Through the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), Health Canada works closely with growers of food and non-food crops as well as other commercial users of pesticides, to help meet their needs and priorities for pest management. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency has a number of programs for this purpose, including the Grower Requested Own Use Program, projects under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Technical Working Group on Pesticides, Sustainable Pest Management Program and the Minor Use Program.
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The Grower Requested Own Use (GROU) program provides a price discipline mechanism for Agricultural pesticides by allowing growers to import the US version of a Canadian registered product, once approved for the Program by Health Canada. The GROU Program was created for the benefit of Canadian farmers and demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to the competitiveness of Canadian growers.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement Technical Working Group on Pesticides, PMRA is working with their counterparts in the United States and Mexico to create a more consistent basis for pesticide registration between the three NAFTA countries. An example of one program that supports this initiative is the NAFTA Label Project. NAFTA labels on agricultural pesticides allow the cross-border movement of approved products between Canada and the United States, to the benefit of growers without compromising the integrity of the Canadian regulatory system. Regulatory co-operation, as well as collaboration among grower groups, pesticide manufacturers and governments, have made NAFTA labels possible. Many stakeholders view this initiative as a major accomplishment and the preferred path forward in terms of accessibility and price discipline.
Sustainable pest management is a key goal of the PMRA. Beyond its mandate to prevent unacceptable risks to people and the environment from the use of pesticide products, the PMRA supports various stakeholders in the development of sustainable pest management strategies, including the development and promotion of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). These strategies allow each use to be more involved in their pest management future by having increased access to the best reduced risk and practices available.
There are many pesticide uses on minor crops that are not currently available to specific Canadian users or to the Canadian industry overall. These can include crops with small acreage or crops in which a pest is only present in a restricted geographical area. As a consequence, the Canadian growers of these crops may only have access to a very limited number of registered pesticide products. Many of these pesticide uses, known as "minor uses," are seen as essential to cost-effective pest control, thereby maintaining the competitiveness and sustainability of the sectors both nationally and internationally. PMRA helps meet grower needs for these minor uses through the User Requested Minor Use Label Expansion Program and the User Requested Minor Use Registration Program.
In many cases, before a new pest control product or a new use of a pesticide can be approved, some data will have to be generated. The different sectors of pesticide users are becoming increasingly involved in this kind of research and are advised to make use of the guidelines, rules and regulations for such trials.