Ministry of Agriculture
Pesticide Laws and Regulations
How Pesticides are Regulated in Canada
- Fertilizers Act
- Fisheries Act
- Food & Drugs Act
- Migratory Birds Convention Act
- Pest Control Products Act
- Pesticide Residue Compensation Act
- Species at Risk Act
- Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act
The Fertilizers Act is the federal law that regulates all fertilizers used in Canada, including fertilizers containing pesticides. Before a fertilizer/pesticide combination can be sold or used in Canada, it must be registered under the Fertilizers Act.
The purpose of the Fisheries Act is to conserve and protect Canadas fisheries resources, including fish habitat. It applies to all Canadian fisheries waters, including ditches, channelized streams, creeks, rivers, marshes, lakes, estuaries, coastal waters and marine offshore areas. It also applies to seasonally wetted fish habitat such as shorelines, stream banks, floodplains and intermittent tributaries and privately owned land. It is an offence to damage fish habitat or put harmful substances such as pesticides into water frequented by fish. This includes pesticide drift. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada administer this legislation.
The Food and Drugs Act protects the health of consumers by preventing the sale of food that contains any harmful or poisonous substances. Under the authority of this legislation the government determines the maximum amount of pesticide residue that may safely be contained in our foods. This amount is called the maximum residue limit (MRL). The MRL is measured in parts per million and is based on the toxicity of the pesticide, its application rate and timing, exposure from other sources, and the crop to which it is being applied. MRL's are established as regulations under the Food and Drugs Act. Health Canada administers the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations.
Pesticide label restrictions on the time between applying a pesticide and harvesting a crop or allowing livestock to graze a treated area are designed so that the level of pesticide will be below the MRL at time of harvest and or grazing. The producer (the farmer), the spray operator, and the food processor are responsible for making sure all the restrictions are followed. Crops or produce may be seized and the producer may face a fine or jail sentence if a crop has pesticide residues greater than the MRL.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency delivers all federal inspection services
related to food, animal health, and plant protection. This includes checking
agricultural products to make sure they do not contain pesticide residues above
The Migratory Birds Convention Act prohibits the deposit of any substance harmful to migratory birds to any area frequented by migratory birds. This includes pesticides deposited on water and land. The Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada administers this legislation.
Before a pesticide can be sold or used in Canada, it must be registered under the Pest Control Products Act (PCP Act) and Regulations. This legislation is designed to ensure the acceptability of the risks, merit, and value of pest control products used in Canada. It focuses on the protection of human health and the environment as well as product performance. Therefore, before a pesticide is registered, the manufacturer must submit data to prove that the product is safe and effective when used as directed on the label. The manufacturer may be required to submit scientific data on chemistry, toxicology, metabolism, residues, environmental impact and effectiveness of the product. The PMRA analyses and assesses the data submitted. They must be sure that the product does not pose an unacceptable risk to plants, animals or the public health. If the pesticide is registered in Canada, it receives a Pest Control Products number or PCP#. Pesticides used in Canada must have a PCP#. Gain a more in depth understanding of pesticide registration by visiting the Pest Management Regulatory Agency Web site.
This legislation defines a pest as any injurious, noxious or troublesome insect, fungus, bacterial organism, virus, weed, rodent or other plant or animal pest and includes any injurious, noxious or troublesome organic function of a plant or animal.
This legislation defines a pesticide as any product, device, organism, substance or thing that is manufactured, represented, sold or used as a means for directly or indirectly controlling, preventing, destroying, mitigating, attracting or repelling any pest and includes compounds that enhance or modify or intend to enhance or modify the physical or chemical characteristics of a control product it is added to. In other words, compounds used to manage pests must be registered with the PMRA. This includes organic pesticides, growth regulators, repellents, and some pheromones.
Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA)
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada is responsible for administering the PCP Act and Regulations.
- The PMRA toll free phone number is 1-800-267-6315
- PMRA Web site: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pest/index-eng.php
- The PMRA has two offices in BC; Burnaby at 604-666-0741 and Kelowna at 250-470-4890.
The Pesticide Residue Compensation Act provides for compensation to producers when losses are incurred from pesticide residues in excess of the MRL when a pesticide is used according to the label.
The purpose of the Species at Risk Act is to prevent Canadian native species of wildlife from becoming extinct, to help endangered or threatened species to recover, and to prevent other species from becoming at risk. It applies to federal lands, all watercourses, oceans, and air. It does not apply to private or provincial Crown lands.
The Transport of Dangerous Goods Act regulates the handling and transport of hazardous products including some pesticides. Special training, shipping papers, vehicle placards, and safety procedures are required to transport certain substances. Farmers transporting less than 1,500 kg of pesticides in a licensed farm vehicle less than 100 km are exempt from special requirements. Farmers moving a sprayer containing less than 6,000 litres of spray mixture for less than 100 km on a public road are exempt from the restrictions.Return to Laws & Regulations