Équiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation hail today’s announcement by the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC) as a significant step forward in regulating pesticides and for the health of people, pollinators and the environment.
TACKLING THE MOST DANGEROUS PESTICIDES—THE RIGHT APPROACH
The MDDELCC seeks to tackle the most dangerous pesticides used in farming by banning atrazine, chlorpyrifos and three neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam), and by prohibiting the planting of neonicotinoid-coated seeds of certain crops. These pesticides are among the most harmful to the health of humans, pollinators and the environment.
We also welcome Minister Isabelle Melançon’s commitment that prior to the end of its mandate the government will introduce economic incentives to encourage the use of pesticides posing the least risk, impose penalties for non-compliance of regulatory requirements and restrict the use of pesticides in urban areas.
After years of advocating a total ban on the most dangerous pesticides, we see the MDDELCC’s initiative as an encouraging step forward in implementing a long-awaited transition to pesticide-free farming, more respectful of human and environmental health. Tightening the rules was a must, especially in light of the federal government’s complacency on pesticide issues.
TRANSPARENCY AND VIGILANCE
Équiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation will continue to be vigilant to ensure that agronomists do not recommend use of these pesticides as the norm rather than a last resort. To do so, we will continue playing an active role on a monitoring committee established by the MDDELCC together with the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ), the Ordre des agronomes du Québec and the Union des producteurs agricoles.
UPDATE – February 26, 2018: An update of the worldwide assessment conducted by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides (200 studies analyzed) was published in the scientific journal, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, on February 26. The following conclusions were drawn: Neonics are not as effective as was thought. Most of the time they are useless. Farmers can use alternative methods that are just as effective and less expensive. Read Équiterre’s post and Radio Canada’s article on the matter.
Further reading on this issue and the myths about needing pesticides for farming:
- Highlights from the 2017 update to the Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Effects of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems conducted by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides.
- Équiterre’s backgrounder, Neonicotinoids Are a Threat to Food Security.
- United Nations Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food presented to the Human Rights Council, which provides a clearer account of “global pesticide use in agriculture and its impact on human rights.”
- Strategies for Feeding the World More Sustainably with Organic Agriculture, Nature Communications.