Friends of the Earth congratulates Ontario for reducing use of bee-toxic neonicotinoids

Jun 9th, 2015 2:07 PM

(Ottawa, ON, June 9, 2015) Ontario's new pesticide regulation requires a permanent reduction of 80% in the use of corn and soybean seeds coated with neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam). This regulation is novel in its designation of the coated seeds as pesticides.

Friends of the Earth is pleased and impressed by Ontario's leadership in finalizing this first permanent reduction in the use of neonicotinoids in Canada. With its new pesticide regulation, Ontario is delivering important benefits for nature including honey bees, native bees and other vulnerable species.

Ontario is addressing the single largest use of neonicotinoids in the province, coated corn and soy seed used on a large portion of the five million acres of these crops in Ontario. A growing body of research around the world reports no appreciable yield benefit from the use of neonicotinoids to coat soy and corn seed including a 2014 report by the US EPA and a 2015 leaked document from Canada's Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency.

Friends of the Earth's polling has shown that Ontario residents are firmly in support of positive action to protect bees, equally from rural and urban parts of the province, from all party affiliations and across all age groups. “The astounding public support for action to protect bees is an urgent signal to all politicians that the bee crisis is unacceptable,” says Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada.

Ontario produces a wide variety of crops that rely on bees for pollination -- apples, cherries, peaches and plums, cucumbers, asparagus, squash, pumpkins, melons, blueberries, cranberries and other crops.

“We hope Ontario will continue now to address other agricultural and horticultural uses of these bee-toxic pesticides,” says Olivastri.

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For more information, or to schedule interviews, please contact:
Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada, (613) 724-8690, beatrice@foecanada.org.

Friends of the Earth Canada (www.foecanada.org) 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.

Neonicotinoids work by interfering with insects’ nervous systems. Three neonicotinoid pesticides are subject to a temporary ban in the European Union (EU) from 2013 due to evidence that they harm bees. In light of the EU ban, Friends of the Earth has been calling for a Canada-wide ban on the registration of neonicotinoids since 2013. In Canada, the federal government controls registration of pesticides products and the provinces control sale and use of the pesticides.