The Senate’s Standing Committee on Agriculture released its much-anticipated report on bee health today. Entitled The Importance of Bee Health to Sustainable Food Production in Canada, the document highlights the complexity of bee health, and the many factors influencing it, while providing a list of recommendations the committee believes are necessary for improving bee health. The recommendations include continued bee health surveillance and changes to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA) registration process.
“Given the current duration of some conditionally registered neonic insecticides, the Committee believes that the duration of this conditional registration should be reduced,” said deputy chair Claudette Tardif. “It is necessary that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency accelerate its conditional registration process in order to reduce the current number of conditional registrations granted to neonicotinoid active ingredients.”
The recommendations from the committee include:
- Enabling bee importation from foreign jurisdictions such as the United States while keeping in mind the importance of improving the inspection of imported honey bee packages.
- Monitoring bee health status, across the country, through the implementation of the bee health surveillance project on a continuous basis, rather than a four-year period.
- Accelerating the implementation of the National Bee Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard in hives
- Reducing the current number of conditional registrations granted to neonic active ingredients.
- Ensuring, through the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development audits, that the PMRA is working on enhancing its pesticide registration process.
- Improving access to new pesticides which could be safely used in beehives.
- The PMRA keeps monitoring bee mortality and concludes, without delay, its re-evaluation of the three neonic insecticides.
- Increasing the amount and the duration of research funding targeting pollinator health.
- Improving management practices of beekeepers and growers while minimizing the use of chemical products and ensuring the availability of untreated seeds.
- Improving pollinator habitat in order to achieve floral diversity.
“Given the importance of bees to the environment and food production in Canada, our Senate Committee strongly believes in the continued collaboration between the federal government, stakeholders and the provinces to work on measures to improve pollinator health, such as the Bee Health Forum, the National Bee Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard, and the re-evaluation of three neonicotinoid pesticides,” said committee chair Percy Mockler.
The Senate committee heard from 85 witnesses over eight months. Witnesses included officials from the federal and provincial governments, the European Union, and Australia, as well as representatives from agriculture and agri-food associations and academia.
You can view the entire report, the process and an infographic by visiting this website.
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