Photo: Ontario restricts bee-killing neonic pesticides

Thanks to more than 25,000 Foundation supporters who sent messages to the government, Ontario's groundbreaking regulatory restrictions on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides took effect July 1, 2015. The regulations will reduce the use of seeds treated with neonics, a controversial family of nicotine-based pesticides that has been implicated in the global decline of bees. Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to implement restrictions on the agricultural use of neonics.

The regulations follow a landmark study from the international Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, a group of independent scientists that reviewed more than 1,000 published studies about the effects of neonics. The Task Force found clear evidence that neonics are lethal to honeybees and cause a range of harmful effects on other important species such as wild bees, birds, butterflies and earthworms. The authors conclude that current widespread and indiscriminate use of neonics threatens ecosystem functioning and is not sustainable.

Reducing use of neonics in Ontario is a welcome and necessary first step toward banning these harsh, bee-killing chemicals across Canada. And Ontario's determined effort to wean the province from neonics demonstrates that, despite fierce pushback from multibillion dollar companies profiting from pesticide sales, strong science bolstered by public support for protecting pollinators is prevailing.