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Ontario cutting neonics usage by 80 per cent

March 23, 2015  By Dave Harrison

March 23, 2015, Toronto – Ontario is taking the strongest action in North America to protect bees, birds, butterflies, and other pollinators by proposing new rules that would reduce the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds by 80 per cent by 2017.

Some neonicotinoid insecticides are toxic to bees and other beneficial insects.The government is taking a precautionary approach to limit the use of neonicotinoid treated seeds. The proposed regulation sets rules for the sale and use of neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds.

The draft regulation is available for public comment on the environmental registry until May 7, 2015. If approved, new rules would take effect July 1, 2015.


Following provincewide consultations in winter 2014-15, the proposed regulation will help protect pollinators and ensure a productive agricultural sector. It is also an important step in developing a pollinator health action plan that will examine key stressors that can affect pollinator health, including:

•    Pesticides.

•    Loss of habitat and nutrition.

•    Climate change and weather.

•    Disease, pests and genetics.

Ensuring a strong and healthy agricultural sector is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

“ We heard overwhelmingly that the people of Ontario support immediate action to protect our food sources and the environment from the effects of neurotoxic neonicotinoids. The proposed regulation will contribute to reducing a major stressor on pollinators and other vulnerable species.” 
– Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

“ After extensive consultation, our government is moving forward with the next phase of our comprehensive pollinator health strategy, based on the advice of agricultural leaders. The proposed regulation released today is a balanced and practical way forward that would ensure farmers have access to treated seeds when needed.” 
- Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

• In the winter of 2013-2014, bee deaths in Ontario reached 58 per cent. The generally accepted level by those who care for and breed bees is 15 per cent.

• Bees and other pollinators are responsible for pollinating roughly 13 per cent of agricultural crops in Ontario (crops worth about $897 million), and support $26 million annually in honey production.

• Ontario’s agri-food sector employs 760,000 individuals and contributes $34 billion each year to the province’s economy.

Click here for a summary of the proposed regulation.

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