Health Canada releases decisions on neonicotinoid pesticides for impact on aquatic insects 

News release

New mitigation measures will help protect aquatic insects and their environments

March 31, 2021 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada

Today, following a special review that included broad public consultation and science-based assessments, Health Canada released its decisions on the risks to aquatic insects from two neonicotinoid pesticides: clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

To protect aquatic insects, Health Canada will be updating the use of some uses of clothianidin and thiamethoxam, and introducing additional mitigation measures and restrictions on some of the uses that remain registered. The new information collected during the special reviews allowed the Department to determine that some uses do not pose a risk to aquatic insects, while other uses do pose risks of concern. The revised conditions of use must be reflected on all product labels no later than 24 months from today. A small number of uses for which there are no suitable alternatives will continue for an additional 24 months. Adjustments to the use of pesticides will be in accordance with the Health Canada’s Policy on Cancellations and Amendments Following Re-evaluation and Special Review.

For this special review, Health Canada undertook significant engagement and consultation with industry, stakeholders, and Canadians, receiving more than 47,000 comments from the public through this process. The reviews also considered a significant amount of new water monitoring data and scientific studies and papers. 

As part of its commitment to openness and transparency, Health Canada is publishing information related to these special review decisions, including the outcome of the science evaluation as well as next steps.

Quick facts

  • Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticide used to control insects on a variety of agricultural crops, including as a seed treatment, and on turf and ornamental plants as well as other uses.

  • When used according to new mitigation measures, clothianidin and thiamethoxam will not pose additional risks to aquatic insects.

  • The new measures for the uses that remain registered include: revised label instructions such as reduced application rates, a reduction in number of applications, and spray buffer zones.

  • To be approved for sale in Canada, all pesticides must undergo a rigorous science-based review. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency is responsible for pesticide regulation in Canada.

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Cole Davidson
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

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Health Canada

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