On June 7, 2023, new amendments to the Pest Control Product Regulations (PCPR) came into force, providing much anticipated regulatory certainty to the Canadian regime for products (other than foods) that have been treated with a pest control product during manufacturing, i.e. treated articles.
The amendments were published on Dec. 7, 2022, but provided industry with a six month period for implementation. The changes reflect modernization of the framework for pest control products and include the following changes in respect of treated articles:
- Codifying the approach to treated articles, which was previously established in Health Canada's interpretive guidance.
- Clarifying regulatory requirements for treated articles.
- Establishing criteria for exempting certain articles treated with antimicrobial preservatives from the registration requirement.
"Treated articles" are codified in the PCPR
Prior to these amendments, neither the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) nor the PCPR defined "treated articles." Instead, the Pest Control Management Agency (PMRA) provided regulatory guidance through an Information Note on treated articles  first published in 2018.
The new amendments define a "treated article," and explicitly prescribed treated articles to be pest control products, subject to the PCPA and PCPR:
treated article means an inanimate product or substance, but does not include a food as defined in section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act,
(a) that, during the manufacturing process, is treated with a pest control product either by intentionally:
(i) incorporating the product into the article; or
(ii) applying it to the article, and
(b) whose primary purpose, prior to that treatment, is not, directly or indirectly, to control, destroy, attract or repel a pest or to mitigate or prevent the injurious, noxious or troublesome effects of a pest. (article traité).
As pest control products, treated articles manufactured in or imported to Canada are subject to the general requirement to be registered, unless there is an applicable registration exemption.
Certain articles treated with antimicrobial preservatives are exempt from registration under the PCPA
Consistent with Health Canada's previous Information Note, the PCPR now provides that treated articles that have an antimicrobial preservative incorporated or applied are exempt from registration as pest control products provided that:
- The antimicrobial preservative used to treat the article is registered or otherwise authorized under certain provisions of the PCPA or the PCPR.
- The use is limited to protecting or preserving the treated article.
- The article is treated in accordance with approved ranges of application rates, methods of application, and uses of the registered or authorized antimicrobial preservative.
In other words, manufacturers and importers do not have to register their treated articles, as long as the articles have been treated with a permitted pest control substance.
Antimicrobials used in products that are regulated under the other acts are exempted from the PCPA
Health Canada has not historically required registration of antimicrobial preservatives for use in or on products regulated under the Feeds Act or the Fertilizers Act, or for drugs, cosmetics and certain medical devices regulated under the Food and Drugs Act. The amendments to the PCPR also codify this approach, specifically exempting antimicrobials used for preservation from the application of the PCPA when the antimicrobials are otherwise regulated under the Feeds Act, the Fertilizers Act or the Food and Drugs Act. Importantly, this exemption only applies to the use of those antimicrobials in or on the treated articles regulated under those Acts, and does not apply to additional uses of the antimicrobial preservative outside the scope of the aforementioned Acts.
The amendments codify Health Canada's previous approach to treated articles under the PCPR, providing a new level of clarity and certainty that will impact the manufacture and importation of treated articles in Canada.
Reach out to a Gowling WLG professional to discuss how we can help you and your business understand this regulatory change and how it may impact your business.