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Yellow-banded bumblebee © Noah Cole

The Issue

Bees and other pollinators are critical to the health of our ecosystems. Yet they are in serious decline due to the combination of habitat loss, disease, climate change and exposure to pesticides such as neonicotinoids (neonics).

These pesticides are known to negatively affect many pollinator species including bees, butterflies and birds. With respect to bees, neonics cause direct mortality and also impact navigation, learning, food collection, resistance to disease and fecundity.

Half of Ontario’s native bee species are now in decline, including the gypsy cuckoo, rusty-patched and yellow-banded bumblebees.

Why it Matters

Pollinators ensure the reproductive success of plants and the survival of the wildlife that depend on those plants for food and shelter. They are also responsible for an estimated one out of three bites of food that people eat, which is worth billions of dollars to the North American economy.

Bumblebee and coneflower © Matt Jenkins

Become an Advocate for Nature

Get updates on important conservation issues including pollinators and how you can take action.

Brown-belted bumblebee © Leslie Bol

Campaign Updates

Ontario Nature went to court last summer to protect pollinators from two harmful neonicotinoid pesticides. We were up against the federal government and three multi-national pesticide companies who were asking the court to dismiss our case about the unlawful registrations of Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam-based pesticides.

Although the court decided in our favour, the federal government and its allies immediately appealed the decision. So we were back in court on November 15 and 16, ably represented by Ecojustice, fighting for the opportunity to have our case heard.

Mustard white butterfly © Noah Cole

What We Are Doing

Working alongside our Youth Council and in partnership with farm, health and other environmental organizations, Ontario Nature is:

Eastern bumblebee © Noah Cole


Thanks to the leadership of the Ontario Nature Youth Council, Bee Cities and Bee Schools are being created in communities all over Ontario.

  • Halton Region became the first regional municipality to adopt the declaration – led by 17-year old Jenny Jachtorowicz.
  • City of Stratford became Ontario’s second Bee City in April, 2017 – led by 15-year old Ethan Elliott.
  • The Town of Whitby became Canada’s tenth Bee City in December 2017 and Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute in Whitby became the first Bee School high school in April 2017 – both led by 16-year old Aidan Brushett.
  • Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Toronto became a Bee School in September 2017 – led by several Youth Council members: Lisa Wang, Raluca Gondor, Arani Kulamurugan and Sylvia Chong.

The Youth Council plans to continue establishing Bee Cities and Schools in  Toronto, Newmarket and Ottawa. Signing on to the declaration means greater protection for and awareness about pollinators.

For more information on our pollinator campaign, please contact Sarah Hedges at

Monarch butterfly © Diana Troya

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