Last week, I applauded Ontario’s Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal for his decision to restrict the use of neoniotinoids on farmers’ fields. To be clear, I would prefer an outright ban, but this is an important and pragmatic step to substantially reduce use of these bee-killing pesticides and shows leadership on the North American stage.

Jeff Leal WebsiteAccording to the announcement, Minister Leal will introduce a licensing system requiring farmers and other commercial growers to apply for permits to plant seeds treated with neonicotinoids. Farmers will have to be out in their fields this summer to assess next year’s requirements rather than using neonic-coated seeds everywhere.

This announcement has sparked push-back and fear-mongering by the chemical sector – they’re trying to instill fear in the public by saying that, with this new licensing system, the only option will be to return to the old pesticides that will poison our children instead of bees. I hope Minister Leal and the rest of Ontario’s Cabinet will see through this nonsense and be reassured that experience in Italy and other parts of Europe have not borne this out in any way.

For bees, we must act now to stop exposing them to neonicotinoid pesticides. Without bees, one third of our food is gone. I hope all concerned citizens will join Friends of the Earth in congratulating Minister Leal on this step and urge him to move fast to put this licensing system into place. Send him a note at

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