Conservation Council welcomes Health Canada’s phase out of bee-killing pesticides, but says immediate ban most prudent approach

Attention News Editors:  Lois Corbett, Executive Director, issued the following statement with respect to the federal government’s announcement on phasing out neonicotinoids. She is available for interviews.

“This is a major victory for protecting bees, butterflies, and all the pollinators who play such a vital role in getting food on the table for Canadian families.

Health Canada’s proposed decision today brings our country in line with the European Union, which banned the big three neonicotinoid pesticides — clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidicloprid — in April of this year.

This is a smart and much-welcome move, but, really, getting these toxins out of the environment should have been a no-brainer. These are nasty chemicals that have been proven by overwhelming scientific evidence to be deadly to bees and harmful to a range of other life, including aquatic insects that are important sources of food for fish, birds and other animals.

I’m pleased Health Canada made the right decision on neonicotinoids, but given the threat these chemicals pose to bees, the sustainability of our agricultural industry, and the broader food chain of our natural environment, I urge the agency to move much faster than a three-to-five year phase out beginning in 2021.

I also hope the agency will turn its attention to other chemicals that have no place or justifiable use in our environment, such as the spraying of glyphosate-based herbicides on New Brunswick’s Crown forest.”

Quick facts

  • Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are systemic chemical insecticides, meaning they are found in all tissues of treated plants, including pollen and nectar. They pose threats to organisms like native bees, which are responsible for pollinating one third of the world’s crops and 90 per cent of all wild plants
  • The European Union has seen marginal impact on agricultural production since it stopped the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in 2013. A number of other studies have concluded the use of neonicotinoids has little impact on yields.

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To arrange an interview, contact:

Jon MacNeill, Communications Director. Office: 458-8747; Cell: 238-3539; Email: