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Simon Shields, Lawyer

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Since 2005

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Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Pest Control Products Act (Canada)('PCPA')

(current to 01 April 2016)

Note Re Application of the Pest Control Products Act

Given the express Criminal Code prohibition against anyone who "wilfully, without reasonable excuse, administers a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to a domestic animal or bird" [CCC s.445.1(1) ], and in light of the near absence of excused 'legal' poisoning of domestic cats and dogs, the PCPA regime is of necessity mostly (the one exception is noted below) applicable to wildlife - such as rats and mice (aka 'vermin').

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • EXTERMINATION
  • PROTECTION
  • HABITAT
The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the Canada statute website.

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Pests are defined in the PCPA as:
2(1) "an animal, a plant or other organism that is injurious, noxious or troublesome, whether directly or indirectly, and an injurious, noxious or troublesome condition or organic function of an animal, a plant or other organism.
The Pest Control Products Act ["PCPA"] and the Pest Control Products Regulations ["PCP Regs"] establish a legal regime for the approval and marketing of pest control products (usually chemical) used for "controlling, destroying, attracting or repelling" pests [PCPA 2(1)].

While use of pesticides and licensing of exterminators is primarily provincially-regulated, the federal PCPA has limited 'animal protection' content in that it does prohibit use of a pest control product "in a way that endangers human health or safety or the environment" [which includes "living organisms": PCPA 2(1)] [PCPA 6(8)]. As well, it makes explicit reference in the pesticide approval process to consideration of 'environment risk', "biological diversity" (which includes "the variability among living organisms") and "ecosystem" ("a dynamic complex or plant, animal and micro-organism communities") [PCPA 2(1)]. "(R)isks of a pest control product are acceptable if there is reasonable certainty that no harm to human health, future generations or the environment will result from exposure to or use of the product" [PCPA 2(2)].

The only express mention of domestic animals is that where a pest control product "may not be detected when it is used and as a result it could expose a person or domestic animal to a severe health risk, the pest control product must be denatured by means of colour, odour or any other means ... to provide a signal or warning as to its presence" [PCP Regs 20].

The PCPA has offence provisions against contraventions of the Act or Regulations which cause "a risk of substantial harm to the environment; or .... harm to the environment" [PCPA 68(1)].


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