The Government of Ontario aims to protect pollinators by addressing the four main stressors that pollinators face: loss of habitat and nutrition; diseases, pests and genetics; pesticide exposure; climate change and weather.
The Province is proposing a draft Pollinator Health Action Plan, a component of its comprehensive Pollinator Health Strategy, as a plan for government, stakeholders and the public to work in partnership to enhance the state of health of Ontario’s pollinators, both managed and wild, and to strengthen their populations.
Ontario’s Pollinator Health Strategy
Ontario’s Pollinator Health Strategy (Strategy) was announced on November 25, 2014 as a multi-pronged, phased approach designed to address the four key stressors, while continuing to refine knowledge based on research. The three components of the Strategy include a pesticide regulation, beekeeper financial assistance and an action plan, which together will move Ontario closer to achieving two aspirational targets:
• An 80 per cent reduction in the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed by 2017, and
• A 15 per cent over-winter honey bee mortality rate by 2020.
As a first step, effective July 1, 2015, Ontario introduced new rules that restrict the use of corn and soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoid (NNI) pesticides to where there is demonstrated need.
On September 23, 2015, Ontario launched a permanent, self-sustaining insurance plan to protect beekeepers from colony losses caused by insured perils that occur during the overwinter period.
A Pollinator Health Action Plan (Action Plan) is a component of the Strategy, which in combination with the other Strategy components, will help the government achieve its targets.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has developed a draft Action Plan for the purpose of enhancing the health of Ontario’s managed and wild pollinators. It will promote a sustainable food supply, resilient ecosystems and a strong economy.
The draft Action Plan is a government plan to work with strategic partners to promote environmental stewardship and improve pollinator health over the next several years. It includes a wide range of actions to:
• Promote awareness of actions that all Ontarians can take to enhance pollinator health;
• Establish strategic partnerships for creating pollinator habitat across Ontario’s urban and rural landscapes;
• Strengthen honey bee management practices and reduce the impacts of disease and pests;
• Build on existing provincial initiatives related to climate change, biodiversity conservation, and natural heritage planning; and
• Enhance research, monitoring and surveillance of pollinator health, pesticide and crop pest presence to establish baselines, publicly report on progress and adapt actions in response to performance over time.