Canada’s plan to ban neonics concerns farm advocacy groups
Farmers could be at risk if the federal government bans nicotine-based pesticides, the Canola Council of Canada says.
Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are used to protect crops from pests like flea beetles.
“[The] announcement is concerning because these products are very important for our growers, and without viable alternatives, the ban will significantly impact the canola sector,” said Brian Innes, vice president of public affairs for the Canola Council of Canada.
The government wants to phase out two of the three main neonicotinoid pesticides in the country. Health Canada said the pesticides harm aquatic insects – a key source of food for fish and birds.
Grain Growers of Canada said the government is moving too quickly to make a decision.
“It appears that this speed limits their ability to ensure all relevant information is available and prevents them from engaging farmers so that we can fully understand the issues they raise,” said Jeff Nielsen, president of the association.
A beekeeper near Kitchener, Ont. said he has witnessed the negative effects the pesticide has on bees.
“They’re such small beings, they experience those chemical doses at a much higher concentration than the human body,” Mike Roth said.
Beekeepers claim neonics used on crops can blow onto flowers bees will pollinate and kill the bees.
A beekeeper near Saskatoon said the pesticide, which is banned in Europe, hasn’t effected bees in Western Canada.
“We haven't specifically seen anything that can be directly attributed to neonics. But it is a chemical and we do our best to keep chemicals out of the hive,” Simon LaLonde told CTV News.
He's concerned about the pesticide that will replace neonics, he said.
"We don't know what that is."
Health Canada plans to ban the use of the insecticide over a three to five year period, but before a final decision, stakeholders have a chance to weigh-in during a 90-day consultation period.