Health Canada launches consultation on use of imidacloprid pesticide

News release

Some uses of this neonicotinoid are proposed for phase out to protect bees and other pollinators

May 31, 2018 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada

Canadians care about how the use of pesticides impacts the environment. The Government of Canada relies on scientific evidence to evaluate pesticides so that they are used safely and do not threaten human health or the environment. With that in mind, the Government of Canada is consulting Canadians on its latest proposal to protect bees and other pollinators from exposure to imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide.

Health Canada's scientific assessment of imidacloprid looked at the effects of this pesticide on pollinators such as honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees. The assessment found that there are some uses of imidacloprid that may pose a risk to bees. The Department is therefore proposing significant restrictions on the use of imidacloprid products to protect bees and other pollinators. These proposed restrictions include the cancellation of some uses, restrictions on the timing of use, and new product labels.

Consultations on this proposed decision will be open to the public for 90 days. Comments received during this consultation will be considered along with input from previous consultations, including separate restrictions that were proposed in 2016 to protect aquatic insects. We expect to publish a final decision on the overall use of imidacloprid in Canada in December 2018.

Health Canada's primary objective in regulating pesticides is to protect the health of Canadians and the environment. All pesticides must undergo a rigorous science-based review before being approved for sale in Canada.

Quick facts

  • Three important neonicotinoids are currently approved for agricultural use in Canada: imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam. Re-evaluations are currently under way for all three pesticides.

  • Imidacloprid is often used as a coating on crop seeds to prevent insects from eating the seeds and to protect the plants as they grow. It can also be sprayed onto plants or bare soil, and used as a granular application on turf grass or as a tree injection.

  • There has been a 70-92% decrease in reported bee deaths or other adverse effects since Health Canada implemented previous actions to protect bees from the dust from the planting of corn and soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoids.

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Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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