Archived content - The Pest Management Newsletter: News from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Pest Management Centre - Number 9

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Celebrating 10-Year Anniversary

In 2013, AAFC's Pest Management Centre marks 10 years. We hope our readers enjoy this special issue of the newsletter, reflecting on a decade of collaborative successes in bringing crop protection tools, knowledge and support to Canadian growers. Accompanying the fall edition are a poster - and a factsheet describing some of the partnerships, latest advancements and milestone achievements from each year since PMC's establishment. About the Pest Management Centre

A Made-in-Canada Solution

In 2003, the federal government, horticultural producers and pesticide manufacturers began working under a unique partnership model that ensured a national and well-coordinated approach to minor use pesticide registration in Canada - the newly established Pest Management Centre (PMC). PMC put focus on helping get newer, safer pest control products to growers, taking into account the health and safety of people and the environment. Its creation offered a solution to a growing technological gap between growers in Canada and the United States.

Canadian horticultural producers did not have access to many of the crop protection products available to their American counterparts. Known as minor use pesticides, they are used to combat weeds, insects and plant diseases in fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers and ornamentals. In Canada, these products account for a very small percentage of agricultural uses, which made the cost of registering them prohibitive for the product manufacturers. Furthermore, as older products available here were becoming less effective and new pests were emerging, Canadian growers were running out of safe and effective ways to protect their crops.

Former Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientist Dr. Alan Tomlin and Mr. Bill Boddis, also with AAFC, were tasked with starting PMC's programs on minor use pesticides and pesticide risk reduction strategies. Dr. Tomlin recalls the initial challenge of meeting the urgent needs of growers while still establishing the operations of the centre.

"PMC has highly specialized personnel, so it took time to fill the positions with the right people while at the same time launching the first projects. It was a bit like changing the wheels on a moving bus," Dr. Tomlin says.

Dr. Tomlin also says that in order for PMC to gain credibility, submissions had to be world class. "We knew the quality of the data and, indeed, of all our work would be under scrutiny, so we put into place benchmarks that ensured a high level of accuracy."

Retired AAFC scientist Dr. Ken Campbell remembers the uncertainty growers faced, and as part of the small team that formed the nucleus of PMC, he knew the challenges of trying something new. "At the time there was no real coordinated effort among companies, researchers and the provinces to bring growers' needs together. AAFC researchers were doing the odd field trial for companies. That's about it," Dr. Campbell says.

With limited funding available, the work was difficult to coordinate between regions and within the sector. The need for minor use registrations far exceeded the available resources. Canada's horticultural industry, the largest user of minor use pesticides, recognized this need and advocated for a national program - similar to the US Department of Agriculture's successful Interregional Research Project No. 4, or IR-4.

Dr. Campbell also remembers there was a lot of nervous skepticism among those outside of PMC about how the first Minor Use Priority Setting Workshop would work. The workshop brought together a wide variety of commodity organizations, with different needs, to pick a limited number of projects for the upcoming year. "We knew from our discussions with growers that good old fashioned Canadian consensus would win the day, and we were right," Dr. Campbell says.

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Manjeet Sethi, Pest Management Centre; Anne Fowlie, Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC); Charles Stevens, CHC & Grower; Jerry Baron, US IR-4; Craig Hunter, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association; Gary Brown, CHC & Grower

In 2013, PMC celebrates 10 years of success of its two programs: the Minor Use Pesticides Program (MUPP) which facilitates finding potential solutions to the most serious grower-selected pest and disease priorities; and the Pesticide Risk Reduction Program (PRRP) which develops strategies to reduce risks associated with pesticide use, promoting integrated pest management systems, beneficial management practices (BMPs) and measures to facilitate the adoption of reduced risk products and systems.

Over the past decade, MUPP has developed into a world-class example of federal government-led partner¬ships with growers, provinces, manufacturers and other federal departments and agencies. MUPP has drafted and submitted over 500 regulatory submissions to Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), resulting in more than 1,200 new pesticide uses since 2003.

PRRP works to reduce the risks to human health and the environment from pesticides used in the agriculture and agri-food industry, including both major field crops and horticultural crops. The program allows growers to prioritize pest management issues where pesticide risk reduction can be realized, identify gaps, develop strategic action plans, implement projects to address the gaps and conduct regulatory support work to increase access to biopesticides for growers.

PRRP has developed 30 crop profiles to identify gaps in crop protection needs. These profiles have become the industry standard among researchers not only in Canada, but around the world.

During this time, the international regulatory environment has changed considerably, allowing for joint minor use submissions and joint minor use reviews of regulatory proposals between countries. International harmonization of pesticide regulations reduces costs and trade barriers and accelerates decision making. As a result, PMC is changing its focus from closing the technology gap to preventing it from occurring again. PMC's work with its American counterpart, IR-4, is leading to simultaneous registration of over 90 new minor uses of pesticides in both countries.

The development of PMC as a national centre, dedicated to putting Canadian growers on an even footing with their international competitors, was no easy task. However, PMC not only delivers excellent results for Canadian growers, but its model of scope and governance is being replicated in countries around the world.

According to PMC's Executive Director, Dr. Manjeet Sethi, "The continuing success of our centre reflects the commitment of each partner, be it grower groups, regulators, the provinces or product manufacturers."

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Cezarina Kora, Pest Management Centre; Jaspinder Komal, Director General, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) Science and Technology branch; Costa Psihogios, AAFC Manager

Modeling Success on Collaboration

A lot has changed since 2003 when Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) joined forces and laid the foundation for Minor Use Pesticides Program (MUPP). Prior to the launching of the joint program, PMRA received minor use submissions from the Canadian Horticultural Council and from the Provincial Minor Use Coordinators. In the first five years of the program, submissions from PMC as well as the Provincial Minor Use Coordinators contributed to the registration of more than 880 new minor uses. The initial effort focused on gaining access to minor use products available only to American growers.

As MUPP gained momentum, PMC and Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) also began collaborating with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Agriculture's Interregional Research Project No.4 (IR-4) on joint minor use development and review. To date, Pest Management Regulatory Agency and EPA have jointly reviewed 55 submissions from PMC and IR-4 that have contributed to more than 130 new minor uses in Canada (5% of the total new minor uses registered under the user-requested minor use program).

Over the years, the partnership between PMC and PMRA has expanded and taken on new challenges to enhance the competitiveness of Canada's agricultural industry. The organizations work closely together on efforts to further improve growers' access to pest control products. PMRA has provided advice and helped PMC staff to design its data generation trials and to prepare submissions to respond to the needs of the regulatory process. PMRA has also revised its value data requirements to include a more flexible weight of evidence approach which considers all the factors that may contribute to a product's value.

More recently, PMRA, with input from PMC, led the development of a new initiative under the Canada/ US Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) designed to enhance collaboration between PMRA, EPA, PMC and IR-4 and ultimately increase the number of joint Canada/ US minor use submissions. Under this action plan, the international partnership is working on projects aimed at facilitating data sharing, removing obstacles to joint submission and developing joint guidelines and data development processes, among other activities.

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Summerland, British Columbia

As of early 2013, PMRA has received more than 1,010 submissions from PMC plus the provinces and made over 835 regulatory decisions, resulting in more than 2,500 new minor uses available to Canadian growers. PMRA also initiated new programs, such as Program 914, which is a dedicated program with shortened timelines for registrant submissions having a large number of minor uses, and incentives for data protection extensions through the addition of more minor uses.

The large number of new minor uses has significantly contributed to narrowing the technology gap for Canadian agriculture. For example, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) reports that, in 2001, Ontario farmers only had access to 35% of the reduced risk active ingredients that were available for use in the US. But by 2012, this number had almost doubled to 69%. Likewise, growers could only apply these products to less than one third of the approved crops and crop groups compared to the US. By 2012, this number had climbed to one half. According to OMAFRA, the process of utilizing MUPP to secure full registrations for emergency use has saved Canadian agriculture hundreds of millions of dollars in potential crop losses: over $240 million in Ontario alone in 2012.

The success of this decade-long collaboration between PMC and PMRA continues to provide our growers with effective tools that allow them to remain competitive while protecting the environment and health of all Canadians.

Maximizing Cooperation to Minimize Risk

Fostering successful partnerships is the Pesticide Risk Reduction Program's (PRRP) core philosophy. PRRP was established in 2003 as a joint initiative of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Pest Management Centre (PMC) and Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). The program enables growers, industry, pest management experts, governments, researchers and other stakeholders to work together in reducing pesticide risks to human health and the environment.

Under PRRP, key players and organizations collaborate to develop and implement pesticide risk reduction strategies. These strategies help growers to identify and gain access to reduced risk tools and encourage the adoption of alternative pest management approaches, practices and technologies.

In addition to coordinating the working groups, the program provides funding and regulatory support for projects and potential solutions. The projects are closely monitored and the resulting pest management solutions for individual crops are transferred to growers.

According to Dr. Cezarina Kora, Senior Strategy Coordinator at PMC, "Achieving pesticide risk reduction at the farm level is the program's ultimate goal, and there are many steps in the process." Dr. Kora continues to explain, "First of all, this requires effective and viable alternative control solutions made available to growers. Secondly, it requires that growers understand how the new approaches work and accept the idea of making changes - sometimes substantial - to the way they grow crops in order to adopt new tools and practices in their production system. And, of course, all of this can only work if the growers are maintaining their economic bottom line."

Pesticide risk reduction strategies do not fall into place overnight. They require years of diligent work by those involved to develop action plans that address grower needs. The process fosters new partnerships among pest management stakeholders, encourages industry involvement and ensures that PRRP supports solutions which growers have an interest in using.

Only high priority pest issues - as identified by industry - are addressed within the program. For example, an on-going agricultural challenge facing Canadian growers is white mold affecting many important crops, such as canola, dry beans and carrots. This issue was raise at the initial pesticide risk reduction consultations back in 2003 as a problem that required concerted effort and a joint solution - thus began the Reduced Risk Management Strategy for White Mold.

At the onset of this strategy, growers identified options to fill the gap left by older fungicides that were being phased out and expand the disease management toolbox. It was an opportunity to learn and discuss options of how to control this disease while reducing the risk from pesticide use. The strategy became a support tool to help growers transition towards adopting new, lower risk options to control white mold.

Between 2003 and 2012, PRRP undertook 10 projects among numerous activities targeting white mold on canola, dry beans and carrots. Some of the disease management tools resulting from this work include:

  • Five new registration submissions for fungicides, four of which are now approved for use by growers;
  • Two new registered biopesticides (one from a fungus Coniothyrium minitans and one from a bacterium Bacillus subtilis);
  • On-farm demonstrations on the use of these biopesticides as part of an integrated approach to white mold management in beans and canola; and
  • A Sclerotinia disease scouting and risk identification guide, to help with accurate prediction and timely management of white mold in canola production.
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Prototype carrot trimmer designed and constructed by Kevin Sanderson and his research team at AAFC's Crops and Livestock Research Centre in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

One of the major success stories of the white mold management strategy has been the introduction of the foliar trimming technology for carrots. This technology requires trimmer equipment that is attached to a tractor and adjustable to specific carrot cultivation methods. "The machine trims the sides of carrot rows, opening up the canopy and avoiding disease development - no pesticides are used and it reduces disease by up to 80 per cent," says Dr. Rick Peters, a plant pathologist based at AAFC's Crops and Livestock Research Centre in Charlottetown involved in development and testing the efficacy of a trimmer prototype that was designed to match carrot production needs in the Atlantic Region.

Research found that with increased air circulation in the trimmed canopy, occurrences of white mold disease in carrots were decreased. Armed with this evidence, Mr. Kevin Sanderson, also an AAFC scientist in Charlottetown, helped transfer the carrot trimming technology to industry where it was successfully scaled up to the commercial level for use in Canada and internationally. The research team won a Science Achievement Award from AAFC in 2011 for their work on the carrot trimmer, which is now being readily adopted by growers at home and abroad.

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Field tour organized by AAFC researchers to demonstrate the disease control benefits of carrot trimmer technology to local carrot growers.

Reduced fungicide use and a shift towards lower risk alternatives are becoming a reality in many agricultural operations. Just as the tools made available to growers through the white mold strategy are making a difference in the management of this disease across affected crops in Canada, other pesticide risk reduction strategies are benefiting more commodities and agricultural industry sectors.

To see summaries of other pesticide risk reduction strategies being developed and implemented, or for more information, visit the PMC website.

Biopesticides - Working with Nature to Manage Crop Pests

Researchers have found help from nature in fighting pests of agricultural crops. Biopesticides use naturally-occurring substances produced by plants, animals or microorganisms (bacteria, algae, fungi, protozoa and viruses) to control insects, weeds and plant diseases.

The demand for biopesticides is growing rapidly in both organic and conventional farming. Growers know that they face increasing regulations and pest resistance issues with chemical pesticides. They are looking for natural alternatives to maintain yields and the health of their plants, while reducing the environmental footprint of their farming operations. Biopesticides are viable and effective technologies that are linked with sustainable agriculture.

When Pesticide Risk Reduction Program (PRRP) Pest Management Centre's (PMC) was established in 2003, it immediately began working with partners at Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to define, develop and implement strategies to reduce risks associated with specific pesticide uses of concern. However, it became apparent that although growers were being encouraged to use products such as biopesticides, there were not many registered or available for use in Canada.

Leslie Cass, Manager of PRRP, recalls the collaboration involved in tackling this issue. "In order to examine the gaps and roadblocks contributing to the lack of biopesticide products available to Canadian farmers, we decided to bring together our biopesticide experts from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research community, industry, PMRA and US counterparts for a two-day workshop in 2005." With input from Colleen Hyslop, Manager of the PRRP at the time, Ms. Cass organized the meeting. "Together we established PMC's role in conducting value trials for biopesticides required for regulatory packages, providing regulatory advice, pathfinding, assistance in developing and submitting data packages, and supporting outreach activities to foster the uptake of these new products within production systems."

As a result, PRRP developed a Biopesticides Initiative coordinated by Dr. Tobias Laengle.

The PMC team worked its way through an initial list of approximately 15 priority biopesticide products for registration in Canada, and by the end of 2007, 10 products from that list were submitted to PMRA for registration. By 2009, PMRA received another five new biopesticide submissions. From these 15 submissions, 10 biopesticides were granted first-time registration in Canada, giving growers here access to new reduced risk products.

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From left to right: Brian Belliveau, Pest Management Regulatory Agency; Tobias Laengle, Pest Management Centre; Bill Stoneman, Biopesticide Industry Alliance

In March 2010, the first biopesticide priority setting meeting brought together growers, researchers and registrants to select crop/pest/solution priorities. This has become an annual event, which has led to the selection of eight new priorities (a combination of new registrations and label expansions) in each of the past four years.

"The annual workshop is an invaluable process for setting PRRP priorities for biopesticides work and enabling the grower community to become more familiar with these reduced risk technologies," explains Dr. Laengle. "It has also become a venue for AAFC researchers to showcase the biopesticides under development in their labs to potential commercial partners and growers. It's a great way for them to network and it fills an important technology transfer function."

PMC also contributes its expertise in biopesticides regulatory affairs internationally with involvement in biopesticides working groups through the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

"For example, the NAFTA partnership allows us to work with our US counterparts to coordinate biopesticide trials and demonstrations for pests that damage crops on both sides of the border," says Dr. Laengle.

PMC continues to work with Interregional Research Project No.4 (IR-4), its American equivalent, when possible to facilitate the joint first-time registration submission of new products, ensuring that growers in both Canada and the US gain access at roughly the same time.

Overall, the Biopesticides Initiative has played a major role in reducing the biopesticide technology gap with the US, raised the profile of Canada's market for biopesticide manufacturers and made growers more aware and open to incorporating these reduced risk products into their operations. As of 2013, 200 uses of biopesticides have been registered in Canada as a direct result of work conducted under this initiative.

Looking ahead, we see only more interest in and need for biopesticides by growers, as they deal with the removal of older chemistries or products through re-evaluation, shifting consumer preferences, new pest management challenges and concerns of pests becoming resistant to pesticides.

What's New on the PMC Website?

Several new items have been added to our website since our last newsletter appeared. Here's a look at what's been happening:

Minor Use Pesticides Program (MUPP) Priorities

The National Priority Lists and Selected National Priorities, established by the Minor Use Pesticide Priority Setting Workshop, have been published on the Minor Use Crop/Pest Problems page. These priorities will become projects within MUPP for the 2014 growing season.

Pesticide Risk Reduction Program (PRRP) Priorities

The priorities established by the Biopesticides Priority Setting Workshop in March 2013 have been published on the Biopesticide Workshop page. These priorities will receive regulatory support from PRRP.

Pesticide Risk Reduction Strategies

The Sustainable Crop Protection Factsheet Series for reducing reliance on organophosphate insecticides for manage¬ment of insect pests of tree fruit has been published.


The Sustainable Crop Protection Factsheet Series continues to have new titles added under the Publications and Document archive.

To stay informed of updates on our website, be sure to subscribe to our email notification service. These notifications will provide you with links to our new web material.

Message from Executive Director of the Pest Management Centre

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Dr. Manjeet Sethi

The old saying is that people often overestimate what they can do in a year, but underestimate what can be done in a decade. In 2013 the Pest Management Centre celebrates its 10th anniversary of helping Canadian farmers gain greater access to effective pest management tools and practices, and that saying probably holds true. PMC had its early growing pains, as we started to do something which had never been tried in Canada. But with the support and cooperation of farm organizations, manufacturers, the provinces and Canada's pesticide regulator, Health Canada's PMRA, we all were determined to make it work. This partnership has now become a model of government/ non-governmental organization collaboration, with other countries visiting PMC to determine if our model can be replicated elsewhere in the world.

When PMC started, Canadian growers needed technolo¬gies available to growers in other countries if they were to increase their competitiveness. Today we've reached the point where a large percentage of potential new uses are being submitted to regulators in Canada and the US simultaneously.

Wayne Gretzky once said you can't score goals if you don't shoot the puck. What we've learned is we won't score every shot, but we will increase our chances of success by seizing opportunities, taking advantage of the rapidly changing regulatory environment to make it work for Canadian growers. The appetite for regulatory change is strong, and PMC is now focusing on increasing opportunities for growers through harmonized Maximum Residue Limits, putting them on even footing with competitors and reducing trade barriers.

Based on the record of achievement over the past decade, I am confident in the contribution PMC can make to improving access to safe and effective crop protection tools and techniques for Canadian growers in the years to come.

Until next time...Manjeet Sethi

About the Pest Management Centre

In 2003, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) established the Pest Management Centre (PMC) as a unique partnership between growers, grower associa¬tions, federal and provincial governments and the crop protection industry to deliver two national programs:

  • Pesticide Risk Reduction Program (PRRP), a joint initiative of AAFC and Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency, which focuses on the development of risk reduction strategies for the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector; and
  • Minor Use Pesticides Program (MUPP), a joint initiative of AAFC and Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency, which responds to the needs of Canadian growers for increased access to new minor uses of pesticides.

PMC operates from its headquarters in Ottawa and conducts field, greenhouse and growth chamber trials at seven research sites located in Kentville, Nova Scotia; Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec; Vineland, Ontario; Harrow, Ontario; Scott, Saskatchewan; Summerland, British Columbia and Agassiz, British Columbia.

For additional information about PMC, please visit our website at

Contact Information

For more information about any of the items in this issue of the newsletter, please contact PMC via email at or call 613-694-2457.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2013).
ISSN 1916-3851 AAFC No. 12149E
Publié également en français sous le titre Bulletin sur la lutte antiparasitaire
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Fall 2013 - Pest Management Centre Newsletter (PDF Version, 667 KB)
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