Edmonton, Alberta, Canada… A new report by the Auditor General of Alberta found that the Department of Alberta Environment and Parks does not have adequate processes to minimize the risk of inappropriate pesticide use in the province.
In his Report of the Auditor General—Pesticide Management, Auditor General Doug Wylie identified significant deficiencies in the department’s processes related to regulating pesticides and to evaluating the pesticide program effectiveness. He also found that public information on registered pesticide products and their use is not current and accurate.
“The department needs to have adequate processes to identify and mitigate the health and environmental risks from the sale, use, storage, transportation and disposal of pesticides,” said Wylie. “Without adequate processes to help deliver the pesticide program’s responsibilities, there can be an increased risk to the environment and human health.”
For example, the report found:
- The department does not use proactive measures to monitor compliance with regulatory requirements.
- Compliance activities were insufficient to detect noncompliance with pesticide laws and mitigate risks from pesticide use. Illegal products may have been sold. Processes were not sufficient for monitoring pesticide application near water.
- Processes to ensure pesticides are applied by certified individuals were not sufficient.
- Public information on registered pesticide products and their use is not current and has inaccuracies.
- No performance metrics and processes exist to evaluate if the pesticide program is working as intended.
- Certification processes for sellers and users were adequate.
The report makes three recommendations focused on assessing risks and employing sufficient monitoring to mitigate those risks, ensuring public information on pesticide products and use is current and accurate, and developing suitable performance metrics and regularly evaluating the pesticide program.
“Without a risk-based approach, the department’s compliance monitoring activities may not be sufficient to detect non-compliance, leading to increased risk to human health and the environment,” said Wylie. “Outdated and inaccurate public information on pesticide products and lack of regular program evaluation is a concern.”
In Canada, pesticides are regulated by the federal, provincial, and municipal governments. The federal government decides which pesticides are safe to use in Canada and sets minimum
requirements for how to use them. The department regulates the sale, use, storage, transportation and disposal of pesticides in Alberta under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. If used improperly, pesticides can pose serious risks to human health and the environment.
The report was tabled in the Alberta Legislature on March 22, 2022 and is available at www.oag.ab.ca.
Appointed under Alberta’s Auditor General Act, the Auditor General is the legislated auditor of every provincial ministry, department, public post-secondary institution, and most provincial agencies, boards, commissions, and regulated funds. The audits conducted by the Office of the Auditor General report on how government is managing its responsibilities and the province’s resources. Through our audit reports, we provide independent assurance to the 87 Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, and the people of Alberta, that public money is spent properly and provides value.
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