Forthcoming review of Canada’s pesticide law must centre on better protecting health and the environment
OTTAWA | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHINABEG PEOPLE — Health Canada’s decision to pause its controversial proposal to increase allowable residues of the pesticide glyphosate on many foodstuffs is a step in the right direction after a series of flawed decisions shook public confidence in federal pesticide regulation, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.
“Alarm bells have been ringing since the regulatory agency backtracked on its proposal to ban bee-killing neonics and then proposed to allow higher residues of pesticides like glyphosate on our food,” David Suzuki Foundation national policy manager Lisa Gue said. “This announcement is an encouraging sign that concerns about pesticide regulation in Canada are at last being heard.”
Health Canada is initiating a targeted review of specific provisions of the Pest Control Products Act. The David Suzuki Foundation encourages the government to focus the review on strengthening environmental and health protections.
“Canada needs to come to terms with pesticides as a major threat to biodiversity and align pesticide regulation with nature recovery goals,” Gue said. “This means finding ways to reduce pesticide dependence instead of enabling their widespread use.”
The government also announced it will invest $50 million over three years in pesticide regulation and alternatives research. This includes funding to strengthen the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s oversight and support independent data collection, including new water and agricultural monitoring data. The PMRA frequently lacks robust data on environmental concentrations and use of the pesticides it’s responsible for assessing and regulating.
“Funding announced today could be a real game-changer,” Gue said. “Canada desperately needs a comprehensive, national water monitoring program for pesticides to support environmental and human exposure assessments, and a system for tracking pesticide use. This needs to be a priority”
Last year, the European Union set a target of reducing pesticide use by 50 per cent by 2030 as part of its . It also banned the three main neonicotinoid pesticides in 2019. Neonics have been linked to declining populations of pollinators and other insects essential to ecosystem functioning, yet the PMRA recently approved their continued use in Canada. The David Suzuki Foundation calls on Canada to reverse the recent decision and ban neonics in Canada.
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Stefanie Carmichael, David Suzuki Foundation: email@example.com, 437-221-4692
The David Suzuki Foundation (davidsuzuki.org) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, collaborating with all people in Canada, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through evidence-based research, public engagement and policy work. The Foundation operates in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.