Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Quebec preparing to restrict neonics

Quebec’s Environment Minister David Heurtel is promising consultations before he introduces a bill that would be even tougher than Ontario in restricting the use of neonicitinoid seed treatment insecticides.

He says every farmer would require an expert assessment of the need to use them before permission will be granted.

But he is also promising subsidies to encourage farmers to plant soybean and corn seeds that have not been treated with neon's.

In Ontario, the neonic restrictions call for an expert assessment of insect pressure, but only if farmers intend to use treated seed for a majority of their acreage.

The Grain Farmers of Ontario association which represents corn and soybean growers has filed court challenges, claiming the restrictions are too draconian.

Huertel said Quebec also intends to curb the use of atrazine weed killer and chlorpyrifos insecticides.

Quebec’s strategy also pledges to allow the sale of lower-risk bio-based pesticides at all retailers, and to provide “economic incentives” favouring the use of pesticides deemed to be of lower risk.

The province, in its strategy document, said it would also triple the number of pesticides banned from use in urban areas such as lawns and parks, to about 60 products — and would require golf course operators to reduce, by 25 per cent, the use of pesticides deemed of greater risk.

The new rules would also require that pesticide applicators’ qualifications in pest management are adequate for the job in question, and would widen buffer zones between residential areas and pesticide applications.

Heurtel said he intends to introduce legislation this winter.