Final neonic decision delayed until early 2020

Citing the need to review new research, Health Canada is delaying the final decision on outdoor uses of all three neonicotinoid insecticides, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and imidacloprid.

While neonics originally came under scrutiny for their apparent risk to honeybees and other pollinator species, Health Canada’s review findings, announced in early 2019, found only certain instances where the insecticide posed a threat to bees. Registration of neonics for many applications would remain in place based on that review, however, Health Canada had already conducted a separate review of neonics’ impact on aquatic insects. That review led to the department proposing the cancelation of nearly all outdoor uses of neonics due to these risks.

Health Canada will cancel registration of neonicotinoids on crops that bees find attractive, such as orchard trees, and will require that some crops, such as berries and fruiting vegetables, not be sprayed before or during bloom. Seed treatment uses are acceptable; however, Health Canada requires the addition of label statements for all cereal and legume crops to minimize exposure to dust during planting of treated seeds.

Since the proposed cancellation was announced, the department says several new scientific papers have been published and the department has received additional information and comments from the public, provinces, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s water monitoring working group.

Health Canada is currently reviewing the submitted information and plans to provide a status update in January.

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