Health Canada recently announced that as of June 1, 2016, it intends to end the federal practice of granting conditional registrations of for pesticides.
Under the Pest Control Products Act, SC 2002 c28, (“PCPA”), Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (“PMRA”) is tasked with evaluating prospective pest control products for entry into, and ongoing use on, the Canadian market. Such products must be registered by the PMRA before they can in any way be used, imported, or manufactured in Canada. Before a product can be registered, it must be evaluated by the PMRA for its health and environmental risks. The PMRA is required to consult with the public upon making a decision to grant a registration application of a product.
Conditional registrations are governed under sections 14 -16 of the Pest Control Product Regulations, SOR/2006-124, to the PCPA. They are granted when the PMRA determines that its review of available scientific data and information is sufficient to determine that the risks of a pesticide are acceptable, but it requires additional information before granting a full registration.
According to the PMRA, conditional registrations comprise only about one percent of all registered pesticides in Canada. However, the PCPA’s transparency and public consultations provisions do not apply to conditional registrations–those provisions only kick in when the registration is renewed, amended, or converted to a full registration
Conditional registrations have drawn criticism from environmental groups, particularly for the duration of “conditional” registrations. Some conditional registrations have lasted for over a decade–meaning that these products are in use without having been subject to public consultation. Last Spring, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health published a report on its statutory review of the PCPA, which included a recommendation that the PMRA undertake a review of the transparency and openness of its pesticide registration processes. The Standing Committee also recommended that the use of conditional registrations be reviewed.
Health Canada’s has posted a Notice of Intent Regarding Conditional Registrations on its website. It is inviting public comments until March 19, 2016.