April 15, 2019 - Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) released its final decision on its re-evaluation of the risk to pollinators posed by three neonicotinoid insecticides (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin).
These findings come after PMRA assessed comments received during the 90-day consultation period that followed the agency's sharing of its proposed decisions based on re-evaluation work on clothianadin and thiamethoxam in 2017 and work on imidacloprid in 2018. The decisions are specifically and exclusively related to the study of the impact of these products on pollinators and are not related to the work being done on neonicotinoids and aquatic insects.
PMRA has summarized the specifics of its decision in a chart, however the broad details are as follows:
- Seed treatment uses of neonics continue to be permitted. This is significant given that the vast majority of neonics uses are via seed treatment for field crops such as canola, corn, cereals, and soybeans. This is also significant given that these are the uses that detractors have focused on most vigorously.
- Some fruit and vegetable uses will be restricted so that the product cannot be used during certain time periods.
- Some uses, such as foliar sprays in orchards, are being cancelled in 2021 or 2022 (depending on the specific use).
PMRA's decision puts to rest the false narrative that neonic seed treatments are harmful to pollinators while at the same time providing additional protections to pollinators in some very specific circumstances.
While we are pleased that the largest use of neonicotinoids have been exonerated by the PMRA's decision, we recognize some farmers, especially those in the horticulture sector, will now struggle to control insects especially those for which alternative controls do not exist. This will undoubtedly be disappointing given that additional scientific information was submitted to PMRA during the 90-day comment period by scientists, registrants and growers in an effort to ensure these uses of neonics would continue to be permitted. We anticipate supporting these groups as they challenge the validity of these aspects of the final decision.
These developments serve as an important example of why on-going research within the context of a science-based, predictable regulatory system is critical for Canada's agriculture sector.
For more information please contact Nick Harsulla, Manager UFA Government Relations at Government.Relations@ufa.com.