Latest science proves controversial pesticides aren’t needed, affordable alternatives exist

Joint statement of the David Suzuki Foundation and Équiterre
on new research findings by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides

OTTAWA — A synthesis of more than 200 peer-reviewed studies from around the world calls into question the value of neonicotinoid insecticides (“neonics”) in agriculture. Canada should phase out neonics in favour of effective, affordable and less toxic alternative pest-management strategies that are tried and tested. The new research points to win-win solutions that protect farmers’ revenues and the environment.

The use of neonic seed treatments does not guarantee an increase in crop yields because, in many cases, pest populations are below levels that would cause significant damage. Meanwhile, over-reliance on neonics and other insecticides has inflicted serious damage to the ecological underpinnings of agricultural productivity. Plus, pests are developing resistance to neonics, rendering them even less effective.

The overwhelming evidence of negative effects on pollinators and other beneficial species is reason enough to phase out all neonics, as France will do starting this September. This new study is further evidence that this can and should be done without delay. Canada must recognize the need — and opportunity — for a more restrictive pesticide regulatory system. Innovative agricultural policies can support the transition toward less toxic pest-management strategies. Alternatives are already available; we just need the political will.

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For more information, please contact:

Camille Gagné-Raynauld, Équiterre,, 514 605-2000

Brendan Glauser, David Suzuki Foundation,, 604-356-8829


  • The study was published today in the academic journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research
  • The complete TFSP media package is available on the TFSP website.
  • The European Commission ended the use of three neonics (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin) on crops that attract bees in 2013, and is now considering a proposal to expand the moratorium to more crops and other neonics. France passed a law to phase out all neonics starting in September 2018.
  • Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is currently conducting several assessments of neonic risks. On December 20, 2017, the PMRA published draft pollinator risk assessments for two main neonics, clothianidin (CLO) and thiamethoxam (THI). The proposal would end or restrict some spray applications of these neonics but allow widespread use of CLO and THI seed treatments to continue.
  • Separately, the PMRA has proposed to phase-out agricultural uses (including seed treatments) of a third neonic, imidacloprid, because of risks to aquatic insects. Aquatic risk assessments for CLO and THI will be published later this year.
  • Canadians can submit comments on the PMRA pollinator risk assessments until March 19, 2018, via the David Suzuki Foundation and Équiterre’s online petitions in English and French.
  • For more information about neonics and ecological risks, please consult Équiterre’s fact sheet.