Evaluation of Minor Use Pesticides Program – Summary Report
About the Evaluation
- This evaluation reports on the relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency of the Minor Use Pesticides Program, focusing on results achieved by the Program from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2017.
- The evaluation used multiple lines of evidence including document review, case studies, secondary data analysis, surveys, and interviews to assess program activities.
Minor Use Pesticides Program
- The Minor Use Pesticides Program was launched in 2003 as a joint initiative between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency.
- The Program aims to increase grower competitiveness by improving access to new and effective crop protection tools and technologies for minor crops (low-acreage/high-value crops).
- From 2012-13 to 2016-17, $33.4-million was allocated to the Program. Based on the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding between AAFC and Health Canada, $4‑million is transferred annually from AAFC to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency.
What we Found
- The Minor Use Pesticides Program fills an ongoing need for grower access to minor uses of pest control products to support the competitiveness and environmental sustainability of the minor crop production sector.
- The Program is aligned with priorities endorsed under the broader AAFC Growing Forward 2 framework.
- Both AAFC and Health Canada play an appropriate role in supporting the registration process to benefit improved grower productivity and competitiveness.
- The Program has established beneficial partnerships and undertakes international work that is valuable to ensure harmonization and smooth trade arrangement for growers.
- From 2012 to 2017, submissions to Health Canada’s Regulatory Agency and the new minor use pesticides available to growers exceeded internal performance targets.
- The availability and use of new minor use pesticides is contributing to crop protection and resistance management, adaptation to new technologies, and meeting regulatory requirements in export markets.
- Economic analyses indicate that the incremental economic impact of the Program is substantial. Since its inception, the Minor Use Pesticides Program is estimated to have contributed to the prevention of crop losses in the range of $653-million to $998-million. This is estimated to be a return of $42 of net benefits for every $1 invested by the government.
- The Program is on track in expending its annual budget and program efficiency has improved over time.
Design and Delivery
- The Program is well-designed, and there is a high level of satisfaction among stakeholders regarding the delivery of the Program.
- The priority setting process to select projects annually is viewed as grower-driven and collaborative, although some priorities are less well-substantiated. The evaluation indicates that there may be room for more flexibility in the number of priorities assigned to each category (region, discipline, organic).
- To meet demand and deliver on the program objectives, the Pest Management Centre is contracting out large portions of its laboratory research work externally. This outsourcing was a potential source for delays in the product registration process, as well as a possible limit to the analysis quality.
The Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Technology Branch, should update the logic model for the Program to ensure that:
- International efforts are linked to intended outcomes; and
- Performance targets reflect current activity levels and future program aspirations.
Management Response Recommendation 1
Agreed. The Pest Management Centre will revise the logic model to include performance targets as approved under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and clearly linking program international activities to outcomes.
The Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Technology Branch, should take steps to improve flexibility in the setting of priorities by category.
Management Response Recommendation 2
Agreed. The Pest Management Centre will conduct an analysis of scenarios to determine capacity to undertake changes in project flow by discipline and determine if changes to priority selection are needed.
The Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Technology Branch, should conduct an assessment of in-house versus contracted laboratory services, including direct and indirect costs, to determine the most efficient and effective use of resources to deliver the Program.
Management Response Recommendation 3
Agreed. The Pest Management Centre will undertake an analysis of contract versus in-house laboratory services to determine the most efficient and cost effective program delivery.
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