progress and deliver on key priorities.
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