Environmental groups applaud Ontario’s action on bee and pollinator protection

Ottawa – Following extensive public consultation, Ontario tabled a Regulation to permanently reduce 80 percent of the bee-harmful neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides used on corn and soy seed by 2017.

It makes Ontario the first North American jurisdiction to permanently restrict usage of this pesticide.

“Saving bees is the most compelling environmental mission in decades,” stated Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada (FOE Canada). “Ontario is getting it right and demonstrating leadership at a continent-wide scale.”

FOE Canada polling indicated Ontario’s residents, whether rural or urban, strongly supported government action to save bees. “Ontario is to be congratulated,” said Olivastri. “It identified the opportunity with the greatest potential for saving bees and took action. Designating neonic-coated seeds as pesticides under the provincial Pesticides Act is the right step.”

The Regulation ensures that bee-harmful pesticides can no longer be used to coat seeds “just in case” they’re needed. Only farmers who prove they have a pest challenge will be able to access the pesticide. This means that uncoated seeds should be readily available to the majority of farmers.

For the past three years, FOE Canada has argued that widespread use of seed coatings are unnecessary. This is exactly the priority acted on by the Ontario government.

In addition to its focus on neonicotinoids in agriculture, FOE Canada has tested garden supply and plant nursery products for neonics. Testing last summer showed over half of the nursery plants considered to be “bee friendly” actually contained bee-harmful pesticides. The FOE “Gardener Beware” campaign advises gardeners to buy only neonic-free plants.

Friends of the Earth encourages everyone to do their part to save bees by stopping the use of bee-harmful neonics—whether you are a farmer or home gardener.