There is global scientific consensus that pollinators are in decline in both the state of health and in population numbers. This is believed to be caused by multiple interacting factors such as loss of pollinator habitat and nutrition, pesticide exposure, climate change and weather, and disease, pests and genetics. Ontario beekeepers have also been experiencing higher than average over-winter hive losses in recent years, in addition to in-season mortality incidents.
Ontario is taking action that includes sustainable, long-term initiatives aimed at improving the health of bees and other pollinators.
The proposed multi-pronged approach, which will strengthen pollinator health in order to promote a sustainable food supply, healthy ecosystems and a strong economy.
In addition, it will reduce the use of neonicotinoid treated seed for the 2015 planting season; a proposal for a regulation governing the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed that would be in effect July 1, 2015 and establish a Pollinator Health Action Plan.
The first part of the discussion paper sets out the goals we hope to achieve through a Pollinator Health Action Plan, and the strategies to achieve our key aspirational target of reducing the over-winter honey bee mortality rate to 15 per cent by 2020. Given the complexity of the issue, it is important that actions to improve pollinator health address all stressors.
The second part of the discussion paper focuses on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (as one component of the over-arching plan). Ontario has set the challenging aspirational target of reducing the number of acres where neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds are planted by 80 percent by the year 2017. Through targeting the use of neonicotinoid-treated seed to where it is truly required, we believe we can achieve this goal while maintaining a strong and competitive agricultural sector.
The government is seeking input on the discussion paper. To view the detailed discussion paper that describes the entire proposal, please see the link under “Further Information” entitled “Discussion Paper”.
In person consultation sessions based on the discussion paper will be held in December and January to seek feedback from all key stakeholders – government, industry, researchers, organizations and individuals – to improve the health of pollinators in Ontario.
Ontario Pollinator Health
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch
1 Stone Rd. West, 2nd Floor
Guelph ON N1G 4Y2
This proposal was posted for a 61 day public review and comment period starting November 25, 2014. Comments were to be received by January 25, 2015.
All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.
Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.
Monday December 8, 2014 - Evening: Webex
Tuesday December 9, 2014 – Afternoon: London, ON
Wednesday December 10th, 2014 – Afternoon: Webex
Thursday December 11, 2014 - Morning: Toronto, ON
Monday December 15, 2014 - Afternoon: Webex in French
Wednesday January 14, 2015 morning: Kingston
To register for a meeting or Webex session and obtain location information and conference call numbers please contact: Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or Ag.firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also register online at www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/pollinator/meeting-reg.htm.