Ontario becomes first province or state in North America to restrict neonics

TORONTO — Ontario’s pollinator protection regulations, released today, make it the first province or state in North America to restrict the use and sale of bee-killing pesticides, known as neonics.

“We’re relieved to see Ontario follow-through with a meaningful response to the serious threat posed by these bee-killing pesticides,” said Pierre Sadik, Ecojustice’s manager of legislative affairs. “There is widespread public support for urgent government action on bee deaths and for protecting other important pollinators.”

Ontario’s neonic regulations come into effect on July 1. The regulations will put a stop to the overuse of pesticide-treated seeds by requiring purchasers to prove that crops are actually threatened by pests.

“The use of neonic-treated soybean and corn seeds has become indiscriminate and routine, whether or not pests are present,” said Dr. Elaine MacDonald, Ecojustice senior staff scientist.

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 impact of the regulations will need to be monitored annually to ensure that the 80 per cent pesticide reduction target is achieved and maintained.

Ecojustice representatives are available for further comment.

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