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GOC to strengthen pesticide review process

June 22, 2023  By Government of Canada


On June 20, Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of health, along with Steven Guilbeault, minister of environment and climate change, and Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, announced next steps toward a sustainable approach to pesticides management while giving farmers the tools they need to keep providing reliable access to safe and nutritious food.

“Pesticides are part of the toolbox agricultural producers use to protect their crops from pests and contribute to their productivity,” said Bibeau in a press release. “The measures announced by our government help to ensure responsible access, framed by reliable data, to these essential inputs, while protecting health and the environment.”

In addition, Health Canada has published a Notice of Intent, which began consultations on proposed amendments to the Pest Control Products Regulations. These proposed amendments are a result of the 2022 consultations on targeted review of the Pest Control Products Act.

Following consultation with stakeholders to better understand Canadians’ expectations about the pesticide regulatory review process and its transparency, Health Canada has restarted the science-based process of evaluating acceptable increases to pesticide residue limits, in line with international guidelines. The health and safety of Canadians will remain at the forefront of the process.

Additionally, the Government of Canada is eliminating the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes on federal lands through amendments to the Greening Government Strategy (GGS), led by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. The GGS specifies how the Government of Canada will transition to net-zero carbon and climate-resilient operations by 2050, while also reducing environmental impacts beyond carbon, including on waste, water and biodiversity.

Environment and Climate Change Canada will generate real-world data to help make progress on this sustainable approach to pesticides management in Canada and to better understand the impacts of pesticides on the environment.

These next steps from the Government of Canada are aligned with Canada’s commitment to implementing the 2022 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), which aims to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. The framework includes a focus on reducing the overall risk from pesticides by at least half by 2030. There are many ways to reduce risk that are not correlated to reduction in pesticide use – for example, the timing of application, the effectiveness of a given product, science, and other pest management approaches. As such, the GBF target focuses on overall impacts and risk management of pesticides and does not command a specific target reduction in pesticide use.

Health Canada has been and will continue to increase the transparency and accessibility of decisions, including posting plain language summaries of key decisions online and disclosing applicants’ names as applications enter the review stage for both pre- and post-market. Health Canada has also launched the external Scientific Advisory Committee for pest control products and consulted key stakeholders on a transition to a continuous oversight approach and systematic review of emerging science.

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