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Insect Resistance Management of Bt Corn in Canada

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The Plant Biosafety Office (PBO) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), is responsible for the regulation of plants with novel traits (PNTs) in Canada under the Seeds Regulations Part V and as described in two regulatory directives:

Prior to commercialization of a PNT, a proponent must apply to the PBO for an environmental safety assessment in accordance with Dir94-08. The PNT may be authorized for environmental release with or without conditions as determined on a case-by-case basis.

The advent of plants which express Bt toxins also present in commercially available foliar Bt products has led to concern over the eventual development of resistance to this insecticide. Consequently, the companies which have received authorization for Bt-corn in Canada have each developed resistance management plans (RMPs) designed to delay development of Bt resistant insects. Authorization of Bt plants in Canada requires the implementation of these RMPs and is written into letters of authorization as an Addendum.

In October, 1998, the PBO was presented with the report Responsible Deployment of Bt Corn Technology in Ontario by the Bt Corn Coalition for adoption by Bt corn stakeholders in Canada. The report endorses, and is consistent with, the recommendations of United States Department of Agriculture North Central Regional Research Committee as published in North Central Regional Publication 602 Bt Corn & European Corn Borer: Long-Term Success through Resistance Management and it's October 1998 Supplement. The PBO has reviewed the Report and finds it to represent the most current and credible scientific information on insect resistance management of Bt corn. In particular, the mandatory implementation of a minimum 20% unsprayed refuge of non-Bt corn on each farm planted with Bt corn is considered a critical component for the responsible management of this technology. The Resistance Management Plan presented in the Report will be reviewed on an ongoing basis by the Bt Corn Coalition and amended as required by them in consultation with the PBO, in order to reflect any new scientific information which may impact on the efficacy of the plan.

Given the provision of new information to the PBO by the Bt Corn Coalition as set out in the Report, the PBO has amended the conditions of all authorizations for the unconfined release of European corn borer resistant corn under the authority of Section 112(2)(b)(ii), Part V of the Seeds Regulations.

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