Pest Management Regulatory Agency: Strategic Plan 2016-2021

Message from the Executive Director

I am pleased to present the Pest Management Regulatory Agency Strategic Plan for 2016-2021, which will guide our efforts to further improve Canadian confidence in the pesticide regulatory system. In order to achieve this, we need to continue to be a modern and effective science-based regulator, strengthen our engagement with domestic and international partners, and operate in a more open, proactive and accessible way with stakeholders and all Canadians.

This Strategic Plan reflects our core mandate to protect the health of Canadians and the environment. It is based on contributions from a variety of sources, including Agency employees, our stakeholders, recommendations from various audits and evaluations, and views from the Minister of Health's Pest Management Advisory Council. The Plan has also been guided by a number of wider government initiatives, such as Health Canada's Regulatory Openness and Transparency Framework, Blueprint 2020, as well as the government's Action Plan on Open Government and the Results Measurement initiative.

In a rapidly evolving regulatory environment, innovations in areas such as science and social media are transforming the way Canadians use and learn about pesticides; we need to evolve with that environment. This Strategic Plan addresses the challenges of today and prepares our Agency for the challenges to come in the next five years and beyond. By laying a strong foundation now, we can help build a healthier future for all Canadians and further protect our environment.

Richard Aucoin, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Pest Management Regulatory Agency
Health Canada

Contents

Introduction

About the Pest Management Regulatory Agency

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is the branch of Health Canada responsible for regulating pesticides under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act. PMRA's primary mandate is to prevent unacceptable risks to Canadians and the environment from the use of these products.

PMRA applies modern, evidence-based scientific approaches to assess whether the health and environmental risks of pesticides proposed for registration are acceptable, and if the products have value.

This same approach is used to regularly and systematically review whether pesticides already on the Canadian market continue to meet modern scientific standards. PMRA seeks to minimize health and environmental risks by facilitating access to new, lower-risk products in support of sustainable pest management practices.

In collaboration with the Regulatory Operations and Regions Branch, PMRA also promotes, monitors and enforces compliance with the Pest Control Products Act across Canada. PMRA is committed to doing this in a collaborative, open and transparent manner.

This work is carried out by a highly skilled workforce, the majority of whom are scientists, with additional expertise in areas such as administration, information management, regulatory and policy development, stakeholder engagement and international collaboration.

Drivers for Change

PMRA operates within a context of increasing expectations for timeliness and efficiency; rapidly evolving science, technology and business practices; globalization of pesticide supply chains; and changing pest management needs, in part due to climate change and invasive species. This means that PMRA must always strive to identify new and better ways to do its work, be it PMRA's core science-based regulatory decisions, or the supportive policy, engagement and administrative activities PMRA staff undertake every day.

PMRA is regulating in an era of instant access to unprecedented amounts of information, with social media transforming how citizens communicate with their governments and with each other. Now, more than ever, PMRA must position itself as both a reliable source of information, as well as an open and transparent regulator that takes into account the views of stakeholders and the public in its science-based regulatory decision-making.

Why Public Confidence Matters

Canadians expect their government to make timely regulatory decisions using the most modern scientific methods and the best available information, in a way that protects them and the environment today, and for future generations. They also expect to have timely and meaningful input into government decisions, and to be able to access and understand information that will allow them to make informed decisions about pesticides.

Protecting the health and environment of fellow Canadians, and meeting the expectations outlined above, is the reason behind all that PMRA does. However, while PMRA works diligently to make and implement decisions that protect the health and environment of Canadians, efforts to communicate and engage with all Canadians have not kept pace.

A more deliberate, proactive, open and transparent engagement of Canadians will help to increase understanding of, and confidence in, PMRA's work. In turn, this will support compliance with the requirements of the Pest Control Products Act, and the broader effectiveness of PMRA's efforts to protect the health and environment of Canadians.

The Approach

The 2016-2021 PMRA Strategic Plan has a new guiding Vision, with public confidence at the forefront. PMRA's new Mission statement captures the work conducted every day by PMRA employees to achieve this Vision.

To achieve this Vision and implement the Mission over the next five years, PMRA has identified in the following pages three Strategic Outcomes, each supported by concrete activities. Four key principles and six strategic enablers will facilitate progress towards the objectives of this Plan. And finally, PMRA's approach to measuring progress towards the strategic outcomes over the next five years is outlined.

PMRA's 2016-2021 Strategic Plan

Vision

Canadians are confident that Canada's pesticide regulatory system protects their health and the environment.

Mission

To protect the health and environment of Canadians by using modern evidence-based scientific approaches to pesticide regulation, in an open and transparent manner.

Key Principles

The following four key principles guide PMRA in achieving its Vision and Mission:

Scientific Excellence

Making decisions that are based on modern science and the most current information available

Innovation

Continually seeking to develop, adopt and share new scientific, technological and business practices and tools

Openness and Transparency

Being open with Canadians about activities, approaches, and how decisions are made; and providing Canadians access to information in a format that is easy to understand

Organizational and Workforce Excellence

Cultivating a highly qualified workforce that is committed to the organization's strategic objectives

Strategies

Strategic Outcome I:

PMRA makes evidence-based regulatory decisions and policies that are protective of human health and the environment, in a timely, open and transparent manner.

In order for Canadians to have confidence in its decisions, PMRA must continue to be an effective regulator. This means conducting its primary mandate to protect the health of Canadians and the environment, while also ensuring that all pesticides registered in Canada have value.

This requires using the most modern science to evaluate and re-evaluate the potential risks and value of each pesticide, and implementing policies and approaches that evolve in tandem with new science and support the goals of health and environmental protection and sustainable pest management.

PMRA must be accountable to Canadians in its decision-making by establishing clear timelines and by respecting them. It must also support the Government's Action Plan on Open Government implementing new approaches to consulting with stakeholders and the public on its proposed decisions, communicating these decisions (including risk mitigation measures) more effectively, and providing more information about the bases for these decisions.

Over the next five years PMRA will:

  • Continue to develop, consult on, and implement science policies and methods that support the goals of health and environmental protection and sustainable pest management
  • Achieve a high level of performance for both pre- and post-market reviews of pesticides
  • Improve the openness and transparency of regulatory decisions and communication of risk mitigation measures

Strategic Outcome II:

Canada's scientific expertise and approaches are respected, and influence the way pesticides are regulated domestically and internationally.

As a regulator that prioritizes health and environmental protection using the most modern science, PMRA has been able to forge key partnerships with international counterparts as well as domestic partners. Canada must sustain an internationally respected pesticide regulatory program by playing a significant role in developing new science and collaborative approaches to joint pesticide reviews, promoting international regulatory alignment, and contributing to international guideline development. Domestically, pesticide issues require strong partnerships between federal, provincial, territorial and municipal jurisdictions to protect Canadians and the environment.

PMRA must continue to build on existing partnerships, and to forge new ones, to reinforce human health and environmental protection through better communication, a broader pool of expertise and information, and better alignment of risk management approaches.

Over the next five years PMRA will:

  • Enhance Canada's leadership of innovative international science, policies and regulatory approaches
  • Contribute Canadian expertise towards the development of international food safety standards
  • Champion work- and information-sharing with pesticide regulators domestically and internationally

Strategic Outcome III:

Canadians recognize that PMRA makes pesticide regulatory decisions that protect their health and the environment.

While it is critical for PMRA to continue to be an effective and respected regulator, improving the confidence of Canadians in the pesticide regulatory system requires an improved approach to communicating to all Canadians the mission and activities of PMRA, and how this work is carried out. Customizing the way PMRA reaches out to different groups of Canadians, such as the public, scientists, the regulated community and health and environmental groups, will improve awareness and mutual engagement.

Over the next five years PMRA will:

  • Create and disseminate targeted materials for the general public, users and industry, on how pesticides are regulated
  • Promote the science conducted at PMRA to other scientists and Canadians in general
  • Communicate how PMRA decisions reduce risks for Canadians and the environment

Strategic Enablers

The following six strategic enablers will be leveraged in support of PMRA's Vision and Mission over the next five years:

  1. A safe and productive workplace that implements a talent management strategy and a scientist development program to enhance the experience and knowledge of PMRA's work force
  2. A modern electronic infrastructure that supports both transparency and timeliness of the regulatory system
  3. A modern pesticide legislative and regulatory framework that aligns with other regulatory regimes domestically and internationally, where appropriate
  4. A communications and outreach strategy, to improve the way PMRA communicates and engages with stakeholders and all Canadians
  5. An up-to-date cost recovery regime to support long-term planning
  6. Effective partnerships with provinces, territories, and other stakeholders both domestically and internationally

Implementation, Monitoring and Reporting

The Vision, Mission and Strategic Objectives in this Strategic Plan set a framework for the identification of priorities, and development of new approaches and activities.

Since public confidence lies at the forefront of this approach, a separate Communications and Outreach Strategy was developed concurrently, focusing on augmenting and modernizing the way PMRA informs and consults with Canadians and targeted stakeholder groups.

PMRA's Agency Management Committee, as the primary policy-setting and decision-making body, will oversee the implementation of this Strategic Plan. Various other sub-committees will support this effort within their mandate.

To ensure PMRA remains focused on its strategic priorities, PMRA's annual operational plan will align priorities, investments, efforts and resources to the expected results of the Strategic Plan. Performance will be measured and monitored against indicators identified in the Pesticide Program Logic Model and Results Measurement Framework on a quarterly basis. Where necessary, adjustments will be made to achieve planned results.

PMRA will report annually on its progress in meeting the commitments in this Strategic Plan through its Annual Report to Parliament and through its contribution to the Departmental Performance Report. Reporting on specific commitments will also occur through updates on PMRA's website and targeted communications to affected stakeholder groups.

Highlights

Figure 1: Pest Management Regulatory Agency's 2016-2021 Strategic Plan

Figure 1

Description - Figure 1: Pest Management Regulatory Agency's 2016-2021 Strategic Plan

Schematic representing the Pest Management Regulatory Agency's 2016-2021 strategic plan, which is composed of a vision, mission and four key principles. The Vision is that Canadians are confident that Canada's pesticide regulatory system protects their health and environment. The Mission is to protect the health and environment of Canadians by using modern evidence-based scientific approaches to pesticide regulation, in an open and transparent manner. The following four key principles guide the Pest Management Regulatory Agency in achieving its vision and mission. 1) Scientific Excellence: Making decisions that are based on modern science and the most current information available. 2) Innovation: Continually seeking to develop, adopt and share new scientific, technological and business practices and tools. 3) Openness and transparency: being open with Canadians about activities, approaches, and how decisions are made; and providing Canadians access to information in a format that is easy to understand. 4) Organizational and workforce excellence: cultivating a highly qualified workforce that is committed to the organization's strategic objectives.

Figure 2: Strategic Enablers

Figure 2

Description - Figure 2: Strategic Enablers

Schematic showing the six strategic enablers which will be leveraged in support of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency's vision and mission over the next five years: 1) A safe and productive workplace that implements a talent management strategy and a scientist development program to enhance the experience and knowledge of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency's workforce. 2) A modern electronic infrastructure that supports both transparency and timeliness of the regulatory system. 3) A modern pesticide legislative and regulatory framework that aligns with other regulatory regimes domestically and internationally, where appropriate. 4) A communications and outreach strategy to improve the way the Pest Management Regulatory Agency communicates and engages with stakeholders and all Canadians. 5) An up-to-date cost recovery regime to support long-term planning. 6) Effective partnerships with provinces, territories, and other stakeholders both domestically and internationally.

Figure 3: Strategies and Strategic Outcomes

Figure 3

Description - Figure 3: Strategies and Strategic Outcomes

Schematic showing the Pest Management Regulatory Agency's strategies and strategic outcomes over the next five years. The first strategic outcome is that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency makes evidence-based regulatory decisions and policies that are protective of human health and the environment, in a timely, open and transparent manner. The strategies identified to support this strategic outcome are: 1) Continue to develop, consult on, and implement science policies and methods that support the goals of health and environmental protection and sustainable pest management. 2) Achieve a high level of performance for both pre- and post-market reviews of pesticides. 3) Improve the openness and transparency of regulatory decisions and communication of risk mitigation measures.

The second strategic outcome is that Canada's scientific expertise and approaches are respected, and influence the way pesticides are regulated domestically and internationally. The strategies identified to support this strategic outcome are: 1) Enhance Canada's leadership of innovative international science, policies and regulatory approaches. 2) Contribute Canadian expertise towards the development of international food safety standards. 3) Champion work- and information-sharing with pesticide regulators domestically and internationally.

The third strategic outcome is that Canadians recognize that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency makes pesticide regulatory decisions that protect their health and the environment. The strategies identified to support this strategic outcome are: 1) Create and disseminate targeted materials for the general public, users and industry, on how pesticides are regulated. 2) Promote the science conducted at the Pest Management Regulatory Agency to other scientists and Canadians in general. 3) Communicate how the Pest Management Regulatory Agency decisions reduce risks for Canadians and the environment.

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