Rusty-patched bumblebee © Christy M. Stewart
TORONTO – The Government of Ontario took a bold and necessary step today to protect pollinators with new regulations that reduce the use of neonicotinoids (neonics) by 80 percent for corn and soybeans. The new rules, which come into effect on July 1, 2015, will make Ontario the first jurisdiction in North America to dramatically reduce neonics.
Ontario Nature commends the government for taking this action. The new regulation responds to growing public concern about the harmful effects of these pesticides and an overwhelming body of evidence implicating neonics in pollinator decline.
Led by its Youth Council – a group of 50 young leaders from across the province – Ontario Nature is a prominent voice calling for the protection of pollinators, which ensure the reproductive success of native plants and the survival of the wildlife that depend on those plants for food and shelter. Last year, Youth Council members delivered over 1,200 signed postcards to the Premier, spoke at events, wrote blogs, hosted workshops, and created videos about pollinator habitat on farms and in private gardens.
“Ontario’s agricultural industry is of great economic and cultural significance, and pollinators are fundamental to its success,” says Youth Council member Jayden Rae. “One-third of what we eat – things like apples, chocolate, cucumbers and almonds – depends upon pollinators.”
Half of the bumble bee species in North America are in decline – a trend that holds true in Ontario where several species, once common or widespread, have virtually disappeared in the last thirty years. “Both the rusty-patched bumble bee and the gypsy cuckoo bumble bee are now listed as endangered” says Dr. Anne Bell, Ontario Nature’s director of conservation and education.
The Environmental Commissioner challenged the Government of Ontario to take swift action to avert a potential ecological and economic crisis. Today, the government has risen to that challenge.
John Hassell, communications manager, Ontario Nature (416) 786-2171, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Ontario Nature is a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members and supporters, and 150 member groups across Ontario (charitable registration # 10737 8952 RR0001). For more information, visit ontarionature.org.