Health Canada to Tighten Pesticide Personal Use Import Exemption

The current exemption refers to where the imported pesticide would be used, such as in and around the home, rather than the type of pest control product that can be imported, so it doesn't prevent Canadians from legally importing pest control products that either pose an unacceptable risk or that require special equipment and training to be used safely. It does not prohibit online purchases.

Saying unregistered pesticides imported from other countries can pose dangers to Canadians, Health Canada announced recently that it plans to tighten the personal use exemption for imported pesticides. The agency is concerned about the dangers of unregistered pesticides being brought into Canada because they have not been assessed for safety by the department and may not be labeled or packaged properly for safe use in Canada.

The exemption's current wording refers to where the imported pesticide would be used, such as in and around the home, rather than the type of pest control product that can be imported, so it doesn't prevent Canadians from legally importing pest control products that either pose an unacceptable risk or that require special equipment and training to be used safely. Health Canada and the Canada Border Service Agency lack the authority under the Pest Control Products Act to refuse entry of such products if they meet the exemption criteria (i.e., products primarily for use by the importer in or around the home, in a quantity of 500 mL or 500 g or less, and a value of $100 or less).

Also, the current wording of the exemption does not specify the mode of importation, so it does not prohibit online purchases and importation by mail or courier of unregistered pest control products or a products intended for commercial or restricted uses. (The possibility of Internet sales and the potential threats they could pose to human health and the environment were not under consideration when the exemption was created in 1972, according to the agency's proposal.

Health Canada plans to do outreach with the public and with couriers and online retailers to help ensure they understand the new criteria. The proposed amendment would take effect six months after the amendments are published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

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