Minor Use Pesticides Program

Canadian farmers require effective tools to manage weed, insect and disease problems which can threaten the quality, value and quantity of the crops they produce.

The Minor Use Pesticides Program was launched in June 2002 as a joint initiative between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). The Program, which has been fortified under the federal Agricultural Regulatory Action Plan of the Growing Forward policy initiative, aims to increase grower competiveness by improving access to new and effective crop protection tools and technologies.

The Minor Use Pesticides Program works with growers, the provinces, manufacturers and the United States (U.S.) IR-4 Specialty Crops program to establish grower-selected crop/pest needs, and match them with potential solutions, particularly reduced risk products. As the front-line guardians against pest issues, growers know from experience the types of persistent and emerging pest problems that can have serious effects on their operations. It is for that reason that growers select priorities at an annual priority-setting workshop.

AAFC then conducts field and greenhouse trials and commissions laboratory analyses to collect the required data, including efficacy and residue information, before drafting regulatory submissions to PMRA for the registration of new minor uses. Many of these new uses replace older chemistries and formulations which have been taken off the market.

These efforts assist in moving new products through the regulatory system which will help Canada's producers to compete in global markets.


The Minor Use Pesticides Program will provide benefits to Canadian producers, the environment, and consumers by focussing on:

  • making minor use pesticide products, with emphasis on reduced-risk products, more readily available; and
  • providing Canadian producers with access to new pest-management technologies to improve their competitiveness domestically and internationally.

Program Delivery

For many years, Canadian producers, especially those involved in the horticultural and specialty-crop industry, have not had access to the same range of pesticide products as producers in other countries. Because growing minor crops involves so many diverse products and involves small acreages, many manufacturers have been unwilling to invest the time and money to pursue pesticide registrations for this important part of the agriculture industry.

Now, AAFC is conducting field trials to generate the data needed to support submissions to the PMRA for registering minor use pest-control products. This activity complements the existing roles and responsibilities of pesticide manufacturers in submitting products to the PMRA for registration, and encourages manufacturers to register products in Canada.

As a result, newer, more environmentally friendly and more efficient products will be made available to Canadian producers, which helps level the playing field and allows them to be more competitive in global markets.

Under the Minor Use Pesticides Program, AAFC works with provincial governments, industry representatives, and producers to:

  • match pest problems with minor use pesticide solutions;
  • establish priorities and gain industry support;
  • conduct field trials; and
  • prepare pesticide submissions for new uses to the PMRA

Matching pest problems and priorities

Producers and producer groups in each province meet annually with their provincial minor use co-ordinator to identify and prioritize the major pest problems in their regions.

These pest problems are then matched with potential pesticide solutions, using input from pesticide manufacturers, to produce provincial lists of pest priorities and possible solutions in three categories - weed, disease, and insect. Non-chemical solutions are also considered and included.

Provincial lists are then combined to form one national list, which is used at the annual AAFC Minor Use Pesticide Priority-Setting Workshop, usually held in March, to determine national priorities. Representatives from a broad range of stakeholder groups – including provincial minor use coordinators, producers, the pesticide industry, crop specialists, as well as representatives from the U.S. IR-4 program and provincial and federal governments – attend the workshop.

Establishing priorities and gaining industry support

At the workshop, participants reach a consensus on the top national priorities in each pest category (weeds, insects, and diseases), and additional priorities are determined to address regional needs. The agreement of manufacturers is sought to include the new, approved use on the product label.

Conducting field trials and laboratory analyses

Once the priorities are established, AAFC's Pest Management Centre, in consultation with industry and government partners, undertakes to:

  • obtain formal manufacturer support;
  • prepare documentation to determine any additional data requirements;
  • conduct field trials and lab analyses;
  • provide quality assurance for the data-generation process;
  • integrate data generated in Canada with the U.S.IR-4 pesticide program;
  • prepare registration submissions to Health Canada's PMRA; and
  • provide transparent tracking and reporting of results to stakeholders.

While the Centre's headquarters is located in Ottawa, it conducts field trials at sites across the country. Staff at the seven Minor Use Pesticide Research Sites have undergone training to meet the Standards Council of Canada Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) recognition standards for carrying out trials and generating data on minor use pesticides. In addition, private contractors are used.

Preparing submissions to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency

The Pest Management Centre reviews the data resulting from field trials and laboratory analyses, and prepares a submission to the PMRA to support the registration of the minor use pesticide.

Once the Centre has finalized a regulatory submission, the PMRA reviews it and decides whether or not to accept the pesticide for use in Canada. The PMRA bases its decision on whether the product demonstrates merit and value, and whether the risks to human health and the environment are acceptable.

For more information visit PMRA's pesticide label database.

Collaboration between the United States and Canada

AAFC's Minor Use Pesticides (MUP) program was modelled after a similar program in the United States, Interregional Project #4, or as it more commonly known, the IR-4 program. Recently, collaboration between the two programs has increased greatly. The appropriate data is jointly accumulated in the United States and Canada, with submissions made to respective pesticide regulatory agencies concurrently (in Canada, Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), and in the U.S. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)). This saves time by reducing duplication of data collection activities. Through these efforts, growers on both sides of the border with the same crop/pest problem, can have new uses of crop protection products registered in both countries simultaneously. Since 2003, numerous joint Canada/U.S. minor use projects have been undertaken.

Contact Information

If you would like to learn more about this program, please Contact the Pest Management Centre.

TDD/TTY: 613-773-2600

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