February 4, 2015
Government members of the Federal Standing Committee on Health are using their majority to force a very quick review of the Pest Control Products Act (the law that governs the licensing of pesticides in Canada). The Act--like many laws--contains a mandatory review clause, which means the Standing Committee on Health must undertake an examination at set intervals and recommend changes to Parliament.
Given the disaster around bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides, there should clearly be a thorough examination of an Act that allowed them on the market in the first place.
The 'review' will only consist of three brief sessions (about 6 hours) and will likely be over by the end of the week. I learned of the review only last Wednesday and received an invitation to testify Thursday--very short notice indeed.
Why the big rush? To get it over with quickly before the public knows what’s happening? One acute observer described the government members as 'railroading' the Act.
It's time the committee acted
We’ve provided a draft letter here but urge you to personalize and put it in your own words.
We have five reasonable recommendations:
- The Precautionary Principle should be the basis of all approvals.
- The Act should be amended to ensure that the need for a new pesticide be demonstrated as part of the approval process.
- Qualified requests for a reconsideration of a Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) decision should result in a timely, mandatory review.
- The public should be informed at the beginning and not the end of the approval process.
- A Citizen Review Committee should be established to review PMRA decisions, policies and practices and advise the minister of its findings.
These are reasonable changes to bring the Pest Control Products Act more in line with Canadian values.
Please take a moment and send your letter today!