Now is your time to help pollinators in Ontario!

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Comment on the Proposed  Plan to Reduce Neonicotinoid Use in Ontario.

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Pollinators are facing big challenges worldwide. Research shows that pollinator numbers and health are declining at alarming rates due to multiple factors, such as habitat loss, climate change, pathogens and pesticide exposure.

The Ontario government has proposed a plan to decrease the use of neonicotinoids (neonics) on soy and corn crops, a chemical insecticide that affects insects, birds, earthworms, and aquatic invertebrates. Neonics are suspected of being a major cause in the death of native pollinators and have been proved to be highly toxic for bees.

The government is seeking feedback and comments on the proposed plan. Please take action by reading the proposal and submitting your comments before January 25th, 2015. Comments can be submitted online or via email at PollinatorHealth@Ontario.ca.

You can read a summary from the Environmental Commission of Ontario about the environmental impact of neonics here or read about the most comprehensive analysis of neonics to date conducted by the International Task Force on Systemic Pesticides (TFSP) – an international team of scientists which jointly synthesized 1,121 published peer-reviewed studies spanning the last five years. The TFSP conclusions were unequivocal that “…regulatory agencies (should) consider applying the principles of prevention and precaution to further tighten regulations on neonicotinoids…“.

Oakvillegreen Conservation Association strongly supports the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) plan to regulate neonics in Ontario as an approachable first step. We encourage OMAFRA to take additional action to protect pollinators in our region, not only by restricting neonics on corn and soy crops, but including all field crops as well, and to support wild pollinator and neonic impact monitoring and neonic labelling.

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Here is a sample comment: I strongly support the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) plan to regulate neonics in Ontario as a first step. I would also encourage OMAFRA to take additional action to protect pollinators, not only by restricting neonics on corn and soy crops, but including all field crops as well, and to support wild pollinator and neonic impact monitoring of soil and water invertebrates and vertebrates and neonic labelling for nurseries, seed suppliers and plant growers, so consumers can make informed choices.

“The literature synthesized in this integrated assessment demonstrates the large-scale bioavailability of these insecticides in the global environment at levels that are known to cause lethal and sublethal effects on a wide range of terrestrial (including soil) and aquatic microorganisms, invertebrates and vertebrates. Population-level impacts have been demonstrated to be likely at observed environmental concentrations in the field for insect pollinators, soil invertebrates and aquatic invertebrates. There is a growing body of evidence that these effects pose risks to ecosystem functioning, resilience and the services and functions provided by terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems…includ(ing) amongst others soil formation, soil quality, nutrient cycling, waste treatment and remediation, pollination, food web support, water purification, pest and disease regulation, seed dispersal, herbivory and weed control, food provision (including fish), aesthetics and recreation.” (TSFP, 2014)

 

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