What we heard report – Consultation on the proposed amendments to the Fertilizers Regulations

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) modernization of the Fertilizers Regulations is part of a multi-year initiative to respond to industry changes. The proposed amendments to the Fertilizers Regulations would improve consistency and provide clarity and flexibility to support regulated parties in fulfilling their obligations.

This report summarizes the feedback received during the 75-day comment period further to the pre-publication of the proposed amendments to the Fertilizers Regulations in the Canada Gazette Part I. The participants views expressed below do not reflect those of CFIA or the Government of Canada.

Consultation overview

  • CFIA pre-published the proposed amendments to the Fertilizers Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I on December 8, 2018 for a 75-day comment period
  • The comment period ended on February 21, 2019
  • CFIA notified its international partners through a World Trade Organization notification - no comments were received
  • CFIA also held webinars to further explain the content and impacts of the proposed changes on the regulated sector. Over 170 participants attended the online sessions

Who we heard from

CFIA received 13 detailed submissions outlining questions and proposed adjustments to the regulatory text during the comment period from:

  • national industry associations
  • producer organizations
  • individual fertilizer and supplement companies
  • municipal waste processing firms
  • not-for-profit organizations

What we heard

A high-level summary of comments received is provided below. Overall, the proposed modernization of the Fertilizers Regulations and its underlying principles received strong support from all respondents. This included support for:

  • risk-based approaches and aligning pre-market assessment with the risk profile of the product
  • addressing inconsistencies and the way certain products with similar risk profiles are regulated
  • modernizing the regulations to reflect industry trends and advances in manufacturing practices
  • taking emerging risks and regulatory trends in other jurisdictions into consideration
  • creating outcome-based regulations and a less prescriptive approach for the regulated community

Elements well supported

  • Extending the registration period from 3 to 5 years
  • Transitioning Schedule II (list of primary fertilizer and supplement materials exempt from registration) to the List of Materials incorporated by reference
  • Re-defining major and minor amendments to product registration and creating a non-notifiable category of label changes
  • Flexible labelling and record keeping requirements
  • Less prescriptive application format to support electronic submissions and adopting risk-based approaches to safety evaluations

Elements not supported

  • Guaranteeing the actual level of all nutrients including macronutrients (nitrogen [N], phosphorus [P] and potassium [K] and secondary nutrients calcium [Ca], magnesium [Mg], and sulphur [S]) instead of the minimum level
  • Limitations on including multiple microbial products in mixtures of registered or exempt fertilizers or supplements

Elements with mixed reactions

  • Replacing registration numbers on mixtures with a record-keeping option

Elements that require clarification or adjustment to the regulatory text

  • Definitions and terminology
  • General prohibitions
  • Exemptions from registration
  • Registration requirements
  • Guaranteed analysis
  • Labelling
  • Record keeping
  • Method of analysis
  • List of materials (term definitions and compositional criteria)
  • Transition timeline
  • Policy and guidance recommendations

Next steps

CFIA thanks everyone who participated in the consultation process. We will consider all input as we work to update the Fertilizers Regulations. CFIA expects to publish the final amendments in the Canada Gazette, Part II in winter 2020.

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