PMRA Guidance Document, Registration of Non-Conventional Pest Control Products

Health Canada - Pest Management Regulatory Agency
24 March 2023


This guidance document outlines the regulatory approach for non-conventional pest control products (as defined below). Due to the varied nature of non-conventional pest control products, it can be challenging to define a specific mode of action, identify the active components of a mixture, or delineate a particular level of efficacy that allows innovation and flexibility in assessing that risks to human health and the environment and the value of a product are acceptable.

A wide range of non-conventional pest control products are reviewed under this guidance document. Certain biopesticide products (microbials, semiochemicals and pheromones) have unique information requirements which are outlined in separate publications available under Policies and Guidelines on the Pesticides section of This guidance document does not replace these documents, and these documents should be used in conjunction with these guidelines when considering registration.

Products eligible for consideration under these guidelines should have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • low toxicity to non-target organisms (products with low toxicity to humans and other non-target organisms are expected to have minimal environmental and health risks, even if exposure is extensive);

    Note: Substances with chronic toxicity, genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, neurotoxicity or immunotoxicity, or that may cause reproductive or developmental effects, metabolize into compounds of toxicological concern, or are anticipated to bioaccumulate are not eligible for review under these guidelines.

  • low potential for their use to result in significant human or environmental exposure (when exposure is negligible, risks may be minimal even if the product has some inherent toxicity);
  • not persistent in the environment;
  • already widely available to the public for other use(s) and with a history of safe use under conditions posing the equivalent potential for exposure to humans and the environment;
  • pesticidal action that is not the result of toxicity to the target organism (for example, products that work by attracting, repelling, desiccating or smothering pests); or
  • unlikely to select for pest resistance.

Substances eligible for review under these guidelines could include, but are not limited to:

  • food items, extracts, preservatives, or additives (for example, crushed garlic, garlic powder, table salt, or citric acid);
  • plant extracts and oils (for example, vegetable or mineral oils);
  • commodity chemicals that have a range of non-pesticidal uses (for example, acetic acid); and
  • other natural materials (for example, diatomaceous earth).

Note: The PMRA has published an addendum to address the unique risks posed by essential oil-based personal insect repellents (Regulatory Directive DIR2017-02, Essential Oil-based Personal Insect Repellents (EOPIR)). Refer to that publication for regulatory requirements.

Document history (revision/update)

Updated: Update/Rationale:
March 2023 Revised to replace DIR2012-01 as part of PMRA document renewal program.
Feb 2012 Issuance of original.


This document does not constitute part of the Pest Control Products Act or its regulations and in the event of any inconsistency or conflict between the Act or regulations and this document, the Act or the regulations take precedence. This document is an administrative document that is intended to facilitate compliance by the regulated party with the Act, the regulations and the applicable administrative policies.

Note: This guidance update is not a result of the work performed for the PMRA's current transformation as communicated in April 2022.

This guidance is a reflection of the current process. If changes are required as a result of PMRA Transformation, updates to this document will take place at a later time.

For more information please contact the Pest Management Information Service.

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