01/26/2016 10:15 EST | Updated 01/26/2017 00:12 EST

Report finds federal pest agency takes years to kill risky pesticides

OTTAWA — A new audit finds that it takes years for the federal Pest Management Agency to remove risky pesticides from the marketplace and that routine re-evaluations are falling far behind.

The annual report from the federal environment commissioner's office tabled today in Parliament also says conditionally registered products, which have not been properly vetted, have been in use for more than a decade in some cases.

The Liberal government moved last week to stop the practice of conditionally registering pesticides, but the commissioner's report indicates that is just one area of concern.

There are about 7,000 pesticides available to Canadian consumers, containing some 600 active ingredients.

All products are supposed to be re-evaluated every 15 years and commissioner Julie Gelfand says 95 per cent of re-evaluations result in additional precautions to protect health or the environment.

However only 14 products are re-checked each year, just a fraction of the number that should be re-evaluated, with more pesticides up for re-evaluation every year — and even products that are found to be unacceptably risky remain in circulation for years.

Another chapter of the report surveyed four federal departments and found they all failed to follow a cabinet directive on assessing environmental effects of policies.

In fact, the commissioner's audit found that just five of more than 1,700 policy proposals put forward by the four departments were the subject of strategic environmental assessments.

— Follow @BCheadle on Twitter

The Canadian Press