International trade is becoming increasingly complicated when it comes to maximum residue limits (MRL). The PMRA is the federal agency that helps Canadian trade teams work through MRL concerns with trading partners.  | Robin Booker photo

Ag Drag

PMRA’s decision to reduce international engagement when it comes to MRLs could impede Canadian agricultural exports.

Health Canada is under pressure from Agriculture Canada and the standing committee on agriculture and the standing committee on finance to change how the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) operates. Farm groups have lobbied the government for the PMRA to take their needs into consideration because the agency’s activity has significant bearing on the agriculture […] Read more

Researchers looked at more than 500,000 birth records between 1997 and 2011 in the San Joaquin Valley of California, which is a region that grows a lot of high value fruits and vegetables. | Screencap via www.nature.com

U.S. study links pesticides to birth defects

Canadian official says Health Canada takes into account exposure to vulnerable people before products are approved

A study out of the University of California is linking heavy pesticide use in farmers’ fields to birth defects in surrounding communities. Researchers looked at more than 500,000 birth records between 1997 and 2011 in the San Joaquin Valley of California, which is a region that grows a lot of high value fruits and vegetables. […] Read more

Environment Canada data from 2012-14 showed that imidacloprid concentrations  were highest in creeks and streams in southern Ontario, particularly  in areas with intensive vegetable, fruit and grape production.  |  Getty photo

Health Canada holds off on neonicotinoid ban

Health Canada won’t issue a final decision on whether it will ban imidacloprid for at least six months, says a horticultural industry representative. Last November, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency proposed to ban the use of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, because it was accumulating in water near agricultural land. That was reportedly putting aquatic insects […] Read more


Canada has no national monitoring system for pesticide residues in water, even though the government plans to ban some products. | File photo

Unmonitored: pesticide residues in water

Sixty-five to 70 million acres of crop goes in the ground in Western Canada every spring. After seeding and into the summer, farmers apply tonnes of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides to control pests on those crops. In Alberta alone, data shows that 15.2 million kilograms of pesticide active ingredient were sold or shipped into the […] Read more

The average surface water concentrations of neonicotinoids were typically 10 to 30 nanograms per litre in regions of Ontario where corn and soybeans are the primary crops, well below the safety benchmark of 230 nanograms per litre.
 | File photo

Neonics lower in grain regions

Neonicotinoids are present in streams and waterways throughout southern Ontario, says a new report from Environment Canada. However, regions with intensive horticultural production, such as southwestern Ontario and the Niagara region, are the only parts of the province with hazardous levels of the insecticides in water. The concentrations of neonic­otinoids in water are much lower […] Read more


Federal database collects pesticide sales info

The PMRA began publishing the information in 2007 following the passage of the Pest Control Products Act

Canadians and farmers may not know it, but the federal government does track the use of pesticides. In 2007, Health Canada and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency began publishing data on herbicide, insecticide and fungicide sales, following the passage of the Pest Control Products Act in 2006. The act included a provision on reporting and […] Read more

Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox says the province will consult with Manitobans about legislation that prohibits the use of pesticides on lawns and public green spaces, including schools, day cares and playing fields. | File photo

Cosmetic pesticide ban reconsidered in Manitoba

Manitoba may be re-thinking its ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides. In a release issued this morning, Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox said the province would consult with Manitobans about legislation that prohibits the use of pesticides on lawns and public green spaces, including schools, day cares and playing fields. “The purpose of the […] Read more

Only about one percent of all pesticides in Canada have conditional registrations, but the Health Canada practice became controversial because many neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides linked to bee deaths and colony losses, have conditional registrations. | File photo

Conditional pesticide registrations no longer possible

Canada’s Health Minister has followed through on her promise to end conditional registrations of pesticides. As of June 1, Health Canada and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) will no longer grant conditional registrations, where the government approved the use of a pesticide but asked an agri-chemical company for additional information to support the registration. […] Read more


Bees must be better protected from neonicotinoid use, says the author.  |  File photo

Stop creating friction over neonicotinoids

Since the announcement of Ontario’s new pesticide regulations, Ontario beekeepers have been the object of a misinformation campaign from the agricultural chemical industry and their proxies. The Grain Farmers of Ontario, in a letter to members, threatened to use pesticides more harmful to bees and encouraged farmers to seek legal advice before allowing beekeepers to […] Read more

A thermal inversion, a phenomenon that causes fog to form on the ground in the early morning, occurs when colder air next to the ground does not mix with the layer of warmer air above it. It’s a concern because thermal inversions can cause spray drift and crop damage.  |  File photo

Why calm air causes spray drift

The farmer is behind on spraying. It’s dead calm. Leaves are still. The sprayer is filled, ready to go. He climbs down from the cab and heads to the house for a nap. Something’s wrong with this scene. There’s spraying to be done and conditions couldn’t be better, so what is going on? Government extension […] Read more