Act now to keep our bees buzzing

 brown belted bumble bee


We have an urgent opportunity to ban a harmful pesticide that is known to be detrimental to pollinators and the environment.

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is currently re-evaluating the use of imidacloprid. Imidacloprid is a commercial neonicotinoid insecticide (“neonic”) that is available on store shelves to kill insects on agricultural crops, trees, lawns, and even pet ticks and fleas.

The PMRA is taking a step in the right direction by proposing to phase-out most uses of imidacloprid over the next three to five years. 

Please join Ontario Nature in supporting the phase-out, but asking the PMRA to go further faster. We need a full ban of this neonic and the phase-out should take effect immediately. The government knows this insecticide is harmful and must act now.

The proposal is open for public comment until March 23, 2017.

As a systemic pesticide, imidacloprid is water-soluble and persists in the environment for months and even years. The government’s own environmental assessment states that imidacloprid poses risks to aquatic insects, soil dwelling organisms, arthropods, birds and small mammals, and that agricultural use is unsustainable. The adverse impacts of this and other neonics have been confirmed in a meta-analysis of 1,121 peer-reviewed scientific studies, conducted by 29 independent scientists from around the world. The case is air tight. Pollinator decline in particular has been linked to the widespread use of these harmful neonics.

The PMRA’s proposed phase-out does not include products for: 1) use in and around structures; 2) trees when applied as a tree trunk injection; and 3) flea, tick and lice treatments on cats and dogs. 

Given that this harmful chemical persists in soils, is water-soluble and present in non-target vegetation, the environmental risks are simply not worth it and a full ban of this pesticide is needed – and now.

We are also asking the PMRA to ensure that no other neonics be registered for use without proper assessments of environmental and health impacts, as required by law. Ontario Nature and three other environmental organizations, represented by Ecojustice, are suing the PMRA over the unlawful registration of two other neonics, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. If successful, this case could lead the way for more rigorous reviews of toxic pesticides in Canada. 

Photo © brown-belted bumble bee, Diana Troya

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