Find out how pesticides are regulated in Canada

How are pesticides regulated?

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada regulates every pesticide in Canada, whether it’s used on a farm, in a forest, or in your neighbour’s yard.

Expert scientists

More than 300 scientists at Health Canada review new pesticide applications and re-evaluate existing products. These are internationally renowned experts in toxicology, entomology, weed biology, chemistry and the environment, among other things. They also collaborate with experts from all over the planet to evaluate data and determine the safety of a product. Health Canada’s top priority is protecting the health and safety of Canadians and it will not approve a product that may pose a risk to human health.

Thorough testing

The PMRA has one of the most rigorous scientific evaluation processes in the world. It subjects pesticides to a comprehensive scientific review and risk assessment, which includes more than 200 separate studies for health and environmental impacts before approving products for sale and use in Canada. Products are then continually assessed to make sure they meet the latest scientific standards. You can read more about the process a new pesticide goes through before it’s put on the market in From Lab to Label.

The “Dirty” Dozen

Every year, the Environmental Working Group releases a report called The Dirty Dozen that suggests certain fruits and vegetables should be avoided because of high levels of pesticide residue. Unfortunately, the report misrepresents the facts about agricultural pesticides. Health Canada has established clear, scientific limits for safe amounts of pesticide residue. Just because residues are detected does not mean there is a safety concern. In fact, according to Health Canada about 88 percent of all fresh food items in Canada contain no traces of pesticides at all, and more than 99 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables are below Health Canada’s residue limits. For more information on pesticides residues on fruits and vegetables, visit