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 can cause direct mortality and also impact navigation, learning, food collection, resistance to disease and reproduction.
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.
Ontario Nature went to court in 2017 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.
What We Are Doing
Working alongside our Youth Council and in partnership with farm, health and other environmental organizations, Ontario Nature is:
- Advocating for change, particularly the banning of neonicotinoid pesticides in Ontario;
- Encouraging fellow Ontarians to create pollinator habitat and plant native species;
- Raising awareness about the plight of Ontario’s pollinators through media, social media, events and gatherings; and
- Advocating against regulatory changes in Bill 132 that would remove accountability mechanisms and invite over-use of neonicotinoid pesticides.
Thanks to the leadership of the Ontario Nature Youth Council, Bee Cities and Bee Schools are being created across Ontario.
- The City of Oshawa became Canada’s 22nd Bee City in 2018, initiated by Claire Saramaki.
- Halton Region became the first regional municipality to adopt the declaration – led by then 17-year old Jenny Jachtorowicz.
- The City of Stratford became Ontario’s second Bee City in 2017 and Stratford Central Secondary School became a Bee School in June 2018 – both led by then 16-year old Ethan Elliott.
- The Town of Whitby became Canada’s tenth Bee City in 2017 and Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute in Whitby became the first Bee School high school in 2017 – both led by then 16-year old Aidan Brushett.
- Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Toronto became a Bee School in 2017 – led by Youth Council members Lisa Wang, Raluca Gondor, Arani Kulamurugan and Sylvia Chong.
- The Newmarket became Canada’s 14th Bee City in June 2018 – led by 18-year old Aidan Kenny.
The Youth Council plans to continue establishing Bee Cities and Schools across the province. Signing on to the declaration means greater protection for and awareness about pollinators.
For more information on our pollinator campaign, please contact Christine Ambre.