Ontario Announces Details of Pollinator Health Plan

Ontario has released its Pollinator Health Action Plan which includes focusing on four key stressors to honeybee and pollinator health and financial support and increased education for beekeepers. A re-iterated aspirational goal to “restore, enhance and protect” 1 million acres of pollinator habitat is also included in the plan.

Found here, the plan is a mix of recapping what has already been announced and also lays out how the Ontario government envisions handling pollinator health going forward, though several details are yet to be worked out regarding final wording and commitments and who leads each section (the plan is referred to as “flexible and adaptive in nature”).

The plan does identify how each of four identified health “stressors” should be addressed. The four stressors are: disease, pests and genetics; exposure to pesticides; reduced habitat and poor nutrition; and, climate change and weather.

As for beekeeper training, Ontario would like to (responsibility/goal timing is in brackets):

  • Develop and deliver a suite of activities and programs designed to enhance beekeeper knowledge of emerging issues and research, BMPs and IPM practices. This includes continued delivery of the Ontario Beekeepers Association’s Technology Transfer Program (OMAFRA and OBA; ongoing). Continue to require that ministry-recommended BMPs be followed by beekeepers to be eligible for the Bee Mortality Production Insurance program. (OMAFRA and Agricorp; ongoing)
  • Incorporate recommended BMPs into mandatory biosecurity workshops that producers must take to receive Growing Forward 2 (GF2) implementation funding. (OMAFRA; ongoing)
  • Develop biosecurity-specific educational materials for greenhouse growers to help reduce pathogen spread from managed bumble bees to wild pollinators. (OMAFRA; 2017)

An inter-ministerial steering committee will be responsible for overseeing the implementation, according to the Ontario government.

This plan identifies the ministries and organizations accountable for each action with an associated timeline for completion. Identified ministries will be responsible for implementing their individual actions and reporting to the steering committee, the government says.

Progress toward each of the targets will be shared publicly through the online pollinator portal found at: www.ontario.ca/pollinators.

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