19 December, 2017 (Ottawa) – Today, after five years of study, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency has again failed to protect bees and pollinators.  Its re-evaluation report on two neonicotinoids proposes to allow continued use of clothianidin and thiamethoxam in Canada. A complicated mix of phase down of some uses and re-labelling does not match the stronger action taken in other countries.

“When other countries such as France and the UK, are taking steps to permanently ban these neonics, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, Health Canada has declined to take substantive action to protect bees,” says Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada. “They first let us down by conditionally registering these products and now, they’re proposing a dog’s breakfast of measures that will confuse users while continuing to harm bees.”

“It’s unfortunate Canadians cannot rely on Health Canada to protect our health and environment,” said John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada. “Choosing December 19th to release this long awaited information appears to be a deliberate attempt to mask the influence the pesticide industry exerts in Canada.”

Friends of the Earth is one of the four groups represented by Ecojustice lawyers in the lawsuit against Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). The lawsuit seeks a court order to end the PMRA’s decade-long practice of registering agricultural pesticides containing two neonicotinoid active ingredients (clothianidin and thiamethoxam) for use in Canada without the science the PMRA needs to determine the pesticides’ risks to pollinators.

The federal Pest Control Products Act requires the PMRA to have “reasonable certainty” that a pesticide will cause no harm to the environment before registering it. More than a decade ago the PMRA granted “conditional” registrations for two neonicotinoid pesticides, putting off for a later day its review of scientific information on the pesticides’ risks to pollinators.

Neonics are systemic chemical insecticides that are intended to control crop-destroying pests. They pose threats to non-target organisms like native bees which are responsible for pollinating one third of the world’s crops and 90 per cent of all wild plants. Unusually high incident reports of honey bee losses from corn growing regions across Southern Ontario in spring 2012 prompted PMRA to undertake the re-evaluation of thiamethoxam and clothianidin, both neonicotinoids used in seed treatment and many other uses.


For more information, contact:

Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada,  613 724 8690 Beatrice@foecanada.org

John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada, 613 291-6888 johnbennett@foecanada.org

Friends of the Earth Canada (www.foecanada.org) is the Canadian member of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network campaigning in 75 countries on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues.

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