Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s, CFIA, mandate and priorities include preventing the spread of quarantine pests within Canada. Control of such pests is pursued primarily under provisions of the Plant Protection Act and, for potatoes, relevant provisions of the Seeds Regulations Part II. Newfoundland and Labrador is designated as a quarantine area in relation to potato wart, PW, and potato cyst nematode, PCN, with provisions in place to mitigate the spread of these pests from and within the province.
The primary control measures to prevent spread of PW and PCN within Newfoundland and Labrador have been the planting of pest-free seed potatoes combined with the use of varieties that are resistant to these pests. The CFIA, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the provincial government in Newfoundland have also implemented programs to support and encourage private gardeners to plant PW- and PCN-resistant varieties.
The mainland areas of Newfoundland and Labrador, commonly referred to as Labrador, have been surveyed for PW and PCN. PCN has not been found in mainland Labrador. PW is present but only in private gardens and is not found in any of the commercial agricultural fields that exist. Measures are in place to suppress PW and prevent its spread, including soil surveys, encouragement of the use of potato varieties resistant to PW, and agricultural extension that includes good management practices that will assist in pest suppression. These measures are pursued in partnership with the provincial government.
PCN and PW are both present on the island of Newfoundland. The movement of soil, potato wart and PCN from Newfoundland is restricted legislatively under the Plant Protection Act and its regulations. In addition, under this legislation, the CFIA has the authority to impose individual notices restricting movement of regulated articles from specific gardens or fields known to be infested with PCN or PW.
Existing CFIA plant protection activities designed to prevent the spread of PCN and PW are routinely reviewed. In addition, the CFIA monitors for any changes that may indicate an increased risk of the spread of these pests to non-infested agricultural areas of Labrador or other Canadian provinces. If an increased risk were to be identified, alternative measures could be developed and implemented to mitigate the risk appropriately.
The current PCN and PW measures have proven to be effective in mitigating the risk of spreading PCN from the island of Newfoundland to Labrador and other parts of Canada, and of PW from Newfoundland and Labrador to other Canadian provinces.
Legislative restrictions for PW and PCN are specified in schedule I and schedule II of the Plant Protection Regulations, SOR/2001-287, s. 1; SOR/2004-80, s. 18.
Schedule I, entitled “Prohibited Movement within Canada”, contains the following movement restriction intended to prevent potato varieties susceptible to PW from being produced on the island of Newfoundland:
3. Movement of potato varieties with blue or purple skin (except for the varieties: Brigus, Blue Mac, A.C. Blue Pride and A.C. Domino, and any potato variety to be used for research purposes by a government, an educational institution or a corporation) is prohibited from the rest of Canada into Newfoundland.
Schedule II, subsection 50(3) and sections 51 and 52, of the Plant Protection Regulations, SOR/2001-287, s. 1; SOR/2004-80, s. 18., is entitled “Restricted Movement within Canada”. The relevant provisions relating to PW and PCN are provided below:
29. All plants produced within Newfoundland are restricted from moving to all other areas of Canada, based on the requirement for a movement certificate.
38. Soil, compost material, peat moss or anything with soil, compost material or peat moss attached are restricted from moving from Newfoundland to all other areas of Canada by the requirement for a movement certificate.
43. In order to be moved from Newfoundland to other areas of Canada, used bags, boxes, containers and other articles used to move root-crops, soil, compost material or peat moss are required to be free from soil, compost material and peat moss, or to have been subjected to a treatment or process to eradicate PCN and PW.
49. Used vehicles and equipment that are or may be infested must be free from soil and must exit the island of Newfoundland through an inspection centre with washing stations at Argentia, Port aux Basques, St. John’s or Cornerbrook.