Health Canada Announces Neonicotinoid Ban With Some Exceptions

April 11, 2019
By Jerry Rousseau

After nearly three years of re-evaluation, Health Canada PMRA announced its final decision on April 11 cancelling most uses of the common neonicotinoid class of pesticide.

The decision comes after a re-evaluation of all agricultural, turf and ornamental uses for the three ‘neonic’ active ingredients registered in Canada, imidacloprid, clothiandin and thiamethoxam, and their associated end-use products, specifically to assess the risk to pollinators, such as honey bees, bumble bees, and solitary bees.

Andrea Martin, PMRA Re-evaluation Coordinator stated, “We received thousands of comments, examined hundreds of scientific studies from around the world and have made a decision almost identical to the proposed decision published in December 2017.”

In fact, 7340 comments were received for the proposed imidacloprid re-evaluation decision and another 13,900 were received for clothianidin/thiamethoxam from product registrants, user groups, university researchers and environmental organizations including Prevent Cancer Now, David Suzuki Foundation, Physicians for the Environment and others.  

Statement from clothiandin (ArenaTM) re-evaluation document:

 “Some current uses of clothianidin are not expected to affect bees. For some uses, mitigation measures (in other words, changes to the conditions of registration) are required to minimize exposure to bees. Mitigation measures include changes to the use pattern and label improvements. When used in accordance with these new risk reduction measures, the reduced environmental exposure is considered adequate and risks are acceptable. Label statements informing users of the potential for toxicity to pollinators are required on product labels. For other uses, risks to pollinators were not found to be acceptable; therefore, these uses are cancelled.”

The same statement was made for imidacloprid (Merit TM), commonly used to control European chafer, Japanese beetle, Black Turfgrass Ataenius and European crane fly larvae.

What’s Cancelled

Foliar application of Clothianidin is cancelled for orchard trees, strawberries and to municipal, industrial and residential turf sites.  For imidacloprid, Health Canada is cancelling foliar application to pome fruit, stone fruit, certain tree nuts with high pollinator attractiveness, lavender and rosemary; soil application on legume, fruiting, and cucurbit vegetables when grown outdoors; herbs harvested after bloom; small fruit and berries (caneberry; bushberry; low-growing berry; berry and small fruit vine excluding grapes); and ornamentals that are attractive to pollinators and planted outside.

Cancellation of neonicotinoid uses takes effect April 11, 2021.  A potential one-year delay for certain uses may be granted if alternative chemistries are not available.  Additional risk mitigation measures for the remaining allowed uses will be implemented over a 24-month period.


What is imidacloprid?

Imidacloprid is an insecticide that was made to mimic nicotine. Nicotine is naturally found in many plants, including tobacco, and is toxic to insects. Imidacloprid is used to control sucking insects, termites, some soil insects, and fleas on pets. It has been used in products sold in the United States since 1994. (source – Oregon State University)