Market Action on Neonics

It’s time for a check-in on garden centres to see if they’re maintaining their pledges to remove bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides from their flowering plants supplied by plant nurseries. 

Neonics are systemic pesticides that are taken up by the whole plant and contaminate the nectar and pollen which then becomes dangerous to wild native bees, honey bees and other pollinators.

Thank you to gardeners who continue to ask staff at garden centres whether their flowering plants are “neonic-free”. Without your continued vigilance, it’s very easy for retailers to slide backwards on their commitments.

2024 Update – Policy on Use of Bee-toxic Neonicotinoid Pesticides by Garden Centres across Canada (order by number of outlets)


Loblaws, Zehrs, Your Independent Grocer, etc.


Statement from Loblaw’s Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2022

“Eliminating neonicotinoids to improve pollinator health – The issue of pollinator health and neonicotinoids is of considerable concern for the agricultural industry. While neonicotinoids are still in use in Canada, no live plants in our garden centers are treated with neonicotinoid containing pesticides. Our live-plant vendors have confirmed that they use integrated pest management systems using biological controls such as predator insects as an alternative to neonicotinoids”.

In 2022, we enabled Canadians to contribute to healthier, more resilient ecosystems, through the sale of more than 50 species of plants that help local wildlife thrive at 130 of our stores. As the first major retailer to sell Ontario native plants grown from source-identified and ethically collected seeds, this program supports important restoration and regeneration efforts, which will help migratory and local wildlife thrive.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. (2022). Environmental Social Governance Report. Loblaw Companies Ltd.

Retrieved from


Home Hardware, Home Building Centre, Home Furniture, etc.


2024 Statement on neonics:

Home Hardware, with close to 1100 stores, asserts that, as part of its commitment to sustainability, its distribution centers do not carry products with neonicotinoids – a pesticide that is linked to honey bee mortalities. It recognizes our responsibility to educate our Home Hardware Dealer-Owners on this important issue.

Home Hardware. (2024, March 6). Corporate: Notice; Neonicotinoids.

Retrieved from Home Hardware:


Costco Stores


Costco Pollinator Policy 2023:

Costco acknowledges that pollinators are affected by, among other things, pesticides that threaten their existence. In this regard it has a Policy to Protect Pollinator Health (Costco Wholesale, 2023) which involves working with suppliers to phase-out the use of pesticides that harm pollinators, including Neonicotinoids and Chlorpyrifos. In addition, they use Integrated Pest Management strategies through inspection and monitoring to detect and correct conditions that could lead to pest problems.

Costco Wholesale. (2023, March 6). Resources and Updates.

Retrieved from Costco Wholesale: Policy.pdf


RONA Stores, RONA+, etc.


2024 Statement:

…the company has eliminated from its inventory household products that contain chemicals that may raise concerns for the health and the environment, such as plants and pesticides containing neonicotinoids. The latter are believed to be harmful to bee populations.

Globe and Mail article, April 16, 2024 “At RONA, it’s about doing business the right way”

Retrieved May 16, 2024


Canadian Tire Stores


Recent Statement:

As you are aware, Canadian Tire adheres to all current regulations surrounding the sale of cosmetic pesticides in our stores. When it comes to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, Canadian Tire follows all regulations set out by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) as well as current provincial regulations. Over the past several years, we have been working with our suppliers to increase the number of plants in our assortment that are not treated with neonicotinoids. Based on the most recent supplier survey, 87% of the plants sold at our stores have not been exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides during their care. Of the remaining plants that may have been exposed to spot use, only a small percentage would have been exposed to neonicotinoids and as a result we believe that over 95% of the plants we sell are neonicotinoid-free. Additionally, we have heard that many of the large international propagation companies are starting to use alternative pesticides. We have confirmation that the top three breeders for our core programs no longer use any neonics at their propagation farms, reducing the chance of their plants being exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides during the seed or cutting start of the product life cycle. Canadian Tire continues to monitor information on neonicotinoid pesticides and to work with industry, vendors and regulators to reduce any impacts to the environment.

2019 correspondence with Canadian Tire

Canadian Tires. (2016-2017). Sustainability Report. Canadian Tires. Retrieved March 7, 2024, from


Walmart and Walmart Superstores


Recent Statement:

Walmart is urging suppliers to label their products as pollinator friendly plants (Walmart, 2021), as attractive to pollinators in our retail locations. In addition, it reckons that “One of the contributors to pollinator decline is the use of pesticides. Pollinator exposure to pesticides can be reduced by minimizing the use of pesticides, incorporating alternative forms of pest control and adopting a range of specific application practices through an Integrated Pest Management system. Therefore, Walmart U.S. is committing to source 100% of the fresh produce and floral we sell in our in-store produce department from suppliers that adopt IPM practices, as verified by a third-party, by 2025” (Walmart, 2021).

Walmart. (2021, April 13). Restoring Pollinator Habitats is Key to Feeding the Future. Retrieved from Walmart:


Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, etc.


2024 Statement: 

Sobeys promotes urban bee farming through selling rooftop bee hives and providing useful information on chemical free crop farming for better pollinator health (Sobeys, 2024).

As a family nurturing families here at Sobeys, we’ve partnered with Alvéole in a new honeybee

project to nurture a very important pollinating family: bees.

Using urban rooftop beehives, we’re bringing message honey to your home, while giving one to the bees on top of our selected Sobeys stores.

Sobeys. (2024, March 7). Bringing the Buzz to the Basket with Alvéole; Urban Bee farming.

Retrieved from Sobeys:


Home Depot Stores


Recent Statement

In 2018 Home Depot set a goal to be neonicotinoid free by 2019 except where mandated by law, a step they have achieved.

Home Depot. (2023). Environmental Social and Governance Report. Home Depot.

Retrieved March 6, 2024, from


Sheridan Nurseries


2024 Statement on neonics (excerpt): 

“All plants grown by Sheridan Nurseries are Neonics free. Our main bedding plant supplier assures us that they are Neonics free and the seed they use has not been treated with Neonics. However, other plants are sourced from various suppliers across Canada and around the world, where we request them to confirm in writing that the plants are neonicotinoid free. Hence, we cannot guarantee that ALL plants we sell are Neonics free. As a further commitment to the preservation of the bee population we have developed a line of Sheridan Garden Classic perennials which we have named “Bee-neficial” plants. We are also promoting bee friendly annuals and flowering shrubs” (Sheridan Nurseries, 2024).

Sheridan Nurseries. (2024, March 7). Home, Garden Resources FAQs.

Retrieved from Sheridan Nurseries:

The information above has been collected from corporate statements, email correspondence, in-store visits, and news releases. If you notice any discrepancies between what we have reported above and what you have experienced in store, please let us know by emailing foe[at]foecanada[dot]org. We will update this chart as new information becomes available, and as retailers move to make further changes!

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