Ban on strychnine use for ground squirrels coming
As of March 4, 2023, landowners will no longer be allowed to use strychnine to control Richardson’s Ground Squirrels (RGS) in Canada. This is the final decision passed down March 4 by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). There will be a three-year phase out period.
In June 2018, the PMRA posted for comment a proposed decision to end the use of strychnine, an already highly regulated pesticide product, for the control of ground squirrels. The primary concern of
PMRA is the impacts on non-target species inadvertently killed after ingesting poisoned ground squirrels. In rendering the decision, the PMRA noted a 2019 Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture study where the application of strychnine baits, in accordance with label instructions to control RGS populations, results in the availability of poisoned RGS carcasses on the surface of treated sites.
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) made two submissions with recommendations to continue the registration of strychnine for use on ground squirrels pointing out the negative impacts of uncontrolled ground squirrel populations on grassland ecosystems, wildlife habitat and potentially on species at risk. CCA also felt the science quoted in the proposed decision was flawed. Many other agricultural associations and some provinces also called for the registered use of strychnine on ground squirrels to continue.
Under the phase out, the following schedule has been posted:
• One (1) year of sale by registrant (manufacturer) from the publication date of this decision document (March 4/20), followed by;
• One (1) year of sale by retailer from the last date of sale by registrant, followed by;
• One (1) year of permitted use from the last date of sale by retailer
In short, during year three, strychnine will not be sold, but will still be permitted for use on ground squirrels up to March 4, 2023.
See https://www.canada.ca/en/ health-canada/services/consumerproduct-safety/reports-publications/ pesticides-pest-management/decisionsupdates/reevaluation-decision/2020/ strychnine.html