Mary Lou McDonald et al v. Attorney General of Canada

T-277-19 // A-85-20
February 11, 2019
Provisional judgment
Canada, Ottawa

Health/Food groups, Individuals
Mary Lou McDonald, Safe Food Matters Inc., David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence Canada, Friends of the Earth Canada
Attorney General of Canada
Andrea Gonsalves, Laura Bowman

Application for judicial review
Glyphosate, Herbicide
A judicial review of the rejection of the plaintiffs' Notice of Objection under the Review Panel Regulations.
Federal Court of Appeal of Ottawa, Canada

February 13, 2020
This application for judicial review is hereby dismissed, but the decision is reversed in appeal.

The Applicants submitted a notice of objection to the decision of PMRA to allow glyphosate to be registered for another 15 or more years in Canada. The NOO raised various objections, including that PMRA (Pest Management Regulatory Agency) did not look at the risks associated with pre-harvest use/ desiccation on non conventional, indeterminate crops like chickpeas, and asked that a review panel of independent scientists be established, as allowed under the Pest Control Products Act. Eight NOOs by various groups were filed in mid-2017, but all were rejected on Jan.11, 2019. PMRA (Pest Management Regulatory Agency) refused the review panel request, and on Feb. 11, 2019, the Applicants asked the Federal Court of Toronto for judicial review of the refusal under the Review Panel Regulations, arguing they had raised a scientifically founded doubt about the validity of the evaluations of health and environmental risks and value of the product. The Federal Court denied the request on Feb. 13, 2020, indicating the test for scientifically founded doubt had not been met. Appeal was filed on March 13, 2020 at the Federal Court of Appeal. The David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence Canada and Friends of the Earth Canada, represented by Ecojustice, are interveners in the Federal Court appeal. On Feb. 2, 2022, the court issues its decision in favor of Safe Food Matters, which remits the matter back to the PMRA for reconsideration, and offers strong guidance to PMRA to avoid “the endless merry-go-round” of court applications and reconsiderations.