Federal ministers of health, agriculture and agri-food, environment and climate change have announced 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 respective ministers, Patty Hajdu, Marie-Claude Bibeau and Jonathan Wilkinson, also said that consultations will begin on specific provisions of the Pest Control Products Act to consider ways to balance how pesticide review processes are initiated in Canada and how to increase transparency.
In addition, the ministers announced $50 million in investment in Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's pest management research, to be supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada. $42 million will be invested over three years in the Heath Canada's PMRA 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 to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and $1 million to Environment and Climate Change Canada in supporting work, to accelerate the research, development and adoption of alternative pest management solutions.
When conducting pesticide 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.
In background notes, the news release included:
• Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) are science based and are established to ensure the food Canadians eat is safe. In May 2019, the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) Meeting on Pesticides Residues (JMPR) recommended use of new glyphosate MRLs for consideration by the World Health Organization's Codex Alimentarius Commission. Bayer CropScience submitted an application requesting to align certain MRLs with those being proposed. In response to the application, Health Canada launched a public consultation on MRLs relating to the import of dry beans, dry peas and tree nuts in May 2021 on the proposed change.
• There is no change to the Canadian use pattern of glyphosate. Neither how much nor how frequently glyphosate can be used changes as a result of the proposed MRL changes.
Source: Health Canada August 4, 2021 news release