The Federal Court has ruled that Ottawa cannot shirk its responsibility to review registered pesticides that contain an active ingredient that has been banned by a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The curious requirement is found in subsection 17(2) of the federal Pest Control Products Act and, according to David Suzuki Foundation Director-General Jay Ritchlin, had been routinely ignored by the federal government until recently.
The foundation and Équiterre obtained an order from the Federal Court on May 19, 2016, confirming that Ottawa had no choice in the matter. EcoLog News has not yet viewed the text of the ruling, which had not been published by the Federal Court by press time.
It’s more of a victory in principle than in fact because after the foundation and Équiterre launched their court application, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) began reviewing pesticides containing the banned ingredients without actually acknowledging that it was required to do so, Ritchlin told EcoLog News. The foundation and Équiterre kept the court action alive in order to settle the issue once and for all.
“The judge said, yes, the government had been acting unlawfully by not doing these reviews,” says Ritchlin.
There are more than 350 pesticide products that are banned in OECD countries and still used in Canada, according to the foundation.
A special review can result in an outright ban, confirmation that use in Canada is still permitted, or additional restrictions on use. Ritchlin says that since the PMRA resumed special reviews, in at least one instance it has amended its previous approval.