Mandate Letter for OMAFRA Calls for “Meaningful Reduction” in Neonic Use by 2015

Corn in July. Photo credit: Bernard Tobin, 2014

Bees in a honeycombKathleen Wynne, premier of Ontario, has rolled out mandate letters to each of the provincial departments.

Of particular note on the agriculture file headed up by Jeff Leal, Wynne’s set priorities for the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, under the heading “Ensuring Sustainability of Agriculture,” states:

 

  • Strengthening pollinator health. You will work with other ministers and stakeholders to develop a Pollinator Health Strategy for Ontario that includes sustainable, long-term initiatives aimed at improving the health of bees and other pollinators.
  • Working with the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, other ministers, industry partners and stakeholders, develop an action plan to meaningfully reduce neonicotinoid use for the 2015 growing season, including measurable targets. I also ask that you develop a system that requires a reduction in the use of seeds treated with neonicotinoid insecticides for the 2016 growing season through regulatory mechanisms, permitting or further measures as needed.

The Grain Farmers of Ontario released a statement in regards to the mandate letter, saying “It’s critical that any action forward is made with a clear understanding of the realities of grain farming and careful consideration to the requirements of grain farmers,” says chair, Henry Van Ankum. “A mis-step in the regulatory process, particularly at a time when crop prices are at a four year low, could mean the difference between profit and loss for countless grain farmers across the province.”

Our members, and our industry as a whole, have demonstrated a strong commitment to the issue of pollinator health over the past two years,” says Van Ankum.  “We know that our efforts to improve the situation are paying off with early indications from Health Canada reporting a decline in bee deaths over the past year.”

Grain Farmers of Ontario expects that any changes to regulations around the use of neonicotinoids will be guided by grain industry experts to ensure a practical and logical course of action is taken.

Click here to read the full mandate set out for OMAFRA.

 

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