It’s summer, and like bees, we are busy!

Back in April, Friends of the Earth Canada, with the support of Ecojustice, called on Ontario’s Minister of the Environment to investigate the unlawful, sale of flowering plants containing banned pesticides, including bee-killing neonicotinoids.

Samples collected by Friends of the Earth Canada from plants sold at RONA, Canadian Tire and Home Depot garden centres in Ottawa detected Class 9 pesticides residues in concentrations exceeding scientific standards of harm in flowering, ornamental plants. One of the main Class 9 pesticides found was Imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid known to pose threats to non-target organisms like bees.

The Minister’s response is disappointing. The ministry does not consider the definition of “pesticide” to include a plant containing a pesticide residue…”

This flies in the face of the neonic regulation that treats neonic-coated corn and soy as “pesticides”. So Friends of the Earth is considering our next steps in protecting pollinators and children from pesticides.

And we have freedom of information requests in to the four provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Manitoba) with substantive cosmetic pesticide bans. After all the tough campaigning to get these bans in place, we want to know how they are being enforced.

We haven’t forgotten the federal government. We will be going to court represented by Ecojustice to ensure Canadian regulators like the PMRA conduct more rigorous review of toxic pesticides including those that harm pollinators.

Recent events in Ontario, an area of very high bee biodiversity, lead us to suspect there will be less support for pollinator protection.  We fear little or no enforcement on the Cosmetic Pesticide Act.

This is not a time to let up. Stay tuned.

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