Quebec plans changes to neonic regulations

Quebec plans to go much further than Ontario when it comes to neonicotinoids.

Environment minister David Heurtel announced last week that the province intends to modernize its pesticide regulations.

The new pesticide strategy will restrict agricultural use of insecticide seed treatments and other “highest risk” products.

“Pesticide use must be controlled, rigorous and responsible,” Heurtel said in a statement.

“Working together, we can change the way we do things and develop alternatives to pesticides in order to provide our children with a better quality of life. Let’s do it for them.”

Ontario introduced regulations earlier this year to reduce the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments on corn and soybeans by 80 percent.

Neonics, as they’re commonly known, have been linked to de-clines in bee colony health. Some research suggests the insecticide is a threat to the broader environment and may be contaminating soil and water.

Huertel said Quebec’s strategy is more restrictive than Ontario’s measures. Farmers who want to use neonics to grow crops must get the permission of an agronomist in 100 percent of cases.

The Quebec government said it’s focusing its attention on high risk pesticides such as neonics and atrazine, a herbicide, because those products represent the greatest threat to human health and the environment.

L’Union des Producteurs Agricoles, the largest farm organization in Quebec, denounced the government’s pesticide strategy.

President Marcel Groleau said the plan was developed without consulting producers and will create a needless paperwork burden for farmers.

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