QUEBEC CITY — Quebec has decided to follow Ontario’s lead in banning neonicotinoids, an insecticide-treated seed, but the province also plans to compensate farmers who choose to not use the seeds.
When releasing the Nov. 22 Quebec pesticide strategy for 2015 to 2018, Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel said neonics have “a recognized major effect on bee mortality.”
Quebec’s Liberal government said neonic-treated seed is used on almost 100 per cent of corn and more than 50 per cent of soybeans. However, Quebec beekeepers haven’t experienced huge winter losses. Colony losses range from a high of 32 per cent in 2009 to 18 per cent in 2014 and 18.7 per cent this year. The Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists says 15 per cent colony loss is acceptable.
An agronomist will need to justify the use of neonics in all cases, said the Quebec government, which will release a strategy document next summer outlining incentives to encourage farmers not to use neonic-treated corn and soybean seeds. There will also be new financial penalties for farmers who do use the seeds.
The plan isn’t finalized and specific details will be released within the next year, Heurtel said.
Quebec is also reducing the amount of pesticides allowed in urban areas for lawns, trees, and shrubs.