For Immediate Release
Mar 23, 2015

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Ecojustice congratulates Ontario on being first in North America to restrict bee-killing pesticides


TORONTO — Ontario is poised to become the first jurisdiction in North America to restrict the use and sale of bee-killing pesticides, known as neonics.

“We’re pleased to see Ontario respond to overwhelming public concern about the impact of neonics on bees and take action to restrict the use of these pesticides,” said Pierre Sadik, Ecojustice’s manager of legislative affairs. “As we saw during the official consultation period, there is widespread public concern about bee deaths and their impact on food security and human health.”

Ontario’s draft neonic regulations, released today, will be finalized in July 2015.  Approximately 97 per cent of the nearly 50,000 comments received during the public consultation period for the province’s pollinator health proposal favoured government action to restrict the use and sale of neonic-treated seeds.

“The use of neonic-treated soya and corn seeds has become indiscriminate and routine, whether or not pests are present,” said Dr. Elaine MacDonald, Ecojustice senior staff scientist. “Ontario’s new regulations will put a stop to the overuse of neonic-treated seeds by requiring purchasers to prove that crops are actually threatened by pests.”

Many European countries have already acted to protect bees and other important pollinators by restricting neonics. Scientific studies have linked these pesticides to high death rates in honeybees, as well as a range of harmful effects on birds, butterflies, bumblebees and earthworms, among other species.

While Ontario’s move to restrict neonics is a highly positive measure for bee protection, the draft regulations can be improved.  Ecojustice recommends that:

  • Ontario strengthen the proposed regulations by moving as quickly as possible, throughout the entire province, to ensure that neonic pesticides are only available when and where pest infestation has been independently demonstrated; and
  • Ontario broaden the new pesticide classification (Class 12) to prevent the chemical industry from bringing to market other types of neonic pesticides that are just as dangerous as the ones the government is going to restrict.

Ecojustice representatives are available for further comment.

For media inquiries

Elaine MacDonald, senior staff scientist
416.368.7533 x 527
emacdonald@ecojustice.ca

Pierre Sadik, manager of legislative affairs
613.562.5225
psadik@ecojustice.ca