Proposed Changes In Personal Use Importation of Pest Control Products

Earlier this week, Health Canada announced proposed changes to the Pest Control Products Regulations that would limit the ability of individuals to import unregistered pesticides for personal use.

At present, individuals can import unregistered pest control products into Canada if they are:

  • Primarily for use by the importer in and around the home,
  • No more than 500g or 500ml, and
  • $100 or less.

The proposed regulation would eliminate the $100 cap, but implement the following additional measures:

  • No Online Purchases/Deliveries – the unregistered product must be directly imported by the importer
  • English/French – the unregistered product must have packaging and labelling in one of the official languages
  • Original Packaging – the unregistered product must be in its original packaging
  • Canadian Reference Product – must be equivalent to a Canadian registered domestic class product (i.e. must have the same active ingredient in the same concentration)
  • Authorized in Country of Origin – the product must contain a government registration number on its packaging or label indicating that it is registered or authorized in its country of origin.

The regulatory impact analysis statement accompanying the proposed changes specifically notes that the changes result in part from the broad access to products that the internet provides.  While the original intent of the exemption had been to allow travellers to bring small quantities of pest control products (such as personal insect repellents) into Canada with them, e-commerce has changed how the personal use exemption is being used.  The proposed changes reflect a concern that the proliferation of internet sales undermines the registration regime.

Similar personal use exemptions apply to the importation of a number of regulated products including natural health products, medications and veterinary drugs.  It will be interesting to see whether the tighter measures proposed to be implemented in respect of pest control products might signal a trend that will impact any of these other product categories, which are also affected by online availability of foreign products. 

Consultation on the proposed amendment is open for 30 days.  Comments received will be reviewed and, as appropriate, incorporated into a final regulation, tentatively estimated to be in effect in the Spring of 2018. 

The proposed changes can be found at the following link:  http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2017/2017-02-11/html/reg2-eng.php