Statement on Progress of Bee Health Working Group
Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Today, Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food, issued the following statement on bee health in Ontario:
"While Ontario waits for the federal government -- the regulator for pesticides in Canada -- to provide its direction on neonicotinoid use, we have been doing what we can by taking steps to find science-based solutions to ensure a healthy bee population.
Today, I received an update on the work of the Ontario Bee Health Working Group. Based on the group's early discussions, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is working with seed trade and grain farmer organizations to raise farmers' awareness of their options to plant non-insecticide treated corn and soybean seed.
I applaud the members' dedication to bringing their diverse expertise to the table, and I have asked them to provide ongoing advice to the ministry in time for spring 2014 planting.
Ontario continues to address broader bee health issues, including those related to neonicotinoids, through a range of other actions. These include deploying a team of 21 bee inspectors and specialists to support bee health across the province, providing annual funding of over $100,000 to the Ontario Beekeepers' Association, and committing more than $700,000 to research initiatives on bee health in 2013.
Bees play an important role in maintaining a healthy and productive agri-food sector. We need the federal government to take definitive action and make bee health and pesticide use a top priority. Addressing this complex problem will result in a stronger industry and a stronger Ontario."