May 29, 2015 – As a stakeholder that actively promotes bee health, the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) appreciates the report by the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, released on Wednesday. The Importance of Bee Health to Sustainable Food Production in Canada highlights the multiple factors affecting bee health, underlines the importance of all affected stakeholders working together and recommends that pesticides continue to be regulated based on scientific evidence.
“It’s good to see the Committee recognize the importance of all stakeholders working together to promote bee health,” says Dr. Curtis Rempel, vice president of crop production and innovation with the CCC who testified for the Committee’s study. “We know that canola is good for bees and that bees are good for canola – working together makes good sense.”
Pollinators are vital for the production of quality hybrid canola seed and bees rely on canola nectar for honey production and canola pollen for food. In its recommendations, the Committee highlighted the importance of pollinator friendly habitat to provide food for bees – like canola fields. The Committee recommended that public land in urban and rural areas be planted with pollinator friendly species to provide better natural habitat for bees.
“Canola is good bee food,” says Dr. Rempel. “It’s no coincidence that more than 70 percent of Canadian bee colonies are in Western Canada, where canola has become one of the most important crops. Bee health and populations are doing well and we want that to continue.”
Three of the Committee’s nine recommendations involve using the Bee Health Forum to work on initiatives that involve a variety of stakeholders. The CCC was a founding member of the Bee Health Forum, and continues to be a leading participant now that it has become the Bee Health Roundtable co-chaired by the Canadian Honey Council and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The Roundtable includes representatives from federal and provincial governments, agricultural organizations, beekeepers, the retail sector and life sciences industry.
In line with the Bee Health Roundtable’s National Bee Health Action Plan, the CCC has undertaken several initiatives focused on bee health involving research, knowledge transfer and coordination. For example, the inaugural Agriculture and Pollinator Symposium held in the fall of 2014 brought together affected stakeholders to better understand how pesticides can be used to protect crops while minimizing impacts on non-target organisms like bees. The canola industry is also involved in funding research on the importance of beneficial insects like bees and promoting best management practices for pesticide application with canola growers and aerial operators.
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The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry’s report can be found here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/412/agfo/rep/rep09may15-e.pdf
The Canola Council of Canada is a full value chain organization representing canola growers, processors, life science companies and exporters. Canola is an ideal source of forage and nutrition for bees. The CCC cooperates on national and North American initiatives including the Bee Health Roundtable to ensure canola production practices are compatible with pollinator health.
Media may contact:
Heidi Rubeniuk, Director, Communications