Since the European Union voted to suspend the use of three neonicotinoid
insecticides in 2013, there has been significant interest in
Canada and the United States to regulate the use of these
pesticides. Also known as neonics, these pesticides are believed to
be significantly contributing to the wide-spread harm of
pollinators, including bees.
While a review of the ban is now ongoing in the
EU, in Ontario, on July 1, 2015, new regulations took effect to control the sale
and use of three types of neonicotinoid-treated seeds. The
regulations were unsuccessfully challenged in court, with the Court
of Appeal dismissing an appeal by the Grain Farmers of
Ontario in April. The regulation applies to corn seed grown for
grain, silage and soybean seed, but not for popping corn, sweet
corn or corn used for the production of seed.
In December 2015, Quebec announced it would follow Ontario's lead,
but would also compensate farmers who choose not to use the seeds.
However, no further information has been released to date.
At least two Canadian municipalities, Vancouver and Prince Edward County, have taken steps to stop
the use of these pesticides for municipal purposes.
Earlier this year, Maryland, the first U.S. state to do so, took
steps to reduce the use of neonicotinoid pesticides with the Pollinator Protection Act of 2016. Effective
January 1, 2018, the sale and use of all neonics will be prohibited
at retail unless the person also sells a "restricted use
pesticide". This means only persons who are certified
applicators, a farmer, or a veterinarian may use the pesticide.
Some exceptions apply, for example pet care products and indoor
pest control products may continue to be sold.
The bill also requires that on completion of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency's ("EPA") pollinator
risk assessment of neonics, the Maryland Department of Agriculture
("MDA") must review the State's pesticide laws and
regulations and make any further recommendations for changes to
ensure that the regulations are protective of pollinators. Finally,
the MDA must incorporate habitat expansion and enhancement
practices into the State's managed pollinator protection plan
developed in accordance with the EPA. Violators of the new Act will
be subject to a civil penalty of $500 and/or prison of up to 3
months for a first offence. A second offence attracts a penalty of
up to $500 and/or 1 year in prison
The fiscal and policy note prepared for the bill
also noted that the EPA is conducting risk assessments of four
neonicotinoid pesticides – imidacloprid, clothianidin,
thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran – which are expected to be
completed over the course of 2016 and 2017. As an interim measure,
the EPA has required that products containing any of those
pesticides that are for outdoor application to foliage be labeled
with specific terms that highlight measures necessary to better
Several other states are reportedly considering restrictions on
neonics, including California, Alaska, New York and Massachusetts.
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
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