Health Canada to End Outdoor Use of Two Bee Killing Neonicotinoids It’s about time says Friends of the Earth Canada

Aug 15th, 2018 10:45 AM

August 15, 2018 (Ottawa) - Friends of the Earth Canada welcomes the proposed decision by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency to end outdoor use of Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam, two of the most widely used neonicotinoid pesticides in the world. Neonicotinoids (neonics) are systemic chemical insecticides that are found in all tissues of treated plants, including pollen and nectar. Neonics pose threats to non-target organisms like bees, which are responsible for pollinating one third of the world’s crops and 90 per cent of all wild plants.

“This is testament to the persistence of Canadians. Literally 100s of thousands have petitioned government to make a special review of these bee-toxic chemicals. It is especially telling that the proposed decisions are based on unacceptable residues in our water and their impact on aquatic invertebrates - they haven’t yet finished the bee studies,” said Beatrice Olivastri, CEO of Friends of the Earth Canada.

Today’s decision, along with the 2016 proposed decision on Imidicloprid, brings Canada in line with the European Union which banned the pesticides in April this year after a moratorium on their use since 2013. Today’s decision is an important step in protecting pollinators and Canada’s agricultural industry.

Canadian beekeepers have reported significant losses since neonicotinoids were given conditional registration by PMRA. Despite growing complaints, PMRA continued to renew conditional registrations.

“Five years ago I launched the save the bees campaign in Canada and PMRA told me there was nothing to worry about - neonicotiniods were safe. Today, PMRA is finally saying the use of these pesticides is not sustainable,” said John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada.

Despite the high levels of Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam found in waters, PMRA is proposing a three to five year phase-out rather than an immediate ban. The European Union has seen marginal impact on agricultural production since it stopped the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in 2013. A number of other studies have concluded the prophylactic use of neonicotinoids has little impact on yields.

“Three to five years is too long to allow pesticide pollution to continue. PMRA is putting the economic interests of multinational corporations before the safety of our environment. Our environmental security requires an immediate halt to the use of these pesticides” said Ms. Olivastri.

Friends of the Earth Canada’s #BeeCause campaign has called for a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides since 2013 mobilizing tens of thousands of Canadian, distributing bee friendly plant seeds and testing flowering plants sold by garden centres.

Friends of the Earth is one of four environmental groups represented by Ecojustice in the November 2018 hearing against PMRA where we are asking the court to rule that the PMRA’s “approve first, study the science later” approach is unlawful and that the practice of granting approvals without science cannot continue.


For more information, contact:
Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada (613) 724-8690 | beatrice@foecanada.org
John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada (613) 291-6888 | johnbennett@foecanada.org

Friends of the Earth Canada is the Canadian member of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network campaigning on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues.