Guelph Mercury. Pollination Guelph: Support the province's pollinator health strategy

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Pollination Guelph would like to respond to a recent letter to the editor (Farmers should work with beekeepers on solutions — Feb. 13) and a recent series of ads published in the Mercury and other newspapers (An open letter to Ontarians — Jan. 31 and Feb. 4).

We are an organization that is dedicated to protecting pollinators and their habitat, and are supportive of the Ontario government's recent pollinator health proposal, which includes a strategy that will improve pollinator health and habitat, as well as a proposed regulation that would reduce the use of neonicotinoid pesticides ("neonics" for short).

It is this regulation that a coalition of crop protection agencies and certain farm organizations are fighting through a media campaign.

We were concerned to see the ad in the paper as we believe it is an attempt to confuse the public on this important issue. 

Nikki Everts-Hammond's letter was a welcome one, but the effects of neonics are a much bigger issue than just honeybees, whose health and numbers can be managed by beekeepers, at least to a certain extent. 

These pesticides have been shown through countless scientific studies to have multiple negative impacts on our environment, from soil and water quality to the health of wild pollinators, birds, amphibians and more. Indeed, Health Canada has called the current use of neonics in agriculture "unsustainable."

Everts-Hammond sympathized with farmers worried about lost yields, but studies, including one by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, show that in virtually all cases, this treatment of seeds before there are any pest problems does not actually increase crop yield. We therefore encourage farmers to practice integrated pest management and avoid the use of seeds treated with neonics.

We also encourage the public to support the Ontario government's pollinator health strategy. It will be the first big step in Canada for the protection of our pollinators and all of the other plants, animals, and human-value systems that rely on them.

Please visit our website at or plan to attend our March 7 symposium for more information related to these topics.


Victoria MacPhail

Co-chair, Pollination Guelph