Health Canada PMRA Re-Evaluates Itself

By WCTA Staff

Pesticides are regulated under the Pest Control Products Act, which is administered by Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).  As part of the PMRA’s ongoing efforts to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of its programs, in 2016 it introduced a number of improvements to post-market processes* to streamline its work and eliminate duplication. 

*post-market processes refers to PMRA’s mandate that all pesticides registered in Canada are re-evaluated every 15 years.

Expecting a significant increase in workload in the coming years, PMRA determined that a fulsome evaluation was required to seek broader efficiencies and improve its overall sustainability, including soliciting stakeholder input.  As such, the PMRA set out to meet with stakeholders across the country to seek feedback on the current and future state of the re-evaluation program.

These consultations were designed to elicit comments and feedback on the current post-market pesticide re-evaluation program, including what is working well and areas for improvement. Feedback was received under the following four key themes:

Theme 1: Stakeholder Engagement and Transparency in Re-evaluations - including the timing and frequency of stakeholder engagement points throughout the pesticide re-evaluation process, the predictability of requirements, and transparency.

Theme 2: Initiation and Prioritization of Re-evaluations - particularly the timing and triggers to initiate a pesticide re-evaluation, including discussions on the 15 year cycle, risk-based approaches and prioritization of pesticides to be reviewed.

Theme 3: Scientific Assessment and Risk Management in Re-evaluations - increasing the predictability of data requirements and how data is being used to refine the risk assessment, as well as tools and opportunities to share available data and studies, and encouraging better understanding of the differences in use-patterns across the country.

Theme 4: Alternative Models for Re-evaluation - including increased stakeholder engagement, flexible risk-based approaches, enhanced post-market monitoring and surveillance of pesticides, socio-economic impacts of decisions in the risk management process, improved accountability of the registrant and better international alignment.

On June 4, a final ‘What Was Heard Report’ was release by the PMRA.  According to the organization, “This report aims to reflect the summary of the ideas, comments and feedback that were raised during the stakeholder consultations. It does not attempt to include every comment received, nor does it imply consensus on the part of all participants. It presents a summary of what was heard from input that was wide-ranging, broad-based and not always consistent.”