Canadian farmers require effective tools to manage pest problems like weeds, insects, diseases, and nematodes which can threaten the quality, value and yield of the crops they produce. A "minor use" of a pesticide refers to the use of crop-protection treatments (like herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and nematicides) on low acreage, high-value crops, or, where pest control is only needed on a small portion of the overall crop acreage. These pesticides are usually used in such small quantities for these uses that manufacturers find the sales potential is not sufficient to justify investments required to register that particular use in Canada.
The Minor Use Pesticides activities (MUP) of the Pest Management Centre (PMC) was launched in June 2002 as a joint initiative between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).The MUP, which has been continued under the federal Canadian Agriculture Partnership policy initiative, aims to increase grower competiveness by improving access to new and effective crop protection tools and technologies.
MUP works with growers, the provinces, manufacturers and the United States (U.S.) IR-4 Specialty Crops Program to establish grower-selected crop/pest needs, and match them with potential solutions. As the front-line guardians against pest issues, growers know from experience the types of persistent and emerging pest problems that can have serious effects on their operations. It is for that reason that growers select priorities at an annual priority setting workshop.
PMC then conducts field and greenhouse trials and laboratory analyses to generate the required data, including efficacy, crop tolerance, and pesticide residue information, before drafting regulatory submissions to PMRA for the registration of new minor uses of pesticides. Many of these new uses replace older chemistries and formulations which have been taken off the market.
These efforts assist in moving new products through the regulatory system which will help Canada's producers to compete in global markets.
MUP provides benefits to Canadian producers by contributing to a competitive, innovative and resilient agriculture and agri-food sector through increased awareness and access to new minor uses of pesticides. MUP works cooperatively with growers, manufacturers, provincial governments and international partners to:
- match pest problems with new minor uses of pesticide solutions;
- establish priorities and gain industry support;
- conduct trials; and
- prepare pesticide submissions for new uses to the PMRA
Matching pest problems and priorities
Growers and other stakeholders work with Provincial Minor Use Coordinators to identify crop/pest problems and potential solutions for these problems. These problems are grouped and listed into three disciplines: weeds and growth regulators, insects (entomology) and diseases (pathology). The provincial lists are compiled by the PMC and integrated into a national list for each discipline that serves as the working document for the Canadian Minor Use Pesticide Priority Setting Workshop.
During the annual workshop, stakeholders prioritize the pest control needs on a national basis. Selected national priorities are grouped into the following categories: entomology, pathology, weeds and growth regulators, regional priorities and organic production. Potential solutions are chosen for each priority and support confirmed from the product manufacturer.
To learn more about the selected national priorities from previous years, please consult Minor Use Crop and Pest Problems.
Conducting field trials and laboratory analyses
Once the priorities are established, AAFC's Pest Management Centre, in consultation with industry and government partners, undertakes to:
- obtain formal manufacturer support;
- consults with PMRA to determine data requirements;
- conducts field, greenhouse and growth chamber trials to determine pesticide efficacy, and crop tolerance to pesticides;
- conducts laboratory analyses to determine pesticide residues in food crops;
- cooperate with the U.S. IR-4Program to generate data and prepare submissions for joint priority projects;
- provide quality assurance for the data-generation process;
- prepare submissions to Health Canada's PMRA for regulatory review; and
- provides transparent tracking and reporting of results to stakeholders.
While the PMC headquarters is located in Ottawa, it conducts field trials at seven AAFC Research Centres across the country. The PMC Residue Chemistry Laboratory Services, located at the Vineland, Ontario research centre, conduct analysis of samples collected from residue trials to determine pesticide residue levels. In addition, private contractors are used.
The MUP and its dedicated teams at AAFC research centres are recognized by the Standards Council of Canada as being compliant with Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Good Laboratory Practices (GLP). Compliance with the principles of GLP is a mandatory requirement of OECD country pesticide regulatory agencies for the submission of pesticide residue data.
Preparing submissions to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency
The MUP reviews the data and prepares reports resulting from field, greenhouse and laboratory trials and prepares a submission to the PMRA to support the registration of the minor use of the pesticide.
Once the MUP has finalized a regulatory submission, it is reviewed by the PMRA who determines whether the new minor use is acceptable for registration in Canada. The PMRA bases its decision on whether the product demonstrates merit and value, and whether the risks to human health and the environment are acceptable.
For more information visit PMRA's pesticide label database.
Collaboration between the United States and Canada
AAFC's MUP was modelled after the U. S., Interregional Project #4, or as it more commonly known, the IR-4 Program. Canada and the U.S. cooperate on common priority projects to generate data and make submissions to their respective pesticide regulatory agencies concurrently (Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)). This saves time by reducing duplication of data collection activities and shares resources of the regulatory review. Through these efforts, growers on both sides of the border with the same crop/pest problem can have new uses of crop protection products registered in both countries simultaneously.
Submissions and project statuses
The results of the MUP projects are compiled in the list of submissions to PMRA and PMC’s priority project statuses:
For more information about Minor Use Pesticides, please contact the Pest Management Centre.