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Canada Amends Labelling Requirements for Pest Control Products

Health Canada has amended the Canadian labelling requirements for pest control products in an effort to prevent unsafe or improper handling or use of unregistered foreign products and formally establish the policy to no longer grant new conditional registrations. The current wording of the import and foreign use provisions in the Pest Control Products Regulations allows foreign products to be stored without the approved foreign use label affixed (which includes required handling, safety and use information), as long as the label is affixed to the product before use. However, Health Canada believes that storing a foreign product without the approved foreign use label, which is equivalent to the label approved by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency for the equivalent Canadian-­registered product, can result in unsafe or improper handling or use.

Additionally, the PCPRs currently require that the labels of pest control products include a notice to the user stating that the user assumes the risk to persons or property that arises from use or handling of the product. The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations considers that the wording in the notice to users affects rights between private parties and that the current Pest Control Products Act does not provide the enabling authority to impose such civil liability. There are also issues involving the current guarantee statement regarding the active ingredients that the product contains as well as concerns over conditional registrations.

Accordingly, Health Canada has made a number of amendments to the PCPRs, including the following.

  • Subparagraph 42(1)(d)(i) of the PCPRs has been amended to state that the approved foreign product use label must be affixed to each container imported as soon as practicable after entering Canada and no later than upon its arrival at the location of use or storage. This will help ensure that the product is properly labelled before its use and cannot be stored legally without the approved foreign product use label attached if it is not used immediately, therefore helping to prevent improper or unsafe handling or use.
  • The word “guarantee” is being replaced with the words “active ingredient”, which more accurately describe the information required on the label and are therefore more consistent with the policy objective of the requirement (i.e., informing the user about the active ingredient contained in the pest control product). The regulations have also been amended to remove the last sentence from paragraph 26(2)(g), namely, “The user assumes the risk to persons or property that arises from any such use of this product,” which appears on all product labels.

Health Canada indicates that the cost associated with amending product labels will be mitigated by allowing registrants to modify their labels the next time they are amended or reprinted but no later than ten years from the time of entry into force of the amended regulations. In addition, labels that had already been printed before the coming into force of these amendments may continue to be used during the ten­year implementation period (i.e., if the labels are not amended during that period). No products would be required to be over­stickered with the new labels (i.e., products on store shelves would not need to be relabelled). However, products registered after the amendments come into effect would need to comply with the new labelling requirements immediately.

These amendments will enter into force on 10 June 2017.

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