Chair of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food writes letter to Minister of Health over imidacloprid re-evaluation

Pat Finnigan, Chair of Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.
Pat Finnigan, Chair of Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. Photo: ParlVU

The Chair of the Canadian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, Pat Finnigan, recently wrote a letter to the Minister of Health, Hon. Jane Philpott, regarding the proposed re-evaluation of imidacloprid by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). In his letter, Mr. Finnigan expresses concerns over the lack of transparency in the PMRA’s process, and that dialogue with stakeholders must be initiated earlier in the re-evaluation process, before a decision is published, to allow for scientific input and new data to be obtained. About the proposed re-evaluation itself, Mr. Finnigan notes:

“Farmers and pesticide registrants are afraid that discontinuing imidacloprid would force farmers to use greater quantities of ineffective pesticides, resulting in even greater environmental damage and possible harm to the applicator. It is in fact a concern that the environmental and health effects of a greater use of alternative products have not been weighed in the re-evaluation of imidacloprid.

The loss of the pesticide imidacloprid remains a great concern for the agriculture sector, and the Committee hopes that you will take our concerns into account in your decision concerning the re-evaluation of imidacloprid.”

Mr. Finnigan’s letter was based on public hearings that were held on March 7 and 9, 2017. Thank you to Dr. Justine Taylor, of Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, and Craig Hunter, of Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, for providing their valuable testimony. The Canadian Horticultural Council has since completed its grower survey on imidacloprid use and has submitted its report to the PMRA. The data collected serves to inform the PMRA of actual use patterns in support of a revised re-evaluation decision.

Download the letter from the Standing Committee to the Minister of Health