Ontario Newsroom Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs December 15, 2016
Ontario is continuing its work to support a sustainable food supply, resilient ecosystems and a strong economy by implementing its plan to protect the province’s pollinators.
The new Pollinator Health Action Plan will help keep the province’s agricultural sector sustainable and productive and support a healthy environment by better protecting pollinators. Pollination by bees, butterflies and other insects enables crops and other plants to grow, providing over one-third of the produce consumed in Ontario and contributing $992 million annually to the province’s economy.
The action plan outlines strong steps Ontario will take to help pollinators thrive, including:
- Restoring and protecting one million acres of pollinator habitat across the province
- Supporting new pollinator health research
- Collecting more data to better monitor managed honey bee colonies and wild pollinators, and to track neonicotinoid levels in the environment
- Consulting to modernize the province’s legislative framework on beekeeping, which may include modernized tools for pest and disease management.
The plan builds on the province’s ongoing work to protect pollinators, including providing production insurance for beekeepers and reducing the use of neonicotinoid-treated seeds in the agricultural industry. It also supports the work being done by Ontario farmers to protect the environment, including pollinators, through on-farm Environmental Plan Projects.
Supporting pollinator health is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- Ontario’s pollinators include wild bumble bees, managed honey bees, solitary bees, butterflies and moths, some beetles and flies.
- Ontarians are encouraged to help improve pollinator health by planting pollinator-friendly flowers or supporting one of the many organizations involved in improving pollinator health.
- Ontario is home to more than 400 bee species, which are the most common pollinators.
- On July 1, 2015, Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to protect bees and other pollinators through new rules to reduce the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds by 80 per cent by 2017.
- Ontario farmers have completed more than 23,900 on-farm Environmental Plan Projects since 2005, including projects like building wind breaks and planting cover crops to boost pollinator health. The province and the federal government have invested $99 million to support these plans.
- Many crops such as apples, cherries, peaches, plums, cucumbers, asparagus, squash, pumpkins and melons rely on pollinators.