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Canada pauses MRL increases and reconsiders pesticide review process

August 5, 2021  By Health Canada

On Aug. 4, Patty Hajdu, minister of health, Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food and Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of environment and climate change, announced that the Government of Canada is putting a pause on proposed increases to Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs), including for glyphosate. As a result, there will be no increases to MRLs until at least spring 2022.

The ministers also announced the government will begin consulting on specific provisions of the Pest Control Products Act (2002) to consider, among other elements, ways to balance how pesticide review processes are initiated in Canada and increase transparency.

In addition, the ministers announced a $50 million investment in Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC’s) pest management research, to be supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

The PMRA will receive an investment of $42 million over three years to further strengthen its human and environmental health and safety oversight and protection, including improving the availability of independent data to further support pesticide review decisions, and the transparency of decision-making. A further $7 million will be invested in AAFC, and $1 million to ECCC in supporting work, to accelerate the research, development and adoption of alternative pest management solutions.

When conducting pesticides approvals, Health Canada considers: data and information provided by manufacturers; published scientific reports; federal, provincial, and territorial governments; other regulatory agencies; and Canadians.  This new funding will increase the availability of independent data in this process by parties such as universities, NGOs and governments. This funding will allow Health Canada to increase independent data generation, including new water and agricultural monitoring data. It will also allow the creation of a new expert panel process to provide advice, as appropriate, prior to evidence-based decisions of the PMRA on pesticides, including on MRLs.

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