Canada has no plans right now to follow the European Union's decision to ban a class of pesticides it believes is responsible for the deaths of many honey bees.
Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency said it already started a comprehensive review of three pesticides in the neonicotinoid class following last year's accidental poisonings of more than 200 apiaries in Ontario and Quebec by farmers applying the pesticides during plantings.
But it said that review is continuing and more investigation is needed to determine if the pesticides pose a significant environmental risk to domestic and wild pollinators. In the meantime, it has issued new rules to farmers on how to avoid killing bees with the pesticides.
Halifax, NS –Sierra Club Canada –Atlantic Canada Chapter is calling for immediate action to remedy gaps on ocean protection outlined in the Fall 2012 Report of the Commissioner on the Environment and Sustainable Development, released today. The Report focused on the offshore petroleum boards and federal departments’ ability to safeguard the environment, oil spill readiness, and progress in establishing a network of marine protected areas in Canada.
The break is over and we only have a few days to convince the Ontario government not to weaken its already inadequate enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.
The Natural Resources Ministry wants to stop issuing permits to developers wanting to build in areas where endangered species are living. Instead of being required to obtain a permit (as is the case now) when working in sensitive habitat areas home to endangered or threatened species, developers and industry would only have to voluntarily comply with existing rules and regulations. In our business "voluntary regulation" is an oxymoron; a misnomer for deregulation or the wholesale gutting of regulation (remember voluntary labeling of GM foods – 10 years later we’re still waiting for that to happen).
Ontario is bringing together a group of experts to provide advice on how to prevent bee mortalities.
The Bee Health Working Group will be comprised of beekeepers, farmers, agri-business representatives, scientists, and staff from both federal and provincial government agencies. Drawing on a broad range of expertise, the working group will provide recommendations on how to mitigate the potential risk to honey bees from exposure to neonicotinoid -- a pesticide used for corn and soybeans.
The working group will meet for the first time this month and provide its recommendations by spring 2014.
Supporting the province's agri-businesses while protecting the environment is part of the Ontario government's plan to create a fair and prosperous society.
Food production and bees: Believe it or not, the two go hand-in-hand … like milk and honey.
Bees serve an all-important role in transferring pollen and seeds from one flower to another - a practice that supports at least 30 per cent of the world's food crops and 90 per cent of our wild plants, according to the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council.
But despite a bee's integral role in cross-pollination, news that their population is on the decline is unlikely to come up at the dinner table.
But it is catching the attention of governments around the world, including in Europe, the U.S, as well as here at home, in Canada.
Research is questioning the logic behind the federal government's move to streamline environmental assessments.
After tracking thousands of assessments over a decade, the peer-reviewed findings of Derrick de Kerckhove suggest a great majority of Fisheries Act environmental reviews over the last decade were completed well within recommended timelines.
Nor was there a bottleneck of projects being held up by a clogged review process, he said.
"We didn't find any. Even when the input was high, it seemed to be handled very well."
De Kerckhove, a University of Toronto PhD candidate, analyzed 10 years worth of data from Department of Fisheries and Oceans annual reports on the progress of environmental assessments triggered under the Fisheries Act. That legislation generates more such reviews than almost any other — anywhere from 7,700 to more than 12,000 in a single year.