Ontario Providing Assistance to Rebuild Bee Colonies

News Release

Ontario Providing Assistance to Rebuild Bee Colonies

Province Supporting a Healthy Environment, Strong Agri-Food Sector

Ontario is helping beekeepers rebuild their colonies and maintain the essential role honeybees play in the pollination of agricultural crops.

Due to harsh winter conditions this year and other pollinator health issues, the province's bee colonies are expected to experience higher than normal mortality rates. To help offset these losses, Ontario is providing one-time financial assistance of $105 per hive to beekeepers who have 10 hives or more and lose over 40 per cent of their colonies between Jan. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2014.

Registered beekeepers representing over 90 per cent of the hives in Ontario and the majority of pollination services offered by the industry will benefit from the program. The province is also exploring options to provide bee mortality insurance over the longer term.

Supporting a strong agri-food sector is part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario's greatest strengths -- its people and strategic partnerships.

Quick Facts

  • Beekeepers can continue to access existing programs like AgriStability, AgriInvest and the Self-Directed Risk Management Program for support, and are encouraged to contact Agricorp to explore their options.
  • Honeybees play an essential role in the pollination of an estimated $170 million of the province’s horticulture and field crops.
  • Three thousand registered beekeepers manage approximately 100,000 honey bee colonies in Ontario. Honey production contributes $26 million to the province’s economy.
  • The province committed $1.2 million toward researching factors that affect bee health and related best management practices in field crop production. Additional actions are underway to support bees and other pollinators based on input from the Ontario Bee Health Working Group.

Quotes

Kathleen Wynne

“We recognize the critical role pollinators and beekeepers play in maintaining a healthy environment and productive agri-food sector. We want to keep honey bee colonies strong going into the growing season while we continue working with the industry to support long-term sustainability for beekeepers and the health of all pollinators.”

Kathleen Wynne

Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food

“We are pleased that the Ontario Government has taken a first step toward helping beekeepers. While the compensation plan doesn't solve the problem, it will help mitigate losses that Ontario beekeepers have suffered from the harsh winter and the inappropriate use of neonicotinoid pesticides. We look forward to working together to expedite a sustainable solution that addresses current threats to bee health.”

Dan Davidson

President, Ontario Beekeepers' Association

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