A specific class of pesticides called neonicotinoids (neonics) are harmful to bees and it’s slowly being recognized and banned all over the world but Canada still hasn’t banned this harmful pesticide. However, this could soon change. In August 2018, Health Canada announced their proposal to finally ban two of the most toxic neonic pesticides in Canada. This is what we have been waiting for. 

With your help, we've sent over a thousand letters to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) supporting the ban on neonics.  In November 2018, we had our day in court to protect pollinators against harmful neonics. Later on that month, we handed in the petition to ban neonics in Canada. The Wilderness Committee gathered 10,910 signatures alone and combined with 14 other environmental organizations almost half a million Canadians signed a petition to ban neonics.

In 2012, a Health Canada investigation confirmed a link between unusually high bee deaths and the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on corn crops in Ontario and Quebec. That same year, a beekeeper in Elmwood, Ontario reported the loss of 37 million bees after nearby cornfields were planted with seeds coated in the pesticide. In 2013, near a Target store in Oregon, 55 trees were sprayed with a neonicotinoid pesticide called Safari. Within days, an estimated 50,000 bumblebees were found dead and dying beneath the trees.

In June 2014, international researchers released the findings of a comprehensive four-year scientific study on neonics, which conclusively demonstrated that these pesticides are a serious risk to bees, butterflies, birds and earthworms. The authors of the international study clearly state that "there is clear evidence of harm sufficient to trigger regulatory action."

After the incident in Oregon, officials have temporarily restricted the use of neonicotinoids in the states. In 2018 the European Union officially banned the neonicotinoid insecticides due to the serious danger they pose to bees... In late 2014, the Ontario provincial government also proposed new rules that would eventually see an 80% reduction in the use of these harmful pesticides. Unfortunately, federal regulators in Canada are falling far behind. 

In 2018, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency proposed some changes to how we use neonicotinoids in Canada. But the changes are not good enough. For example, one of the changes is that extra labelling will be put on pesticide products for safer ways to use the product. 

The Wilderness Committee is joining other bee advocates across the country to push for a complete, nation-wide ban on these bee-killing pesticides – before it’s too late. 

Bees may be small, but the impact they have on our environment – and our daily lives – is immense. 

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