Update on Actions to Protect Bees from Exposure to Neonicotinoid Pesticides, Notice of Intent, NOI2013-01

Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency published the Notice of Intent (NOI) Action to Protect Bees from Exposure to Neonicotinoid Pesticides on 13 September 2013.

The measures outlined in the NOI to address the problems of exposure of bees during planting of treated corn and soybean seeds in the spring are being implemented with the cooperation of all stakeholders. The measures are:

  • A safer dust-reducing seed flow lubricant is now available and must be used.
  • Safer seed planting practices must be followed.
  • New pesticide and seed labels with enhanced warnings are available.
  • Health Canada has asked for additional information to support the continued need for neonicotinoid treatment on up to 100% of the corn seed and 50% of the soybean seed.

Results of these measures to protect bees from exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides will be closely monitored as the 2014 planting season progresses. Pending the outcome of these measures we will consider if any further actions may be necessary.

A very high number of comments were submitted by stakeholders and the public in response to the NOI consultation, reflective of Canadians' concern for the environment and the status of pollinators in Canada. Overall, a majority of the respondents (89%) supported taking further action (including a ban or moratorium on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides generally). Others (11%) were supportive of the measures proposed in the NOI to protect pollinators. Approximately 90% of the comments came from the general public and the majority of responses were received as electronic form letters.

Health Canada shares Canadians' concern regarding the importance of and need for a healthy bee and pollinator population. We are working with regulatory authorities around the world to understand any potential impacts this class of insecticides may be having on bees. We also continue to work closely with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, provincial governments, grain growers, beekeepers, and the pesticide industry to find additional methods to further reduce potential pollinator exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides. In addition, the re-evaluation of neonicotinoids in collaboration with the United States Environmental Protection Agency has been accelerated. An interim report is expected by 2015.

For more information, consult Health Canada's Pollinator Protection webpage at: healthcanada.gc.ca/pollinators. You may also contact the Pest Management Regulatory Agency by calling 1-800-267-6315 toll-free or by email to pmra.infoserv@hc-sc.gc.ca.

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