Standing Committee on Health Tuesday, January 27, 2015 Chair HESA

Standing Committee on Health Tuesday, January 27, 2015 Chair HESA
Standing Committee on Health
HESA
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NUMBER 047
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2nd SESSION
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EVIDENCE
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Chair
Mr. Ben Lobb
41st PARLIAMENT
1
Standing Committee on Health
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
● (1530)
[English]
The Chair (Mr. Ben Lobb (Huron—Bruce, CPC)): Good
afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back. We're ready to
begin our meeting.
In our first hour we're going to be looking at Bill C-608, an act
respecting a national day of the midwife. The author of the bill is
here today.
Thank you very much, Ms. Doré Lefebvre. You have 10 minutes
to bring some remarks. Go ahead.
[Translation]
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre (Alfred-Pellan, NDP): Thank you
very much, Mr. Chair.
I would first like to thank the hon. members of the Standing
Committee on Health for taking the time today to study my bill,
Bill C-608, An Act respecting a National Day of the Midwife. I
would also like to thank the many midwives who worked with me on
this matter.
The reality of midwifery is quite different from coast to coast, be it
in the heart of the Northwest Territories or in downtown Toronto.
Their openness and generosity have enabled me to better understand
their world and the impact their work has on our society. My special
thanks go to the Canadian Association of Midwives, the National
Aboriginal Council of Midwives and the Ordre des sages-femmes du
Québec for their contribution.
Last fall, the House of Commons was unanimously in favour of
the bill. As parliamentarians, we were able to show our support for
Canadian midwives and our commitment to recognizing May 5 as
the National Day of the Midwife.
As you can see, the title of Bill C-608 really reflects its intent:
recognizing midwifery by designating May 5 as the National Day of
the Midwife.
The World Health Organization introduced the International Day
of the Midwife in 1992. That day is recognized in a number of
countries around the world. That is why May 5 has been kept as the
date for the National Day of the Midwife.
Whether here or abroad, the work of midwives is needed to keep
mothers and children healthy. Although the number of midwives is
going up every year in Canada, less than 5% of the population has
access to their services, which is not enough to meet the demand.
The situation is even more desperate in aboriginal or remote
communities, where giving birth is completely different from the
reality of big cities. The presence of midwives in remote areas helps
communities reconnect with the ancestral practices they hold dear.
It is also important to point out that Canadian midwives are
recognized internationally for the quality of their work. We can be
very proud of them.
I sincerely believe that the main thing here is to highlight the
invaluable work that midwives accomplish daily. That is why I
brought forward Bill C-608.
I will be pleased to answer any questions members of the
committee may have.
Thank you.
● (1535)
[English]
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Next up, from the Canadian Association of Midwives, is Ms.
Hébert.
Go ahead.
[Translation]
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert (President, Canadian Association of
Midwives): Thank you Mr. Chair and committee members for the
opportunity to appear today to testify as part of the committee’s
study of Bill C-608, An Act respecting a National Day of the
Midwife. I would also like to thank the sponsor of the bill, member
of Parliament Rosane Doré Lefebvre who introduced this bill in the
House of Commons and who has personally championed the cause
of midwifery in Canada. We also extend our gratitude to member of
Parliament Peggy Nash for the work that she has done to establish a
National Day of the Midwife in Canada.
The International Day of the Midwife was formally established
in 1992 by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).
Since then, every year, May 5 marks the day of celebration for
midwifery globally, a day that reminds the world of the essential role
that midwives play in ensuring healthy outcomes for mothers and
their newborns. Statements in support of International Day of the
Midwife have been issued by the United Nations Population Fund
(UNFPA), the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics
(FIGO) and by the World Health Organization (WHO).
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HESA-47
The Canadian Association of Midwives firmly believes that
Bill C-608 is an important step in showing appreciation for the vital
contribution that midwives make to the delivery of safe, quality
maternity care to Canadian families and to the important role that
midwives play in delivering thousands of healthy Canadian babies.
We would like to thank committee members Dr. Colin Carrie,
Dr. Hedy Fry and members of Parliament Lois Brown and Peggy
Nash who have echoed this appreciation in their statements delivered
in the House of Commons in 2013 and in 2014 in recognition of
May 5 as the International Day of the Midwife. And of course, CAM
is very grateful to all political parties for the unanimous support the
bill has received to date.
The Canadian Association of Midwives is the national organization representing midwives and the profession of midwifery in
Canada. CAM's mission is to provide leadership and advocacy for
midwifery as a regulated, publicly funded and vital part of the
primary maternity care system in all Canadian jurisdictions.
CAM also works to support the interests and objectives of
13 provincial and territorial midwifery associations, as well as the
National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM). There are
currently just over 1,300 practising midwives in Canada. Midwifery
in Canada provides a model of care that is evidence-based, womencentred, safe, and cost-effective. Registered midwives are health
professionals who provide primary care to women and their babies
during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. They are often
the first point of entry to maternity services, and are fully responsible
for clinical decisions and the management of care within their scope
of practice.
Midwifery models of care vary across the country, but all are
based on the principles of continuity of care provider, informed
choice, and choice of birth place, such as hospitals, birth centres and
homes.
Midwives provide a complete course of low-risk prenatal,
intrapartum and postnatal care and services for mothers and their
newborns. These include physical examinations, screening and
diagnostic tests, the assessment of risk and abnormal conditions, and
the conduct of normal vaginal deliveries.
January 27, 2015
● (1540)
Midwifery services also help to reduce wait times in emergency
rooms because midwives are on-call and directly accessible to their
clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
According to statistics from Ontario, midwives currently achieve
caesarean section rates that match the World Health Organization's
recommended rate of 15%. If midwifery care was widely instituted,
this reduction alone could potentially save millions of dollars a year
in health care spending.
There are seven universities in five provinces offering a four-year
midwifery education baccalaureate program, and a number of
community-based midwifery education programs in first nations
and Inuit communities. In spite of this, only 2% to 5% of women in
Canada currently have access to midwifery care services.
And why is this? In New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island,
Newfoundland and Labrador, and in the Yukon, the profession is still
unregulated and unsupported by the public health care system, so
families do not have access to midwifery care.
In federal jurisdictions, such as on reserve, penitentiaries and
military bases, communities face numerous barriers when attempting
to implement midwifery services. These attempts most often result in
failure to improve health services and to offer birthing services closer
to home.
The World Health Organization, UN agencies and other global
partners have identified midwives as key to achieving reductions in
maternal and infant mortality. Through the Muskoka initiative and
more recent investments by the government in international
maternal, newborn and child health, Canada has played a role
globally in helping to increase women’s access to quality maternity
care.
Midwives work in collaboration with other health professionals,
and consult with or refer individuals to medical specialists as
appropriate. In jurisdictions where midwives work to the fullest
scope, midwifery practice includes epidural monitoring, induction
for post-term pregnancy and augmentation of labour by pharmacological means, prescription or fitting of contraceptives, baby care
beyond the six-week postpartum period, and many other aspects of
primary care.
However, a 2013 UNICEF report found that Canada domestically
ranked 22 out of 29 developed countries for infant mortality rates.
This concerning figure is mostly attributed to the higher rates among
aboriginal communities where women must leave their community
for weeks to give birth in urban centres, away from their families and
support systems.
Midwives are experts in normal births and therefore help to reduce
high rates of interventions. Women who experience midwife-led
continuity models of care are less likely to experience antenatal
hospitalization, regional analgesia and episiotomy, and their newborns are more likely to have a shorter hospital stay and fewer
readmissions.
Midwifery can play a significant role in ensuring better access to
care for women and their babies and CAM looks forward to
opportunities to work with the federal government and with the
provinces and territories to improve access to maternal and newborn
health care in Canada.
January 27, 2015
HESA-47
In June 2017, Canada will host the world’s triennial global
midwifery congress in Toronto. Over 4,000 midwives and maternity
care providers from around the globe will be in Canada to learn and
discuss on issues regarding global maternal, newborn and child
health. This will be a one of a kind opportunity for us to demonstrate
to the world Canada’s contributions and to share what Canada is
doing within its own borders to ensure fair and equitable maternity
care for all Canadians.
Evidence from around the world demonstrates that midwives are
essential to improving the lives of mothers and babies. Let us work
together to ensure that in June of 2017, when midwives and health
professionals from around the world gather in Toronto, that Canada
is seen as a leader in the delivery of safe, equitable and cost-effective
community-based maternal, newborn and child health services for all
Canadians and continues to be a global leader in this area.
We applaud the government's Muskoka initiative and more recent
global investments in maternal, newborn and child health that have
helped to train midwives and skilled birth attendants, and increased
women's access to quality midwifery services internationally.
● (1545)
The Canadian Association of Midwives continues to play an
important role in ensuring Canadian expertise is being fully utilized
to strengthen midwifery globally.
In closing, Canadian midwifery is a model of maternity care that
provides excellent patient satisfaction, while decreasing rates of
intervention and providing cost-effective care. This model is
especially suited for providing care in rural and remote communities
where transportation costs to transfer patients are staggeringly high.
Midwives benefit from flexibility and sustainability when they
work to their fullest scope of practice, which is why this model
should be explored and expanded by those looking for innovative
models of care.
We are thrilled to be hosting the ICM global midwifery congress
in Canada in 2017 and see this as an opportunity for Canada to shine
even more on the global stage. Bill C-608 is an important step
towards recognizing the growing profession of midwifery and the
essential role midwives play in the delivery of maternity care and its
potential to enhance our health care system across the country.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee and
I look forward to any questions you may have.
[English]
The Chair: Thank you very much.
3
the peoples of the Algonquin nation whose unceded territory I am
visiting today.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and committee members, for the
opportunity to appear today to testify as part of the committee's study
on Bill C-608, an act respecting a national day of the midwife. I
would also like to thank the sponsor of the bill, member of
Parliament Rosane Doré Lefebvre, who introduced this bill, and who
has personally championed the cause of midwifery in Canada and is
helping bring to light the challenges we face in our communities. We
also extend our gratitude to member of Parliament Peggy Nash for
the work she has done to establish a national day of the midwife in
Canada.
NACM believes that Bill C-608 is an important step in showing
appreciation for the vital contribution that midwives make to the
delivery of maternity care in Canada. NACM also believes this bill
will bring much needed visibility to the work of aboriginal midwives
in supporting health and healing within our communities. Aboriginal
midwives have always worked in the community, carrying the
cultural knowledge for safe childbirth, yet our work has become
almost invisible over the past 100 years due to the medicalization of
childbirth. We are working hard to reclaim our role, and legislation
such as Bill C-608 offers further support to this essential work.
We would like to thank committee members Dr. Colin Carrie, Dr.
Hedy Fry, and members of Parliament Lois Brown and Peggy Nash,
who have echoed this appreciation in their statements in the House
of Commons. NACM is also grateful to all political parties for the
unanimous support the bill has received to date.
NACM's vision is to see aboriginal midwives practising in every
aboriginal community. We believe that aboriginal midwives working
in every aboriginal community is a safe and cost-effective way to
deliver maternity services. Our knowledge and role in protecting,
caring for, and honouring women as life-givers are essential for
community healing and connect us all.
Next up, from the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, we
have Ms. Blais.
Go ahead.
Ms. Ellen Blais (Co-Chair, National Aboriginal Council of
Midwives): Good afternoon. My name is Ellen Kanika Tsi Tsa Blais.
I am an aboriginal midwife from the Oneida Nation of the Thames,
which is one of the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. I am
from the Haudenosaunee territory, the people of the longhouse, and I
am honoured to be here today as co-chair of the National Aboriginal
Council of Midwives, otherwise known as NACM. I want to thank
NACM is a diverse group of indigenous midwives, midwife
elders, and student midwives from all regions of Canada. Members
include both registered midwives and midwives practising under
certain exemption clauses of provincial health legislation. We
promote excellence in reproductive care for Inuit, first nations, and
Métis women. We advocate for the restoration of indigenous
midwifery education and choice of birthplace for all aboriginal
communities, consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples.
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HESA-47
Aboriginal midwives bring wellness back into the community and
enable the creation of sacred, powerful healing spaces. An aboriginal
midwife is a committed primary health care provider who is fully
responsible for clinical decisions and the management of low-risk
prenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal care. She promotes breastfeeding, nutrition, and parenting skills. She is a leader, mentor, and
keeper of ceremonies. Aboriginal midwives work with other health
care professionals, including doctors, pediatricians, or other
specialists when needed, and advocate for culturally safe care.
In 2012, NACM was recognized by the Health Council of Canada
as a promising practice in aboriginal health. There are currently 11
midwifery practices in Canada dedicated to providing care in
aboriginal communities. Our work is promising, but the road ahead
is long. Today, very few aboriginal communities have access to
midwives, and most women give birth outside their communities.
I invite you to take a moment and imagine your families. You are
about to become a grandparent for the first time. You are thrilled.
You have been waiting for this moment for months, helping your
daughter prepare for this beautiful time. You are eager to meet your
first grandchild. Your daughter is nervous about the birth and you
reassure her. You have made a small gift for the baby and you give it
to your daughter when you see her off at the airport. She is flying to
Thunder Bay to have her baby as per the evacuation policy, since the
community you live in does not have maternity services. You bid her
an emotional goodbye. You try to stay in touch by phone over the
weeks while she waits for labour to begin and you worry about how
you are going to pay for phone bills you cannot afford.
● (1550)
Your family gathers at the home of her husband and awaits the
news of the baby's arrival. The next afternoon, you learn that the
baby was born by C-section that morning. It's a girl. You and your
daughter's husband long desperately to hold the baby, to welcome
her. You are told that you will able to in about a week's time.
When your daughter returns, she is emotional and exhausted after
a long and lonely four weeks away. She thought that she would
breastfeed her baby, as she learned it was the best choice to make,
but she was not able to find the support she needed while so far
away. You know that she has started to formula-feed her baby, and
you once again worry about the cost. You thought you would be
overjoyed to meet your grandchild. Instead, you think about how
much you have already missed.
This is what birth looks like today in most of our communities.
Every day families are separated and women give birth alone, even
as a growing body of research points to the health and social costs of
this practice.
Developing maternity services closer to home is an integral part of
the healing process in aboriginal communities. Aboriginal midwives
respect birth as a healthy physiologic process, and honour each birth
as a spiritual journey. We believe aboriginal women have the
inherent right to choose our caregivers and be active decision-makers
in our health. Working closely with women to restore identity and
health from the time of birth enables us to heal from historical and
ongoing trauma, addictions, and violence. When birth is absent, so is
the power and joy of the birth story, and within it, the threads of
connections to oneself, family, community, and the cosmos.
January 27, 2015
In many cases aboriginal midwives are the first and only health
professionals a woman sees throughout her pregnancy. We have a
unique opportunity to build trusting relationships with the health
care system that have a ripple effect into the health of the family and
the community. For example, the success of the Inuulitsivik Health
Centre, one of three Nunavut birthing centres, has been recognized
on several international platforms, including the World Health
Organization. Since 1986, locally trained Inuit midwives have been
providing cost-effective care along the Hudson Bay coast. Birth
evacuations have since dropped from 91% in 1983 to just 9% in
1998, drastically cutting costs. Bringing birth closer to home is
possible.
In federal jurisdictions such as reserves, communities face
significant barriers when attempting to implement midwifery
services. At this time there is no federal funding for midwives to
practice on reserve except for reallocated funds transferred to the
First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia.
I once had the honour of being involved in a young woman's
healing through the transformative power of birth with aboriginal
midwives in Toronto. This woman was from one of the Cree nations
from western Canada. She had already given birth to several babies,
each one apprehended into the child welfare system while living out
west. She had sustained a childhood full of sexual abuse from family
members who, while attending residential school, had not experienced a healthy and loving childhood but had experienced only
sexual, physical, and emotional abuse from their teachers. She began
taking drugs to numb the pain. When she arrived in Toronto she was
pregnant, and was supported to connect with aboriginal midwives
for her birth.
She was convinced she did not have the capacity to care for her
baby, and was planning to relinquish him at birth to the Children's
Aid Society. The aboriginal midwives surrounded her at the birth
with care and compassion, singing and drumming her baby into the
world. She told me that at that time she felt like all of her ancestors
were there at this birth. Her baby was born at sunrise. Later on his
spirit name was given to him by an elder who was not aware of the
time of his birth but through the connection of spirit gave him the
name “He who brings in the light”. From that moment on, she began
to learn how to care for herself. After a year of hard work, inspired
and supported by her aboriginal midwives, she brought her son home
to stay.
January 27, 2015
HESA-47
Globally, NACM is among the first national professional
associations of indigenous midwives. Worldwide, other indigenous
midwives look to NACM as leaders. In 2017 the global midwifery
conference will be hosted in Toronto, and NACM will have the
opportunity to showcase our groundbreaking on the global stage.
Bill C-608 is a first step to recognizing the essential role that
midwives play in ensuring the health of our communities. It is one
action that continues to bring visibility to our work of creating strong
identities for our children, strength for our women, deep bonds in our
families, and a healthy future for our communities.
● (1555)
I want to close with a prayer by Katsi Cook, a mentor midwife,
that we use in our medicine circle for blessing births: Relax where
you are and feel your weight supported by Mother Earth. Breathe in
the oxygen. It is part of the sky and part of each one of us. I give
thanks, for peacefully you are born. I pray that peacefully your life
will be ongoing, because as I think of you clearly, I know you will
always be loved.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before this committee,
and I look forward to any questions you may have.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
First up in our round of questions is Ms. Davies.
Go ahead, please.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Thank you very
much, Mr. Chairperson.
First of all, to Madam Doré Lefebvre, thank you so much for
appearing today. It's just a delight to have you here with this very
important bill. I think we all know that you've done a lot of work on
this bill and you've had tremendous support across the country. It's
truly wonderful that it was adopted unanimously at second reading in
the House of Commons, and here we are today at committee. Thank
you for being here to speak to your bill.
To both of our witnesses, thank you also for being here. I feel very
happy that we can give some support and visibility to this issue. You
do incredible work, yet Canadians know very little about what you
do and who you are. I think just your testimony today, and the stories
you've told us, and the prayer you've repeated for us, give us an
understanding of how important the work is that you do and the
difference it makes in individual lives and the life of a whole
community.
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challenges you have. In particular, it's very disappointing to know
that there aren't federal dollars for midwives on reserve and in
aboriginal communities, excepting, I think you said, through other
transfers with B.C. I do remember, from former discussions we've
had with you, that there is an issue involving something to do with
the classifications at the Treasury Board. I would love it if you could
remind us of what this issue is. I figure at least there is something
that we might be able to follow up on. I hope the bill will go through
and it will go back to the House, but maybe there's another matter
that this health committee could follow up on. It is clearly within
federal jurisdiction.
I wonder if both of you could remind us about this issue that
you've been battling away on at the Treasury Board for so long, and
maybe we can assist in some way.
● (1600)
Ms. Ellen Blais: Thank you very much, Ms. Davies, for your
comment. I appreciate that and your question.
I think an important barrier has been identified in terms of having
equal access to midwifery care across Canada and ensuring equity
across Canada as well for midwifery care. Currently there is no
occupational classification with the Treasury Board to enable federal
governments to hire midwives under federal jurisdictions. That's one
of the things we're really working on, trying to find a pathway to
make that more noticeable.
Ms. Libby Davies: How long have you been working on that, by
the way?
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert: Two years.
Ms. Ellen Blais: It's over two years now.
Ms. Libby Davies: What does the absence of that classification
mean? If you don't have that classification, does that mean midwives
can't be hired through federal programs? What does it mean in
practical terms?
Ms. Ellen Blais: On reserves, for example, or in federal
jurisdictions right now there are a number of job classifications.
For example, doctors and other health care professionals can be hired
to work on reserve, but there is no federal classification to hire a
midwife, so it simply isn't possible.
Ms. Libby Davies: Thank you for raising this, or for responding
to my question.
I don't want to use the word “shocking”, but it's really quite
incredible that there are only 1,300 of you across the country. You're
actually a very small group of women who are doing incredible
work. I wish we could say that it would triple and quadruple. I think
the goal, the philosophy, of closer to home, to being in-home, is so
important. It's something that changes a woman's experience in her
life about childbirth. Thank you for what you do.
Chairperson, I know we're dealing with a bill today, but I'm
actually hoping that as a result of hearing from our witnesses today,
possibly this committee, through you as the chair, would be willing
to write a letter to the Minister of Health and to the Treasury Board
just encouraging and supporting that this classification get dealt
with. I'm not even posing it as a formal motion, but I think if there's
an interest, I'm sure you, as the chair, could write a very appropriate
and sensible letter just pointing out this obstacle that still exists.
Of course the bill is very important because it does give
recognition to May 5. It's already an international day, but it's
important that we give recognition to this day in Canada.
I would like to put that forward and hope that other members of
the committee might support that.
I don't really want to ask you about what you do so much, as time
is limited. I want to focus more, I think, on the obstacles and what
Thank you.
The Chair: You still have some time.
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Ms. Libby Davies: I'm happy to pass it around and make sure that
others get heard.
The Chair: Okay. Next up we have Mr. Lunney.
Go ahead, sir.
Mr. James Lunney (Nanaimo—Alberni, CPC): Thank you very
much, Mr. Chair.
I welcome our witnesses today.
Congratulations to you, Madam Rosane Doré Lefebvre, for
bringing this issue forward. I think you saw from the response in the
House, the unanimous agreement, that we all accept your idea as a
very worthy one.
I'm interested in the fact that when you speak en français you
regard midwives as sage-femmes. That's a very interesting term. I
don't know where the term “midwife” came from; it's been in use a
long time. To say “sage-femme” implies something that's a very
useful concept in understanding the role of a midwife in helping
women who are having babies, who are usually young women and
need the benefit of a sage-femme, someone with experience,
someone who has been around the birthing experience, especially
in our day and age when in regard to such knowledge there's a lot of
fearmongering. There's a lot of fear related to childbirth, which I
think for most births is unnecessary. The majority of births—far and
beyond the majority—still are very low risk and are a normal health
experience in the human family.
I appreciate your being here now to have this discussion. You
mentioned a few interesting things. Part of your remarks was about
how the presence of midwives helps communities, and I think it's a
tragedy when women have to go far away from their families and
their communities to have babies. It's certainly better to have them
right in their own communities.
Also, if I can speak for the dads, I think having the dad there is
probably a good idea, because they're supposed to have a role in
raising a child as well, and increasingly that's a problem. For the dad
to miss out on the birthing event is a real tragedy of another order. It
seems to me that the dad should be engaging in conversations with
the baby, who after all is in an aqueous medium, and as hearing is the
first of our higher senses to develop, the babies therefore are
sensitive to the sounds around them. Therefore, the baby also is
much more comfortable being born in their own environment. A
home birth is probably preferable, because those are the sounds the
baby is used to, and the music they're used to, and the normal sounds
in their own home environment are far different from what you find
in a hospital setting.
I think there's a lot of interest today.
Ellen, you mentioned the example of a young mom who wanted to
breastfeed but there was no one there, really, in a busy hospital
environment to help her through the practical challenges. There's a
missed opportunity. For most babies, they need just a little gentle
coaching and assistance. There's a lot of attention to skin-on-skin
contact and how important that is for babies at the beginning, so
whisking them away, wrapping them up, and putting them somewhere else immediately is not the best way to respond.
January 27, 2015
I think midwives certainly excel in all of those things related to
birth. You have a tremendous role in getting that message out, in
helping babies come into the world effectively and in a more
comfortable manner, and in helping the mothers to get off to a good
start. Also, I'm going to put a word back in for the dads, because they
should be involved. I think most midwives would want to have the
dad there as well if possible.
Anyway, I just want to say that I think because there are only
1,400 of you.... I thought it was 1,400, but I think Ms. Davies said
there were 1,300 registered midwives. First of all, can you confirm
the number? Also, for the record, would you tell us about the
training of midwives in Canada? I think a lot of Canadians don't
understand the formal training that you undergo today.
● (1605)
[Translation]
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert: Thank you very much for your
question. I will answer it in French.
Canada has 1,300 registered midwives right now, and this number
is increasing very rapidly. Our profession is growing quickly, given
that seven universities now offer midwifery education. They offer a
bachelor's degree that can be completed in four years or even in four
and a half years in some places. The training is very practical,
providing midwifery students with many opportunities to work with
pregnant women and babies.
Training programs are also offered in first nations communities, in
general, and Inuit communities across Canada. Those few training
programs are really tailored to the needs of aboriginal midwives.
There is also a bridging program for midwives with training from
abroad. Midwives from Europe, Latin America and the United States
can benefit from a fast-track program and come to work in Canada.
That is why the midwifery profession is growing quite significantly
at the moment. We hope that it will double, or even triple, quite
quickly.
In Canada, midwives are quite independent in their work in the
sense that they practice their profession primarily outside hospitals.
They are responsible for prenatal follow-ups and, after delivery,
postnatal follow-ups, as well as normal deliveries by healthy women.
Internationally trained midwives need to be retrained because the
Canadian midwifery model of care is not used in all the countries.
Therefore, midwives who come from abroad must often relearn this
independence and develop sound clinical judgment to be able to
work independently.
Our training programs are currently recognized internationally.
They are considered the gold standard around the world for helping
midwives develop independence and clinical judgment. More and
more countries, where the training was not at university level or was
not a four-year university degree, are trying to increase midwives'
level of training to achieve a level comparable to the one we have
here. In short, our Canadian midwives are extremely well trained.
January 27, 2015
HESA-47
● (1610)
[English]
Mr. James Lunney: Thanks.
Can I ask about payment for your service? In most provinces and
jurisdictions, is it considered an insured service, or are payments all
private?
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert: They are Newfoundland and Labrador,
New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and the Yukon.
Ms. Lise St-Denis: Thank you.
[English]
The Chair: Very good.
[Translation]
Mr. Young, you're up next. Go ahead.
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert: In provinces where the profession is
regulated, any related services are covered under provincial health
care plans. That is what we are recommending for all of Canada.
Mr. Terence Young (Oakville, CPC): Thank you, Chair.
[English]
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Lunney.
We're now up to Ms. St-Denis.
Go ahead.
[Translation]
Ms. Lise St-Denis (Saint-Maurice—Champlain, Lib.): Thank
you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Hébert, do you think that proposing this National Day of the
Midwife will help this profession gain official recognition? If there is
an official day, people may talk more about it but will it actually give
midwives a more official status?
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert: I think that any recognition of the role
of midwives is currently more than welcome. This is a major first
step toward recognition at the federal level of the important part
midwives play in primary maternity care in Canada.
Will it ensure that the profession will change or be recognized
with a capital “R” overnight? Of course not, but I think it really is a
major step in the right direction.
[English]
Ms. Ellen Blais: I'd like to add to that. We are holding an
international congress of midwives in 2017, which would be an
opportunity for the government to highlight some of the successes it
has had in maternal and child health internationally and perhaps on
the national stage as well. Going forward, if we have a national day
of the midwife, then we could align that quite well with the
International Day of the Midwife.
Thank you.
[Translation]
Ms. Lise St-Denis: I would like to ask a second question, for
information purposes.
At the start, I think Ms. Doré Lefebvre said that midwifery is
recognized by five provinces. Which ones?
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: It wasn't me. I think it was
Emmanuelle who said that.
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert: Midwifery is not recognized in three
provinces and one territory.
Ms. Lise St-Denis: So it is not recognized in certain provinces
and territories.
7
Thank you, everyone, for being here today. It's so interesting. I
first became aware of the advantage of a doula when my daughter
delivered my first grandchild, my granddaughter, two and a half
years ago. To have someone dedicated to her and focused on her,
especially on the day of delivery, was fantastic for her. She raves
about it.
Madam Hébert, could you tell me the difference between a
midwife and a doula? That would be helpful.
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert: That's a good question and an
important one actually.
[Translation]
People often confuse these two roles.
In French, we also use the word “accompagnante”. That person
has no clinical responsibility. She helps the mother, the family and
the spouse, and plays a supportive role during childbirth. She can
also provide breastfeeding support, while the midwife, who has four
years of university training, is a true health care professional
responsible for monitoring a pregnant woman during her pregnancy,
labour and up to six weeks after delivery.
Does that answer your question, Mr. Young?
[English]
Mr. Terence Young: That's very helpful. Thank you. I understand
that fully.
Again, Madam Hébert, I recently read something written by Dr.
Aaron Caughey who is chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon
Health and Science University. He said there was no proven benefit
to the 60% increase in C-section births in the United States between
1996 and 2009. They were not accompanied by a decrease in rates of
death or disease in newborns. The rates for C-sections have been
heading back down since 2009.
Could you please comment? Why were they doing all these Csections if there was no proven benefit?
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert: That's a really good question again.
Maybe we need to ask them.
[Translation]
I will give you a very personal answer.
8
HESA-47
I think that there has been an overmedicalization of childbirth for
several years now. I am convinced that the people whose decisions
led to this process had good intentions. They meant to save more
women and babies, and believed that the interventions that were
appropriate for at-risk situations were also appropriate for lower-risk
pregnancies.
Unfortunately, we have seen that these interventions often cause a
chain reaction. They start by using certain anaesthetics during
labour, which might make it necessary to use forceps to deliver the
baby, might lead to the use of medication to restart the contractions,
which can cause distress in babies and therefore lead to higher rates
of caesareans. This is what we call a cascade of interventions. This is
increasingly being acknowledged in obstetrics.
I don't think all of this was motivated by bad intentions. I think all
the doctors had the commendable intention of trying to save lives
and babies. However, it did not achieve the desired results and
people worldwide now question these interventions.
● (1615)
[English]
Ms. Ellen Blais: I would just like to add to that. The World Health
Organization recommends about a 15% C-section rate internationally. We're seeing much higher rates than that now, of course.
Mr. Terence Young: Are they coming down in Canada, in your
experience, Madam Blais?
Ms. Ellen Blais: Definitely with midwives the C-section rates are
coming down, but they are not in general.
Mr. Terence Young: Madam Blais, you mentioned that in first
nations, most women give birth outside the communities and you
mentioned an evacuation policy. Could you please tell the committee
whose policy that is? I am unfamiliar with that term.
You also mentioned that in Hudson Bay, because of the birthing
centres—91% of births were outside the community—that number is
now down to 9%. Can you tell us what has changed?
Thirdly, what is British Columbia doing that is different?
Sorry, it's three questions in one.
Ms. Ellen Blais: Could you please repeat the first part of the
question again?
Mr. Terence Young: Whose policy is the evacuation policy?
Ms. Ellen Blais: Well, we're not entirely sure. We believe it is a
federal policy, but we don't know where it originated from. It is hard
to find that data sometimes. But the policy across Canada is that
women leave their home communities around 36 to 37 weeks of
pregnancy and are flown out to many thousands of kilometres away.
It depends on where they live.
Mr. Terence Young: That sounds like the answer I just got from
Madam Hébert. I'm not sure where it came from, but it had
unintended consequences. There were good intentions but unintended consequences.
January 27, 2015
Ms. Ellen Blais: That is because in northern Quebec a treaty was
made with the federal government allowing Inuit midwives to work
within their own communities, and I believe, to be paid by the
federal government through a mechanism within the treaty process.
Those Inuit midwives are working in their communities, and because
of the relationship that is formed between the midwife and the client
herself, very often we have fewer interventions taking place. So
those women stay within their communities and they're not flown
out, because they have a normal vaginal birth and there's no reason
to fly them out.
Mr. Terence Young: What is British Columbia doing that is
different?
Ms. Ellen Blais: They now have a tripartite agreement so federal
dollars flow to B.C., which then flows that money directly onto
reserves, and then they make those choices regarding who the care
providers on reserve will be.
Mr. Terence Young: Madam Hébert, do you recommend or do
midwives recommend a birth plan? If so, how much, if any,
resistence to a birth plan do expectant mothers get from the medical
profession?
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert: Midwives do continuity of care with
clients, so normally during pregnancy they will discuss the couple's
preferences for the birth.
So it's quite different, because we don't necessarily go to a
hospital. If the couple chooses to go to a hospital, we will be
responsible for that birth with them unless we transfer the care.
When we transfer the care, we don't necessarily ask them to have a
birth plan because then we get into complications. We transfer the
care because it's not about trying to protect a normal birth. When we
transfer the care, it's because it's getting into interventions so it's
quite different.
During the pregnancy, we do discuss with the couples we are
following their preferences and what they want for the birth.
Decision-making is an important part of how we work. We call it le
choix éclairé or informed choice. They can decide on a lot of the
different details of what is going to happen and how it is going to
happen in their birth, starting with where they are going to give birth.
● (1620)
Mr. Terence Young: Many thanks.
The Chair: I think that's it. Thank you very much.
We are pretty well up against the time, because we do have a few
things to do. Does anybody in the committee have any final thoughts
or comments they'd like to make?
Ms. Ellen Blais: That's right.
Mr. Terence Young: The second part was about the 91% that
went down to 9%. How did that change happen?
Ms. Nash, do you have a quick question or a quick comment? We
can give you that.
January 27, 2015
HESA-47
Ms. Peggy Nash (Parkdale—High Park, NDP): I would
appreciate that.
The Chair: Please go ahead.
Ms. Peggy Nash: I want to thank Madam Doré Lefebvre for
bringing the bill forward.
Thank you to the witnesses.
I actually have many questions but if I get only one short one, I
guess it would be this, and it may be similar to Madam St-Denis'
question. We know that access to midwives and midwifery is uneven
across the country, especially for first nation communities. I have
been to a NACM midwives conference, which was very moving.
Given the differences in services, would recognition of a national
day of the midwife help promote midwifery and encourage
provinces and women across the country to perhaps seek greater
access to midwifery services? How can we as parliamentarians
support you in that important work?
[Translation]
The question is for both witnesses.
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert: I think recognizing midwifery through
a national day gives great visibility to the profession and also
provides a certain authority that will enable women and various
professional associations to work on introducing regulations in the
various provinces where the profession is unregulated. I think it will
be an important lever in that respect and will provide visibility we
cannot ignore.
Ms. Peggy Nash: Thank you.
[English]
Ms. Ellen Blais: Thank you for the question, Ms. Nash.
I think Ms. Hébert answered your question. Yes, to the extent that
it would give greater visibility across Canada to the profession,
giving greater visibility would then add further support to our
communities across Canada. It would help with that support.
Ms. Peggy Nash: I look forward to supporting you in that work.
Ms. Ellen Blais: Thank you.
Ms. Peggy Nash: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: Thank you.
Mr. Lunney.
Mr. James Lunney: Very briefly, I think congratulations to you
are in order for having attracted the 2017 global midwifery
conference to Toronto. I understand that it will be in Toronto. There
will be a great opportunity between now and then to seek to advance
your work in Canada, where obviously there is a need for expanded
services. Congratulations.
Ms. Emmanuelle Hébert: Thank you, everybody.
Ms. Ellen Blais: Thank you very much.
The Chair: All right. We have to get down to business now and
go through the clause-by-clause consideration. We have our
legislative clerk here to make sure that I don't make any mistakes.
She will elbow me if I'm wrong.
9
Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), the consideration of the
preamble and clause 1, the short title, is postponed.
(Clauses 2 to 4 inclusive agreed to)
The Chair: Shall the short title carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the preamble carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the title carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the bill carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the chair report the bill to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Thank you very much. I think that is everything.
Those were all the tough questions I had.
Thank you. Congratulations. We're going to suspend here for a
few—
Yes?
● (1625)
Ms. Libby Davies: Could I again suggest this and see if the chair
is interested in writing a letter for the committee on the issue of the
occupational classification at the Treasury Board? Is that possible?
The Chair: Okay. Anything is possible, yes. Thank you, Ms.
Davies.
Ms. Libby Davies: Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you to our guests and our witnesses. We're
going to suspend for a couple of minutes and then come back. Just to
show you how flexible this committee is, we're now going to study
the pest control act.
Voices: Oh, oh!
The Chair: We'll be right back.
● (1625)
(Pause)
● (1630)
The Chair: We're back in session.
We'll now move on to a statutory review of the the pest control
act.
Today our witnesses are from the Pest Management Regulatory
Agency: Mr. Aucoin, Mr. Flint, and Ms. Moase.
Mr. Aucoin, go ahead, sir, when you're ready.
Mr. Richard Aucoin (Executive Director, Pest Management
Regulatory Agency, Department of Health): Thank you, Mr.
Chair.
10
HESA-47
[Translation]
Good morning, Mr. Chair and honourable members of the
committee. My name is Richard Aucoin, and I am the executive
director of Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency.
I am very pleased to be here today to provide some opening
remarks about the Pest Control Products Act as you begin your
review.
I am accompanied today by my colleagues from PMRA,
Connie Moase, director of the Health Evaluation Directorate, and
Jason Flint, director of the Policy, Communications and Regulatory
Affairs Directorate.
PMRA regulates pesticides in Canada under the Pest Control
Products Act, on behalf of the Minister of Health, with the primary
objective of preventing unacceptable risks to both people and the
environment from the use of pesticides.
This is achieved, first and foremost, through a comprehensive
science-based pre-market assessment and approval process. In
addition, the act provides for post-market activities, such as cyclical
re-evaluations, special reviews, monitoring, and compliance and
enforcement activities.
January 27, 2015
standards. For example, we establish maximum residue levels for
pesticides in food under the Pest Control Products Act directly.
A second important area in which the current law was updated is
in the area of transparency and openness. Very specific provisions of
the act mean that our regulatory activities at PMRA within the
department are very accessible to the public. We hold over 30 public
consultations each year on all our major regulatory decisions. For
example, before we make a major regulatory decision on a new
pesticide, we post for consultation the outcome of our scientific
reviews and consult with the public to see if they have concerns,
comments, or additions. As well, the public can inspect the scientific
test data and the information on which we base those decisions.
Through these mechanisms, Canadians have the opportunity to voice
their opinions and concerns regarding proposed regulatory decisions.
The PCPA also contains mechanisms that allow any member of the
public to ask for reconsideration of a major decision, provided, of
course, it's based on scientific grounds.
The current act was revised in 2002 and was brought into force
in 2006. There were three main objectives for the new PCPA: to
strengthen health and environmental protection; to provide a very
transparent regulatory system; and to strengthen the post-registration
control of pesticides.
Canadians can also search our electronic public registry for a wide
range of information on approved pesticides. The registry contains
records of PMRA's decisions and consultations on the approved
products; the strict conditions of use that we impose on pesticides;
the product labels, which are a required part of our approval process
and highly prescriptive; and our regulations, our policies, our
guidelines, and our directives.
I would like to take a minute to give examples of how these
objectives are met by the PCPA.
● (1635)
[English]
Mr. Chair, in 2006 the act was strengthened to provide the
authority to regulate pesticides through their entire life cycle,
including the removal of pesticides that can no longer meet modern
scientific standards. Pesticides can be inherently hazardous substances, so we must take particular care in how we do our scientific
reviews to ensure that there are no unacceptable risks. For example,
we are required by the Pest Control Products Act to take into account
potential pesticide exposure from all sources, including food, air, and
water. This gives us the most accurate picture of the potential risks
associated with the use of pesticides.
Some Canadians, such as children, pregnant women, and the
elderly, may be more sensitive to the effects of pesticide exposure.
As such, the Pest Control Products Act requires that additional
margins of safety be applied to protect these potentially vulnerable
populations.
Science is continually evolving, and new risk assessment methods
are being developed all the time. It's important that we keep up to
date on these new approaches so that we can ensure the highest
degree of protection for Canadians. While the act is very prescriptive
in its approach to health and environmental protection, it also
provides for some flexibility to incorporate new science and new
processes in a rapidly changing regulatory environment. lt also
allows us to more quickly and efficiently establish food safety
The third important area in which the regulation of pesticides was
strengthened under this act was specific provisions of the act that
support our ability to monitor any effects of pesticides after they've
been registered and are being used under real-world conditions, and
to take regulatory action as necessary.
For example, under the act there's an obligation to re-evaluate all
pesticides on a 15-year cycle. This allows us to assess whether they
meet the most current environmental and health standards, and to
mitigate any new risks identified. This can include changing the
allowable uses of a pesticide. That is, we can withdraw specific uses
of a pesticide if it no longer meets our standards.
The current PCPA also has extensive regulation-making authority
that allowed us to introduce new regulations regarding the collection
of post-market information on pesticide use and effects, through
mandatory sales and incident reporting. Manufacturers have been
reporting sales volumes of their products since 2008. Sales data like
this can be used to estimate national use patterns or trends, and this
information is very highly useful in the post-market assessment and
monitoring of products.
January 27, 2015
HESA-47
11
Our incident reporting program, in which the manufacturers are
required by law to report incidents, has been in place since 2007.
Members of the public can also report to us through the Internet or
other means if they are aware of specific incidents. The program
gives PMRA valuable information on any unintended effects of
pesticide use, and allows us to take action when risks are identified.
Incidents are often the result of the intentional or unintentional
misuse of products, and patterns in incidents can help us plan the
best course of action. This information can lead us to engage in
outreach activities and perhaps clarify label requirements to make
consumers more aware of the importance of using the correct
products, and using them according to very specific label directions.
Thank you very much, Mr. Aucoin, for coming here today with
your officials. As a committee, we want to make sure that we have a
proper evaluation of the act because that's what we're required do.
PCPA allows PMRA to carry out a robust compliance and
enforcement program that gives us the power to inspect anyone
regulated under the act, including manufacturers, users, and retailers;
and the capacity to enforce compliance with our regulations using
measures appropriate to each situation. That can mean anything from
education and outreach campaigns, to very significant monetary
penalties.
Mr. Richard Aucoin: First of all, as I indicated in my opening
remarks, we do have sales reporting requirements for the
manufacturers. We have been collecting that information since at
least 2008.
Today, Mr. Chair, the Pest Control Products Act continues to
afford PMRA the flexibility to adapt to changes in the regulatory
climate both at home and abroad. As science evolves, new products
are being developed, new risk assessment and new risk management
approaches are being developed cooperatively in multiple countries.
Joint science reviews are the norm when it comes to evaluating new
pest control products. In fact, Mr. Chair, approximately 50% of the
work that we do in evaluating brand new pest control products in
Canada is done in collaboration with one or more OECD countries
such as the United States, Australia, the U.K., etc. This international
regulatory cooperation creates efficiencies in getting the most
innovative and safest products to market faster, and I think
importantly ensures Canada has both access to and contributes to
the best science in the world when it comes to pest control product
risk assessment. Developments in information management and
technology are also facilitating registration, data sharing, monitoring,
and stakeholder engagement.
The Pest Control Products Act provides authority to protect health
and the environment, to monitor pesticides under real-world
conditions, and to take action when the risks are identified. Through
the transparency provisions of the act, Health Canada is accountable
to all Canadians, who are relying on and counting on a strong
pesticide regulatory framework.
ln conclusion, Mr. Chair, we believe that the current PCPA
continues to be a solid foundation for the delivery of a pesticide
regulatory system that is protective of both the health of Canadians
and their environment.
Thank you.
● (1640)
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Aucoin.
We're going to go to our question and answer session now.
Ms. Davies.
Ms. Libby Davies: Thank you very much.
I have a couple of basic questions first off. The act actually didn't
come into force until 2006.
Mr. Richard Aucoin: Correct.
Ms. Libby Davies: So it's not quite 10 years yet. Is there any
information through your directorate that tells us that pesticide use is
on the increase in Canada, or is it decreased?
The trends in pesticide sales and use in Canada very much follow
trends in agriculture, since that's perhaps the major sector using pest
control products. In some years there are increases in pesticide use,
based on agricultural production. In some years, for example, use of
specific types of pest control products such as agricultural fungicides
tends to increase. For example, in a very wet growing season
sometimes more fungicide types of pest control products are required
than was the case in previous years.
Ms. Libby Davies: Maybe I could phrase it slightly differently.
Do you look at overall trends, even globally, of which Canada would
be a part, that show us that the use of pesticides is generally
increasing? Is there more attention or more public pressure to
actually decrease usage? I'm just wondering whether something like
organic farming, for example, is having an impact in Canada, where
supposedly pesticides aren't used. I'm just curious to know where
this is going. Are we seeing more and more reliance on pesticides, or
are other alternative means being used?
I know, for example, in some of the hothouse farming in B.C. they
try to use alternative methods for tomatoes, cucumbers, and other
things. What is it like overall in Canada in agriculture?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: Certainly as a trend over the last 10 years in
Canada there has been a very large move to introduce many more
non-conventional types of pest control products into the mix. For
example, there's been quite a substantive increase in the use of
biological pesticides, ones that have a much safer profile for the
environment in general. Interest in organic agriculture, as you're
probably aware, has increased significantly in Canada over the years,
so we've had to adapt some of our approaches to make sure we can
still respond to the need for certain types of products in organic
agriculture.
● (1645)
Ms. Libby Davies: In 2013 you did your online consultation. I'm
just curious, is there a summary of that consultation that we can look
at? Are there any commonalities coming out in terms of what
industry, environmental groups, and consumer groups are calling
for? You did the consultation. Is anything being acted upon as a
result of that consultation? What have you heard?
12
HESA-47
January 27, 2015
Mr. Richard Aucoin: Perhaps I can ask my director of policy,
Jason Flint, to answer the question, Mr. Chair, since he was my lead
person on that consultation.
Ms. Eve Adams (Mississauga—Brampton South, CPC): Thank
you very much.
Mr. Jason Flint (Director, Policy, Communications and
Regulatory Affairs Directorate, Pest Management Regulatory
Agency, Department of Health): The online consultation we had,
in which we looked at the application of the act and how it was being
administered, looked at both how the act itself was doing and then
how our process was working. It was done at the same time we were
looking at our cost recovery initiative, which is moving forward. We
looked at what sorts of things stakeholders were looking for us to do.
As we begin the statutory review, it's important that we have a
detailed understanding of your work. When it comes to regulating
substances like pesticides, many Canadians have concerns. The
question sometimes arises about whose interests are being served
when new pesticides are registered. How does your agency make
decisions about pesticides? What gets approved? How are they
allowed to be used? At what point would something be removed
from the market?
Generally they felt that the act was meeting the needs they had
seen. At that time they were pushing us to invest more in certain
areas—for example, operations, trade, and international food
standards. They were looking at alignment of policies and scientific
approaches. They also looked at some of the outreach activities we
do and tried to encourage us to do more of those, and they looked at
the IT infrastructure that we have.
Mr. Richard Aucoin: Mr. Chair, as I indicated in my opening
remarks, the process that's supported by this legislation is a very
rigorous scientific risk assessment, both for human health and for the
environment. We take a completely science-based approach to our
decision-making. It's based on a foundation of data and information
requirements that spans literally 200 studies or more that must come
forward in support of an application to register a new pest control
product.
A lot of what we got back from our consultations was focused on
how we actually operationalize or how we administer the act more so
than on the act itself. Generally the feedback we got on the act was
that it was a fairly solid piece of legislation.
Ms. Libby Davies: In terms of the consultation, were there
divergent views, so that maybe from industry you heard one thing
and from others you heard something else? Are there opposing views
at all in terms of what the act should be doing?
We're here to do a review of the legislation. You know it better
than we do. I'm trying to get at the kinds of changes that have been
suggested. Are you recommending to the committee any changes?
This is what this review is about.
Mr. Jason Flint: We were not proposing any changes to the
legislation at the time. Most of the feedback we got from
stakeholders was that they looked at little things here and there
that they thought they might improve, but overall they thought it
wasn't worth actually opening the act and making any changes at this
time. That was the feedback we got, so we went with that and said
okay. There are always little things you could do, but generally the
belief was that the act was sound and it was working for our
purposes at the time.
Ms. Libby Davies: So officially you're saying there's nothing in
the act that you're recommending to the committee that needs to be
looked at in more detail to be changed...?
Mr. Jason Flint: Not at this time, no.
We do an extensive risk assessment that is very similar to the
approach used by major OECD countries around the world. Major
players, including Canada, work very closely together through fora
such as the OECD to make sure that we're aligned in the data and
information requirements and the science we must have in order to
approve a new pest control product.
At the end of a very detailed, long, scientific assessment, we
ensure that we don't have any unacceptable risks, that we know
exactly how these products are going to be used in the real world,
and that there are no unacceptable risks both on the human health
side and on the environment side. Every pest control product has a
very prescriptive label on how it absolutely must be used; it's a legal
document. We have a very robust compliance and enforcement
program as well in Canada, which ensures that any pest control
products used are used within that framework.
I think Canadians can be confident that Canada, like major
countries—like the United States EPA, which is kind of our
counterpart—takes a very close and detailed look at a pest control
product pre-market, before it gets into the marketplace, to make sure
that it meets our standards of safety before it is allowed into the
environment.
● (1650)
Ms. Libby Davies: Okay.
How does our act compare to other jurisdictions, in the U.S., say,
or in Europe? Would you say that we're tougher on pest control or
are we on par with others? Where are we at?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: My assessment of my counterparts in other
countries is that our legislation is very much in line with that of
major OECD countries, including the United States, the U.K., and
Australia.
The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Davies.
Ms. Adams, you're up.
Ms. Eve Adams: Are there any examples that you could point to
where you have taken action to remove products from the
marketplace?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: Yes. As part of the framework we operate
under, the legislation requires us to do re-evaluations of older
pesticides on a cyclical basis. We have been looking at a body of
older chemicals, older pesticides that have been registered long
before this legislation was in place. As we went through those
products, we ensured that they were up to modern scientific
standards.
January 27, 2015
HESA-47
Originally, I think there was a group of about nearly 400 older
chemicals that we went through. As we went through it, about 25%
of those chemicals did not meet our modern scientific standards and
were either withdrawn by the manufacturers or, for a percentage of
them, some of the uses were dropped off those chemicals because
they no longer met our safety standards, so the way they were used
was modified or the labels were changed.
Certainly, from an older chemicals perspective, we go back and
make sure they meet our modern standards. We take action to make
sure that they don't stay on the market if they don't meet them.
Ms. Eve Adams: I sat on the corporate board of an electricity
corporation. We had many substations for our transformers across
two municipalities. I guess back in the 1950s it seemed to be a
reasonable practice to use arsenic as weed control, so you'd go
around and dig up the arsenic from the soil that remained there 40
years later. Practices certainly do evolve. Our understanding and our
best scientific practices obviously do evolve.
I guess Canadians just want to be assured that we're monitoring
things continuously, that we have the very best available science.
I know that my colleague from the NDP asked how we are
positioned in comparison with some of the leading international
partners. Could you give me a sense of what the top nations would
be? Is Canada among the top nations in reviewing pesticides and
ensuring consumer safety?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: I guess the short answer would be yes.
Canada is one of the top countries.
We participate, for example, in an OECD working group. We are
active in other international fora, including Codex, and the WHO. In
fact, Canada chairs an OECD working group on pesticides that looks
very carefully at all the data information requirements being
requested by OECD countries to ensure the safety of products.
We're not only contributing; we're there at the table. We're very
much playing a leadership role in trying to coordinate some of the
international reviews of the science for pesticides to be sure we're all
on the same page and we're all benefiting from each other's oversight
on pesticides.
Ms. Eve Adams: Thank you.
The Chair: There's a minute and a half left, if you like.
Ms. Eve Adams: Sure. Are there any emerging trends you'd like
to make us aware of?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: As the new science evolves, we have to
spend some time keeping up with that new science, making sure we
are abreast of new developments, whether we're talking about, for
example, the introduction of new technologies or new biological
pesticides. Nanotechnology, as you've probably heard in other
discussions, is one of the technologies that are starting to make
inroads. We have no doubt it's a technology that will be used in the
pest control product field—not yet, but probably down the road—so
we have to keep an eye on that.
We're very active in some of the 21st-century toxicology
discussions with other countries, looking at non-animal testing and
whether we can expand our use of non-animal testing in a bigger
way, yet still provide the safety we need.
13
● (1655)
Ms. Eve Adams: Finally, Canadians are very concerned about
neonics and their impact, in particular, on bee populations. Can you
update us on your best advice and guidance when it comes to
neonics?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: In the context of neonics, first of all,
globally there is a concern for pollinators and the troubles that
pollinators like bees are having in terms of population declines
globally. There is a concern about that. That concern is based on
potentially a lot of factors, from climate change to diseases, pests of
bees themselves, and possibly pesticides. Canada like all OECD
countries, including at the OECD where we chair a working group, is
having discussions about whether or not we can tease apart what is
happening to the pollinator populations. If pesticides are a part of
that, what can we do about that?
Within Canada itself we have had some bee mortality incidents
with neonics, but they've been very much restricted to really high,
intense corn and soybean growing regions of southern Ontario and a
few in Quebec. We believe those incidents are probably the result of
some of the agricultural practice that has resulted in dust going off
those corn and soybean planting areas from seeds that were treated
with the neonics possibly harming the bees.
We're working with stakeholders to try to mitigate that link. In the
last couple of years we've worked very closely with agricultural
stakeholders—the growers, the manufacturers, the beekeepers, the
provinces—to come up with ways to mitigate those risks to bees. So
far we've had some success. Last spring, for example, we saw about
a 70% reduction in the bee mortality rate we had seen in the previous
spring. We've had some success. We still have a lot of work to do to
make sure we're protecting bees.
Together with the United States EPA, the California Department
of Pesticide Regulation, and our international counterparts, we have
been doing an extensive scientific reassessment and re-evaluation of
these neonic pesticides right across their use spectrum to make sure
they can continue to be used safely.
As I say, the only direct link at the moment is with corn and
soybeans in southern Ontario.
Ms. Eve Adams: Is there any jurisdiction that you're aware of that
has—
The Chair: Ms. Adams, we're over, thanks.
Ms. Eve Adams: Thank you.
The Chair: Ms. St-Denis, go ahead.
[Translation]
Ms. Lise St-Denis: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Aucoin, in 2013, you carried out an online consultation
regarding the Pest Control Products Act. What was the general
outcome of that consultation?
14
HESA-47
January 27, 2015
[English]
Mr. Richard Aucoin: As my colleague had indicated, the
consultation on the act itself did not invoke any really strong
reactions from any of the different stakeholders. I think for the most
part, our stakeholders thought the act was relatively modern. I think
they understood that some key provisions were in there. In terms of
protecting environment and health, those were very solid. In terms of
the openness and transparency, for example, before we make any big
regulatory decision we do have to consult with the public on what's
the basis for that decision, what was the science that we received so
that we're proposing to approve this pest control product.
and often the public has provided some very good information and
direction for us. I guess what I'm trying to say is we base our
decisions on science, but we still hear people. We do understand
where their worries and concerns are. Sometimes that helps direct
some of our communications and public outreach with folks, to
make sure they do understand. If people are concerned about
children, and perhaps vulnerable populations, perhaps sometimes we
can explain better what exactly we do in PMRA to consider that. If
children are going to be exposed to a pest control product, how did
we take that into consideration in our decision?
I think, writ large, the answer is that most stakeholders are
satisfied with the administration of the act as it stands today, and
we're not proposing any significant changes to it. Certainly when we
looked at our analysis there are a few administrative places where
you could say, “well, you know, maybe it would be better if this was
clearer, or if that was clearer”, but we also arrived at a conclusion
that some of the things people were asking for we could deal with
through policy changes rather than legislative changes.
● (1700)
[Translation]
Ms. Lise St-Denis: Are people aware of public health? Do you
play a role in raising people's awareness when it comes to pesticides?
Are people in favour of them, are they against them and do they react
to this?
Ms. Lise St-Denis: In other words, is the industry's perspective
more important than the public's when it comes to your behaviour on
these matters?
They reacted to the bees, but let's talk about other things.
[English]
Mr. Richard Aucoin: From a more general perspective, not
specifically the consultation on the act itself, I guess, yes, we deal in
an area where there are quite a bit of opposing views on whether
pesticides are safe or not. We do have a job to do in terms of
communicating to the public the nature of the regulatory role we
have, the extent of the science that we take in order to make our
decisions, and the process that we use to ensure that when those pest
control products are out there, there are no unacceptable risks to both
people and the environment. It is absolutely clear that there are
opposing views. There are very different viewpoints from different
stakeholders. We endeavour to make sure that we can communicate
to the public as much as we can, what the job is that we have, how
we do it, and that it's based on the best science available both here in
Canada and globally.
[Translation]
Ms. Lise St-Denis: How do you react to this opposition? Does it
change things? Do you adopt different methods? How important is
the public's concerns to you? Does that change anything?
You mentioned that a lot of people are against this and disagree
with it. Does it change anything in your behaviour or in your
practice?
[English]
Mr. Richard Aucoin: All our consultations are with the public.
We get a lot of responses back from industry of course, from users,
retailers, lots of different sectors, but we very much listen to the
public. We have to base our decisions on the best science that we
have, but we do very much understand that the public has a view,
[Translation]
[English]
Mr. Richard Aucoin: No. Our primary mandate at the PMRA
and of the Pest Control Products Act is health and environmental
protection. That's our primary mandate.
The Chair: Okay?
Ms. Lise St-Denis: Okay.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. Wilks.
Mr. David Wilks (Kootenay—Columbia, CPC): Thanks, Mr.
Chair.
Thank you to the witnesses for being here today.
If you have a copy of your report, I wonder if you could refer to
page 7. With regard to maximum residue limits, I have a question. In
looking through that report quickly, I see that the “PMRA is actively
involved in ongoing [maximum residue limits] initiatives” and that
“[t]hese ongoing projects should also assist in further aligning MRLs
for major and minor uses of pesticides to minimize trade barriers of
pesticide-treated commodities between global partners”.
I wonder if you could elaborate on precisely how these MRLs will
benefit our trade relations with global partners going forward.
Mr. Richard Aucoin: Certainly.
For MRLs, as I indicated in my opening remarks, the PMRA does
set, under the Pest Control Products Act, the maximum amount of
pesticide residues that can legally be allowed to be found on a food
commodity. We recognize too, though, that because Canada sets
these MRLs, as do other countries around the world, if we have a
different numerical standard than some of these other countries, there
can be issues in terms of the movement of food commodities
between countries.
We have been doing quite a bit of work with, for example,
Agriculture Canada. We've been doing some work with them to try
to understand whether or not where, when, how, and if these MRLs
are causing potential trade barriers around the world. This can have
an impact for market access for some of Canada's exports, for some
Canadian agricultural producers trying to export their commodities
to other markets around the world, which is hugely important for
them. As you know, it's truly a global marketplace now.
January 27, 2015
HESA-47
What we've tried to do is provide our scientific expertise on the
nature of these maximum residue levels, the nature of the data,
information, and science that Canada has behind setting its standard,
and to help share that information with other countries that may have
different data, or information, or a food safety standard-setting
process, so that we can align how we set these standards with other
countries and try to resolve some of these differences.
Very often, the differences in these maximum residue levels
between countries are actually very small, and they don't represent
any kind of true safety difference between countries. A lot of the
time, these are simply irritants because they're small differences. To
be honest, sometimes some countries try to exploit those small
differences to create these trade barriers or maybe to create a
business risk that there might be a trade issue if commodity X is
exported to another country. We've been providing a lot of scientific
expertise, both to agriculture and through our other network of
contacts in OECD countries, as well as the Codex forum on food
safety standards, to try to help alleviate some of these trade barriers
that truly aren't necessary.
● (1705)
Mr. David Wilks: When it comes to other countries and these
minor irritants, as you've said, how do you educate these countries
with regard to our standards? As I heard you say earlier, we have one
of the higher standards in the world. How do we go about educating
other countries with regard to those standards that Canada has?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: I think one of our key mechanisms is to
continue to be at the table with those other OECD countries,
exchanging information and working closely together on the
registration process and the re-evaluation process for chemicals.
As we go through that process, we align with each other on our
policy approaches to things like setting maximum residue levels. We
can challenge each other as to whether we're using the best and most
up-to-date science to set those kinds of standards.
That's our approach. It's to make sure we're at the table with our
colleagues and we can challenge each other. This is truly an
appropriate science-based standard.
Mr. David Wilks: Another important part as a regulator is
reaching out and speaking with the industry that you affect. How
good a job is PMRA doing right now of engaging with the pest
control industry, as well as with farmers and Canadians?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: I guess I'd like to think that we're doing the
best job we can in making sure that we're engaging all our
stakeholders. Certainly, we have a good relationship with all our
stakeholder groups. Whether we're talking industry or other
environmental organizations, we try to maintain a very good
relationship with all our stakeholders, and with the public who are
importantly trying to express their concerns.
We routinely meet with different industry associations including
CropLife Canada to make sure we understand each other in terms of
what our needs are. We meet with all the major grower associations
very frequently, such as the Canadian Horticultural Council. We
meet frequently with all the different agricultural groups. We work
closely with Agriculture Canada under a number of initiatives to
make sure that we understand the agricultural use of pesticides and
the interests of that sector. Even internationally, we engage
15
frequently with the international industry sector to ensure that we
understand what the global dynamics are with pesticides, both in
terms of what's coming down the pipeline and what the international
issues are with pest control products.
● (1710)
Mr. David Wilks: Just quickly, Mr. Chair, if I may on page 12 of
your report it indicates, “In 2013-2014, the PMRA carried out
approximately 1500 enforcement responses aimed at correcting noncompliance within the regulated community.” Then at the bottom of
the paragraph it says, “Most enforcement activities took place in the
provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.”
Does that have a lot to do with border transactions between the
United States and Canada, because those are probably the most
significant three provinces that deal across borders, or is there a
reason why those three provinces were highlighted?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: I think it's in part based on the population,
but you're right there is a significant amount of border movement of
products and commodities through those three provinces. That's part
of it. What it also says in a way is that we have obviously a huge
geography in the middle there, in terms of the prairie provinces in
terms of agriculture. We have a lot of very intense agriculture of
certain types in provinces like Ontario and British Columbia,
horticultural crops for example. There's that, whereas in the Prairies,
we have a relatively smaller number of larger major crops. That
might explain a little bit of the difference there. I think most
importantly with this is that we actually have a very high level of
success in bringing back to compliance those situations where we
find non-compliance. We find educational letters and outreach
campaigns are hugely successful in bringing folks back to
compliance.
On the agriculture side, for example, there's a real understanding
there that pest control products need to be used in a very specific
way, and there's not any tolerance there for anything different. We
know we can bring people back to compliance because of the way
we set up our compliance and enforcement programs in the country.
It's a big country; there are a lot of different sectors. There are a lot of
commodity groups and organizations that we need to look at
compliance with, but we will go sector by sector and if we find some
non-compliance in a sector we'll take action as needed. We'll cycle
back to those areas of higher risk, or those areas of non-compliance,
and make sure that they are coming back to compliance.
Mr. David Wilks: Thank you very much.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Ms. Moore, please go ahead.
[Translation]
Ms. Christine Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue, NDP): Thank
you, Mr. Chair.
My question relates to the list of products that have been approved
for use. Mr. Aucoin, could you please tell me how many are
permitted in Canada but not in the United States, or the opposite,
how many products are banned in the United States but not here?
16
HESA-47
Is the process for approving a product in the United States
comparable to ours? Does the process take roughly the same time as
in Canada? And does the act give you some power to prohibit the
import of products grown using pesticides banned in Canada?
PMRA bans crops grown using certain pesticides. However, if
products grown in other countries using pesticides that are banned by
your agency because they are not considered safe are imported into
Canada through the back door, Canadians might still consume them.
[English]
Mr. Richard Aucoin: Certainly, and I probably shouldn't know
this number, but I do know the number. We have about 7,000 pest
control products approved for use in Canada, even though probably a
much smaller number than that are actually being used. There is an
approval for about 7,000 different pest control products in Canada. I
think that in the United States it's more in the 12,000 range of pest
control products, with 11,000 or 12,000 products. We have to
appreciate that there's a difference between the chemical active
ingredients in those products and the number of products. There can
be various versions and formulations of the same kind of pesticide,
so there are about 7,000.
Under the legislation, no one can import, sell, or use a pest control
product in Canada unless it has a federal approval under the Pest
Control Products Act, which is what we do and administer. No one
can use any product in Canada that does not have our approval. No
one can import a product from the United States into Canada if it
does not have Canadian approval. There is a very small number of
products that have some sort of minor use exemptions, but for the
most part it's prohibited to do that—
● (1715)
[Translation]
Ms. Christine Moore: Excuse me, but I would like to clarify my
question.
It had to do with products that had been grown. For example, is it
possible to find on the market in Canada carrots that have been
grown using pesticides that are not permitted in Canada?
[English]
Mr. Richard Aucoin: We do set maximum residue levels for each
pesticide. There is a maximum residue level set for each pesticide
and each type of crop grown in Canada, and it is essentially the
standard that we set. That is enforced by the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency. Produce coming in from another country has to
meet our standards. Similarly, produce going from Canada into the
United States has to meet their standards. There is a very specific
standard required before it can move across the border. Within
Canada, you can only use a specific pesticide on a specific crop or
product such as carrots if it has that specific approval from us on the
label of the product.
[Translation]
January 27, 2015
those situations. For example, we can start with a farmer who has
done this unintentionally. There can be warning letters, but it can go
up to very significant monetary penalties if there are repeat
violations of the Pest Control Products Act. There is a range of
responses that are based on the specific situation.
The Chair: Mr. Young.
Mr. Terence Young: Thank you, Mr. Aucoin.
You seem to be getting a lot of questions in a row, so if you want
to take a drink of water, please go ahead, because I need to ask you a
couple more.
Mr. Richard Aucoin: I'm okay.
Mr. Terence Young: Thank you.
This committee just completed a study of Vanessa's Law, which is
now the law of Canada and is all about transparency and openness
with regard to keeping Canadians safe when using prescription
drugs. That will empower researchers, doctors, and even patients to
get the information they need to keep themselves safe or keep their
patients safe. What has the PMRA done to increase transparency and
openness to help keep Canadians safe?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: Well, as I think I indicated in my opening
remarks, there are a lot of good provisions—some really good, solid
provisions—and obligations in the Pest Control Products Act for us
to be transparent and open with Canadians. Not only do we have to
consult with Canadians on the data and the science we've used to
make our regulatory decisions for new chemicals, but also for older
chemicals, when we're looking at them, what we're finding, and how
that science influences our decisions.
We also have been really open with, for example, what we are
currently looking at in PMRA. What pesticides are being proposed
for use in Canada? We have a public registry where you can find that
information and ask what PMRA is doing right now and what they
are looking at. A lot of information is on there now in terms of us
having a compliance and enforcement program. What are we
finding? Are there violations of the Pest Control Products Act? What
are we doing about those?
As I forgot to mention right at the outset, I think this committee
has received a copy of our annual report. That alone is a full
disclosure of all our activities through the year, including, for
example, our incident reporting program, what we are seeing every
year in terms of the nature of the pesticide incidents that are being
reported to us. We're very transparent and open in terms of what they
were and what some of the actions are that we're taking as a result of
those incidents.
● (1720)
Ms. Christine Moore: What are the consequences for people who
grow products that exceed the limits?
Mr. Terence Young: That's very interesting. Thank you for
explaining that.
[English]
I want to ask you a question about brown bats. I think a brown bat
can eat a kilogram of mosquitoes in a day or something like that.
Mosquitoes are a problem in a lot of communities. The bats are
dying off in droves because of a white fungus they get on their noses.
Mr. Richard Aucoin: As I say, with our compliance and
enforcement program, we have a range of tools that are usually very
specific to the situation. It depends on the level of risk posed by
January 27, 2015
HESA-47
Are there any pesticides that help deal with mosquitoes when
we're facing this fact that brown bats are dying off? Also, are there
any potential treatments to help stop this fungus so the bat
population doesn't disappear?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: There are certainly pest control products
available for mosquito control. There are only a certain number of
situations in which they're used extensively anymore. I think there's
been a lot of public concern with the widespread use of those
products. Some of you folks are probably aware that some areas such
as Winnipeg and some other cities have had to resort to using certain
products because frankly you can't go outside your house some days
in some parts of this country if some kind of control measures are not
used.
There are a number of alternative products on the marketplace for
controlling mosquito larvae, for example, in ponds. As you can
appreciate, mosquito larvae develop in standing water. There are
quite safe chemicals now that can be used for that. Sometimes they're
expensive but there are chemicals available for that. As far as the
bats and the fungus go, I think you'd have to talk to some sort of
more veterinary professionals who could likely help you out on that.
Mr. Terence Young: Okay. I just wondered if you had any insight
into it, because it struck me as a serious problem.
17
Mr. Aucoin, in your description of the act it seems to me you
stressed a couple of things. One is that it's a kind of scientific rigour
and that it's very much science- and data-driven. The other aspect is
the practice of international cooperation and exchange with the
science.
I want to look at the issue of neonics and test how science is used
under the act. It seems to me that although the science is pretty well
known—and I'm sure there's more developing all the time—I'm sure
everybody knows what the state of play is in the science with these
international efforts, and yet different jurisdictions have responded to
that science with different actions. We see the European Union doing
a two-year ban and I think South Korea is following a two-year ban.
Australia has its own response. The U.S. has a federal strategy on
pollinators and neonics, as I understand it. Even within Canada,
Ontario is removing neonics from 80% of corn and soy crops. If it's
all about the science and the data and the international exchange,
how is it that all these jurisdictions have responded to this issue in a
way that is different from the way the federal government here in
Canada has responded?
● (1725)
What will your key challenges be in the coming two years?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: There is certainly communication. I have to
say, to be very frank and candid, that at worst, communications with
the Canadian public are a challenge. We're a scientific organization.
The data and information we use to make our pesticide decisions are
very complicated. They really are. I think one of my biggest
challenges over the next couple of years is going to be to try to
enhance communications with the public.
Mr. Richard Aucoin: Certainly in Canada and in the United
States we're very much aligned on the science, and as I think I
indicated, for the neonics we'll be working very closely with the U.S.
EPA and with California over the next year or two to completely reevaluate and reassess all that science behind the neonics. I can't
really speak very much for Europe, but I think in Europe there were
some incidents as well, and Europe chose a path to deal with those
incidents through simple suspension of those products. We didn't
take that path and we're not proposing that path in Canada until
we've fully assessed all the science.
As I explained earlier, it's one thing to be transparent and open
with the public. You also have to pay attention to whether you are
reaching them. Are you truly communicating with Canadians? For
us to put out a lot of scientific information is one thing, but we want
to make sure Canadians actually understand better the basis for our
decision-making. That's both a challenge and a priority for the next
year or two.
In southern Ontario—it's very specific to southern Ontario—and a
few places in Quebec, the incidents appear to be directly related to
the pre-treated seeds for soybeans and corn. We've been working to
mitigate those risks and mitigate those issues and we had some
success certainly last spring. That's been our approach federally.
A lot of what we do does not change from year to year. It's very
solid health and environmental protection. We take very prescribed
approaches to our work in terms of the data and information we need
to do it. It's not going to change radically over the next couple of
years. I would say communication is very important and it's very
consistent with where our department is going.
Mr. Terence Young: So if there's no danger, people lack interest,
and then if they read an article in a magazine or there's a TV special
on a certain risk, everybody wants to know all at once about the risk,
right?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: That's correct.
The Chair: Thank you.
Mr. Kellway.
Mr. Matthew Kellway (Beaches—East York, NDP): Thank
you, Mr. Chair.
Thanks to the witnesses for being here today.
Ontario has put out a proposal to reduce the use of treated seeds to
a very high degree. It is a proposal. It's certainly not based on the
scientific assessment, which is not complete.
Mr. Matthew Kellway: So if the science is the science is the
science, what is it about the act then that explains the different
responses? There's clearly discretion somewhere in that act, so it's
not entirely scientifically based. Someone has to make an
assessment. Is it this notion of unacceptable risk that's in the act?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: The act, as you may be aware, lays out that
we must do a scientific risk assessment, but it does not specify that it
has to be done according to a very specific methodology. It has very
specific provisions in there such that, for example, we must add
safety margins for vulnerable populations. We must take into
account certain things, but as for the actual scientific risk assessment
that occurs, there's a certain amount of flexibility in there. That's why
countries like Canada and the United States and most OECD
countries are trying to align the work we do together at OECD.
18
HESA-47
Mr. Matthew Kellway: Given that in different jurisdictions there
are different responses to the science, are you comfortable with that
flexibility in making decisions about what to do or about how to
respond to the risk that certain pesticides obviously pose?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: Our approach has been to work with as
many regulators and as many scientific organizations as possible so
that we can get the best information and the best collective
understanding of that science.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. Lunney, go ahead very briefly.
Mr. James Lunney: I wanted to ask about viral pesticides. Do
those fall under your purview as well? There was an attempt a few
years ago to use baculovirus, a virus found in insect gut and also
found in human liver and kidney cells. There was some concern
because they were going to load it with a scorpion venom gene. It
wasn't approved, thank goodness. Are there other examples of
viruses being used as pesticides that have been approved in Canada?
Mr. Richard Aucoin: There are a number of viruses and
biological organisms that are approved for use as pesticides in
Canada. They are subjected to a very specific kind of risk
assessment.
Mr. James Lunney: Can you give us an example of a virus being
used?
January 27, 2015
Mr. Richard Aucoin: I don't have a name of a specific product
for you.
Mr. James Lunney: I know modified bacteria are used as
pesticides, but I was wondering about viruses in particular.
Mr. Richard Aucoin: I could ask my colleague Connie Moase in
case she happens to have that answer on the tip of her tongue.
Ms. Connie Moase (Director, Health Evaluation Directorate,
Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Department of Health): It
would probably be better if we got back to you with specific
products.
Mr. James Lunney: I'd appreciate it. Thank you.
The Chair: Is that it, Mr. Lunney?
● (1730)
Mr. James Lunney: Yes, thank you. That will suffice.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
I think that was a good one-hour discussion. We got a lot of
information in here and a lot of questions packed into one hour. That
will do it for today.
The meeting is adjourned.
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présentation d’une demande écrite au Bureau du Président de
la Chambre.
Reproduction in accordance with this permission does not
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Commons. The absolute privilege that applies to the
proceedings of the House of Commons does not extend to
these permitted reproductions. Where a reproduction includes
briefs to a Committee of the House of Commons, authorization for reproduction may be required from the authors in
accordance with the Copyright Act.
La reproduction conforme à la présente permission ne
constitue pas une publication sous l’autorité de la Chambre.
Le privilège absolu qui s’applique aux délibérations de la
Chambre ne s’étend pas aux reproductions permises. Lorsqu’une reproduction comprend des mémoires présentés à un
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Nothing in this permission abrogates or derogates from the
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permission does not affect the prohibition against impeaching
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and privilege to find users in contempt of Parliament if a
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La présente permission ne porte pas atteinte aux privilèges,
pouvoirs, immunités et droits de la Chambre et de ses comités.
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l’utilisation n’est pas conforme à la présente permission.
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following address: http://www.parl.gc.ca
Aussi disponible sur le site Web du Parlement du Canada à
l’adresse suivante : http://www.parl.gc.ca
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