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The federal and provincial governments regulate the availability and use of pesticides. Over the years, laws at both levels have been developed to protect human health and the environment, as well as to ensure pesticides do their job properly.
This fact sheet explains which level of government oversees the different aspects of pesticides management.
For the purpose of this fact sheet, pesticides have been divided into two
categories: domestic and non-domestic. Domestic pesticides, which are intended
for use by homeowners, are always clearly labeled "DOMESTIC". Non-domestic
pesticides may be labeled "COMMERCIAL", "AGRICULTURAL", "INDUSTRIAL",
"RESTRICTED" OR "MANUFACTURING".
All pesticides used, sold or imported into Canada are regulated by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada through the Pest Control Products Act.
Examples of pesticides that fall under the Act include:herbicides (for the control of weeds or woody vegetation)
insecticides (for the control of insects)
fungicides (for the control of fungi or moulds)
Other pesticides that fall under the Pest Control Products Act are:swimming pool algicides
animal and insect repellents
disinfectant and sanitizing cleaners
electronic insect or rodent devices
A pesticide manufacturer who wishes to sell a pesticide in Canada must first register that product under the Pest Control Products Act and follow the registration process managed by the PMRA. The pesticide is put through a series of detailed scientific tests and studies, which provides answers to the following questions:
Where, how and by whom will the pesticide be used?
The Agency then compares the risks and values of the pesticide to its proposed use through objective scientific assessments. The risk assessment considers the product's inherent toxicity (i.e., poisonous level), persistence and bio-accumulative nature (i.e., will its properties break down in the environment). It also examines the degree to which humans, the target environment and non-target area may be exposed, as well as any health hazards of the product.
The value assessment considers whether the use of the product contributes to pest management. As well, it examines whether the pesticide's application rates are at the lowest possible level to effectively control the target pest.
It is only after carefully reviewing this information that the PMRA will decide if the product is acceptable for use in Canada. If there are any problems with the pesticide, registration will not be granted.
Registration will be granted if the pesticide's safety and value for its proposed use are found to be acceptable. With registration, the manufacturer must ensure that specific guidelines and information appear on the product's label.
All registered products are subject to re-evaluation, which can lead to the suspension or cancellation of a pesticide. With constant monitoring, advances in analytical methods and improved evaluation processes, the Agency can be more confident that the pesticides used today are safe.
If any conditions of the product's registration are not met, the manufacturer can be found to be in violation of the Pest Control Products Act. This may lead to suspension, cancellation, use restrictions or the phasing out of the pest control product.
Every pesticide registered for use in Canada comes with detailed directions
that appear on the label or in attached leaflets. These directions must be
strictly followed. While federal regulators make sure these products are
acceptable for use, pesticides, like commonly used household cleaners or
medicines, can have potentially harmful effects if they are not used properly.
All pesticides used in Canadian provinces are registered by the federal government, and only these pesticides may be used in the province.
Pesticide use is further controlled (regulated) under the authority of
provincial Pesticide Control Acts and Regulations, which is administered
by the Environment Department. As is the case with the Pest Control Products
Act, the aim of the provincial legislation is to ensure that pesticides are
used, stored and disposed of so that there is minimum impact on non-target
species, human health or the environment.
Anyone selling or distributing non-domestic pesticides must be licensed, and must renew this license every year. The Act clearly spells out the requirements for pesticide storage areas and employee training in order to ensure a high level of safety for employees and clients.
Under the Pesticide Control Acts, any business offering pesticide application services must be licensed. Requirements for licensing include meeting proper storage and insurance standards.
Any individual wishing to apply a pesticide must obtain a Pesticide Applicator's Certificate and renew it yearly. (The only exception is homeowners using domestic pesticides on their own property.) This Certificate is proof that the individual has received the necessary education and training to carry out pesticide applications in a safe and responsible manner. There are certification training programs for all types of pesticide application programs (i.e. training is available for professional lawn care, structural pest control and agricultural use).
If you have any questions about the federal
Pest Control Products Act, you can reach the Pest Management Regulatory
Agency at 1-800-267-6315.
Please report any errors or omissions to
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