Europe banned neonics in 2018. Why is Canada settling for half measures?
While neonics are notoriously toxic to bees, they can also harm other beneficial organisms, including aquatic insects like mayflies, which are an important link in the food chain. Evaluations by Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency found that these chemicals are polluting Canadian waters at levels harmful to aquatic insects.
But after more than a decade of foot-dragging, the agency flip-flopped on its proposal to end agricultural use of these chemicals and is allowing most uses to continue. PMRA now claims risks to aquatic insects can be addressed by reducing application rates and by listing additional precautions on product labels. These half measures will not be as effective as a ban. Canada does not systematically monitor pesticide use or concentrations in the environment so will have no way of knowing whether the new restrictions have any effect at all.
We need government to ban these harmful chemicals, not just tinker with the labels while allowing their continued use!
“After years of delay, the federal government’s decision on neonics means we must cross our fingers and hope for the best,” says Lisa Gue, senior policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation. “Canada’s failure to take effective and timely action on neonics should serve as a wake-up call: Canada needs to come to terms with pesticides as a major threat to biodiversity.”
The European Union banned all outdoor uses of the three main neonics, following a 2018 report from its scientific risk assessment authority confirming serious danger to honeybees and wild bees.
Canada should follow suit and ban bee-killing neonics now!