Industry group raises concerns over mandate of new PMRA committee

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The federal government has put out a call for nominations for an advisory committee within the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, in a move that CropLife Canada says creates redundancy in the pest product approval process and could detract from the science-based system.

CropLife says that it supports “an independent, science-based and transparent pesticide risk assessment process in Canada,” and that the Canadian public would benefit from Health Canada putting more effort into clearly explaining the processes and decisions made around pesticides rather than creating a politically-motivated advisory committee.

Related: Federal government announces call for nominations for new committee

“If the Science Advisory Committee on Pest Control Products were to be focused on very specific areas to add scientific expertise above and beyond what that the PMRA itself has, the committee could add scientific value to the review process,” CropLife says in a statement. “Unfortunately, the committee’s current mandate appears so broad, even reaching beyond scientific questions, and will serve to duplicate existing work and may impact the PMRA’s ability to fulfill its mandate and deliver science-based decisions in a timely manner.”

The committee, as created, potentially undermines the public’s trust in Canada’s science-based regulatory system and its independent experts, the organization says, adding that there are concerns about Maximum Residue Limit (MRLs) reviews, too.

“The reality is that there is no scientific justification for an additional layer of review for MRLs, which are set based on internationally accepted standards. This very point illustrates that the motivation behind the advisory committee appears to have little to do with science, CropLife says.

CropLife asks the government apply the same level of support for the science behind COVID-19 vaccines to support for the science behind crop protection products.

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