Daily News Archive
From April 4, 2002

Stricter Pesticide Rules Proposed in Canada, Farmers Are Accepting

Canada's health minister Anne McLellan presented the Pest Control Products Act to Parliament on March 21, according to the Western Producer. The act is major revision of pesticide regulations that environmentalists, consumers and farmers welcomed. Chemical manufacturers, however, did voice opposition.

The legislation proposes stricter regulation of pesticides. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency would have to review a chemical within the first fifteen years it is registered. In addition, an effort will be made to take highly toxic pesticides off the shelves and replace them with less toxic alternatives. Effects of pesticides on susceptible populations, such as children and pregnant women, will be studied in more detail. The public would have better access to this and other information regarding pesticide product ingredients and testing.

The agricultural minister Lyle Vanclief said the Pest Control Products Act not only aids consumers, but is good for farmers too. Bob Friesen, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, commented, "Fundamentally, we're in favor of any legislation that will continue to look after the health of the public." Farmers and farm groups did express the importance of the less toxic pesticides the act mentions, in the case that chemicals they use are taken off the market.

Pesticide manufacturers are not as accepting. Croplife Canada addressed the expanded review process as an opportunity for "mischief making by people who are hostile to pesticides." However, most see the legislation as a sensible balance. Access to knowledge of pesticides would increase across the board, and alternatives would be emphasized.

The bill will have to go through the House of Commons and the Senate. McLellan hopes it will pass through by late June.