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Ontario sets goal to reduce neonicotinoid use by 80 per cent

November 25, 2014, Toronto, Ont – Ontario is taking action to strengthen bird, bee, butterfly and other pollinator health to ensure healthy ecosystems, a productive agricultural sector, and a strong economy.

Pollinators play an important role in Ontario's agricultural productivity. Crops such as apples, cherries, peaches, plums, cucumbers, asparagus, squash, pumpkins, and melons need help from pollinators to grow.

The federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency has found a link between planting corn and soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoids and bee deaths in Ontario. The province's approach will help keep crops healthy and improve the environment by:

  • Working towards a goal of 80 per cent reduction in the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed by 2017
  • Reducing the over-winter honeybee mortality rate to 15 per cent by 2020
  • Establishing a comprehensive Pollinator Health Action Plan

“Improving pollinator health is not a luxury but a necessity,” said Glen R. Murray, minister of the Environment and Climate Change. “Pollinators play a key role in our ecosystem and without them, much of the food we eat would not be here.Taking strong action now to reduce the use of neurotoxic pesticides and protecting pollinator health is a positive step for our environment and our economy.”

“Our agricultural industry depends on safe, healthy lands to be productive,” added Jeff Leal, minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This is why Ontario farmers have taken significant action to reduce pesticide use, reducing overall usage by some 45 per cent in the past three decades. We know there is more that can be done, and we will work with farmers to protect the environment and grow the agricultural sector.”

The province will consult on a proposal to reduce the use of neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed. If approved, new rules on the use of neonicotinoids will be in place by July 1, 2015, in time for the 2016 agricultural planting season.

Ontario has released a discussion paper on pollinator health for comment over 60 days on Ontario’s Environmental and Regulatory Registries. Consultation sessions will be held in December 2014 and January 2015 to seek input from industry, researchers, organizations and individuals.


November 25, 2014
By Press release