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PUBLIC HEALTH - Environmental protection and public health - Pesticide regulation

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 @ 8:28 AM  

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Appeal by the respondents from a prothonotary’s decision dismissing their motions to strike applications for judicial review. A group of non-governmental organizations engaged in environmental advocacy claimed that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency engaged in an unlawful course of conduct for several years by registering pest control products in the absence of necessary information regarding the long-term toxicity risks to pollinators. The non-governmental organizations said that the Agency’s consistent practice was to register the products and request, through the use of a notice issued under s. 12 of the Pest Control Products Act, that information about the risks be provided after. The respondents claimed that the prothonotary erred in finding that it was debatable whether there was a course of conduct and whether there was an adequate alternative remedy.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The prothonotary did not make a palpable and overriding error in finding that it was debatable whether there was a course of conduct. While there was no evidence of a stated policy with respect to the use of s. 12 notices, many were issued to seek additional information about the toxicity risks to pollinators and the registrations were continued as conditional. The fact that individual decisions could be pinpointed did not detract from finding a course of conduct. The prothonotary did not err in finding that it was debatable whether there was an adequate alternative remedy. She addressed all of the parties’ submissions, considered several relevant factors and identified the remedial capacity of the alternative forum and its expeditiousness as particular concerns.

David Suzuki Foundation v. Canada (Minister of Health), [2018] F.C.J. No. 427, Federal Court, C.M. Kane J., April 10, 2018. Digest No. TLD-May282018005