Winnipeg still waiting for permission to use malathion replacement

Winnipeg still hasn't got permission from Health Canada to use its chosen replacement for the mosquito-killing pesticide malathion.

The city plans to control adult nuisance mosquitoes this summer with DeltaGard 20EW, a product containing deltamethrin, a synthetic chemical similar to the natural insecticides in chrysanthemum flowers. The city used malathion in fogging operations for three decades, but it's no longer available for sale.

However, Health Canada's pest management regulatory agency, also called the PMRA, has yet to approve the use of DeltaGard in Canada.

The city asked Ottawa in 2015 to fast-track the approval process, which usually takes two to three years.

Approval is not expected before June, says a report to city council's protection, community services and parks committee.

Health Canada's pest management regulatory agency has proposed registration of the product and is still accepting public comment, insect control branch superintendent Ken Nawolsky wrote in the report.

He's confident Ottawa will approve the pesticide by June 8, the report says.

"It would be exceptional for the PMRA to not grant full registration of a product once it has been proposed for full registration," Nawolsky says in his report.

The city has few options if Ottawa doesn't agree to register the new pesticide.

Products containing malathion are not being sold in Canada this year and the city can't find any stock for sale last year that was safe to use under Health Canada standards.

Another pesticide, PyrocideULV, is unproven in terms of both safety and effectiveness and would be too expensive to use, city officials say.

Assuming Ottawa does approve DeltaGard, the city has a supplier in place to provide the product. One qualified bidder responded to a request for proposals this winter.

"As soon as the PMRA approves the full registration, the successful bidder will be notified so that shipment of the product can occur shortly after an award report is approved," Nawolsky wrote. 

Nawolsky said he is not concerned the city will need to fog for mosquitoes before the new pesticide arrives.