Amendments to the current act would align with federal standards to reduce complexity and redundancy
By Jackie Clark
Ontario producers may soon have more streamlined access to new pesticides.
The Ontario government has proposed amendments to the current provincial Pesticides Act.
“Regulatory changes are critical in two areas, reducing the number of classification categories from 12 down to five, aligning with the federal system. The other component is that it removes a lot of the onerous requirements that were in place around treated seed regulations,” Pierre Petelle, president and CEO of Crop Life Canada, told Farms.com.
If the act is passed, the government will also disband the Ontario Pesticide Advisory Committee (OPAC) which previously advised on the provincial classification system.
The OPAC was “an appointed body that was unique in Canada – an extra step that Ontario had where, even once Pest Management Regulatory Agency approved a pesticide, it had to go through this OPAC process that sometimes caused delays and additional requirements,” Petelle explained. If the provincial classification was poorly timed or prolonged, “you could miss the application window because (the pesticide) wouldn’t be available for sale and use in Ontario.
“It was an extra red tape step that you didn’t see in other provinces and had no real benefit.”
The alignment of classification systems will allow for pesticides to be brought to market immediately after federal registration.
“Any sort of alignment that we see from federal and provincial (governments) is a good step in the right direction,” Petelle said. “It’ll be much smoother when a federal consultation is done and a product is approved and registered. There won’t be any question as to which category it falls in in Ontario. The understanding and expectations will be clear from the beginning.”
Under new regulations, farmers would also be able to access neonicotinoid-treated seed with a one-time risk assessment and one-time course, Petelle explained. This new process will “really reduce the burden on farmers on having to justify what they need.”
Ontario will retain the ban on cosmetic pesticides with current exceptions and prescribe a single list of allowable pesticides.
The proposal is part of the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act. The public can submit comments online until 11:59 PM on Nov 27.
CNH Industrial photo