OFA provided feedback on proposed amendments to the Pest Control Products Regulations (PCPR), announced this spring as part of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA) Transformation Agenda.
Health Canada is proposing to amend the PCPR to enable inspection of confidential test data (CTD) for research and re-analysis purposes. However, OFA understands that access to CTD is currently available for inspection under a strictly defined process set out in section 43 of the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA), and that the PCPA already provides the public with the opportunity to inspect CTD that supports pesticide registration decisions. OFA is concerned that selective use, out of context or misinterpreted CTD could lead to misinformation about the safety and regulation of pesticides in Canada. OFA is also concerned that requests for inspection of CTD could overwhelm PMRA and consume scarce resources that should be focused on the core work of conducting pre- and post-market evaluations.
Health Canada is proposing to increase transparency for Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) applications for imported food products by requiring the PMRA to issue a public notification for section 10 MRL applications once an application has been accepted for review. OFA generally supports efforts to improve communication and transparency relating to new MRL applications for imported food, however we do not see a need for regulatory amendments to achieve this objective. OFA understands that the current process for establishing MRLs is effective and that the Minister of Health already has the legislative tools to notify the public when an import MRL application is received. OFA recommends that the primary focus of the PMRA’s transparency objective should be continuing to improve risk communication.
PMRA is proposing to amend the PCPR to require the Minister of Health to consider the cumulative effects on the environment of pesticides that have a common mechanism of toxicity.OFA supports assessment of the cumulative environmental effects of pesticides so long as that assessment is science-based, supported by evidence and does not add time to the lengthy approval process. OFA recommends that any regulatory amendment requiring Ministers to consider cumulative risk assessment must be preceded by the PMRA’s development of science policies and guidance documents.
PMRA is proposing to amend the PCPR to strengthen the consideration of species at risk in its assessments by adding an explicit authority for the Minister of Health to require registrants and applicants to submit available information. OFA supports efforts to protect species at risk. The Minister of Health already has the authority to require information on species at risk as part of the existing regulatory framework, and PMRA’s environmental risk assessment includes considerations for species at risk. As a result, the OFA recommends that PMRA focus its resources on improving collaboration with other regulatory partners, including Environment and Climate Change Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, as well as supporting efforts to collect real-world data on the potential impacts of pesticides on species at risk.
Previous related OFA submissions:
November 28, 2019 – OFA submission regarding amendments to the Pesticides Act (ERO # 019-0481)