Ontario’s government is streamlining the regulations around neonicotinoid insecticides and that should reduce the amount of paperwork required to manage the seed treatment.
The changes will also decrease the need for using certified assessors to evaluate the need for the insecticides, also known as neonics.
Why it matters: The large amount of paperwork involved in managing the use of neonic pesticides has been an irritant to farmers.
“This is not reducing the risk assessment burden,” says Keith Currie, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). “You still need an integrated pest management certification to do that risk assessment, but once you do it it is done.”
Neonic insecticides were used on almost all corn and soybean seed planted in Ontario, but there are concerns about their effects on pollinators and aquatic insects. The Liberal government in 2015 started a process to limit their use by requiring a risk assessment be completed and training undertaken by farmers.
Information provided by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) says that the annual need for a Pest Assessment Report will be eliminated, if a farmer wanting use the insecticide already has one completed.
If a farmer who already has a Pest Assessment Report proposes to use neonic-treated seed on an additional field on a farm property, then another assessment wouldn’t be needed.
Farmers also will no longer have to hire a professional pest advisor, often also employed by a seed company to complete assessment reports every three years, says the MECP.
Farmers will continue to have to complete Integrated Pest Management certification, but won’t have renew that certification every five years.
The cosmetic pesticide ban will remain in place.
“Our government recognizes that Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is currently reviewing Canada’s historic approval of the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and looks forward to the results of that review as early as next year,” said the MECP statement sent to Farmtario.
The changes also work to align Ontario pesticide classes with those of Health Canada.
“It’s just aligning, making some things easier and taking away some of the silly burden of paperwork that was out there,” says Currie.