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Canadian Honey Council

The Canadian Beekeepers Council was formed in 1940 to assist in negotiating fair practices for labeling, grading, and marketing honey at the national level. The fledgling organization was underfunded and slow to communicate. It was difficult to respond to issues or develop the international markets that the members wanted. It was clear that there was a need for a higher profile and increased international recognition. In 1970 The Canadian Beekeepers Council decided to change its name to Canadian Honey Council.honey bee photo for the Canadian Honey Council

CHC Office
Executive Director
Rod Scarlett
#218, 51519 R.R.220
Sherwood Park, AB T8E 1H1
ph 877-356-8935

Hivelights Magazine Editorial and Advertising
P. O. Box 914, Station T, Calgary, AB T2H 2H4
Geoff Todd ph 403-512-2123 geoff@honeycouncil.ca
or Doug McRory Email: doug@dougsbees.com

HELP WANTED ads for 2015 should now be ordered. Contact Geoff Todd geoff@honeycouncil.ca to place ad.

Congratulations to the new CHC Chair, Kevin Nixon and  Vice Chair, Calvin Parsons

 Canada, U.S. aligned on collaborative approaches to improving bee health

Ottawa, Canada, May 21, 2015 - Canada’s National Bee Health Roundtable applauds the Obama administration for releasing its practical, solutions-focused National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators earlier this week.

“After a comprehensive consultation process, the U.S. Pollinator Health Task Force concluded that addressing bee health challenges will take a collaborative, multi-pronged approach. This is very much aligned with the approach the Bee Health Roundtable (BHRT) is taking here in Canada,” says Rod Scarlett, co-chair of the BHRT and executive director of the Canadian Honey Council.

The White House report emphasizes the importance of collaboration when it comes to bee health. The BHRT is itself built on a collaborative model, made up of a wide range of stakeholders, governments and experts all working towards a common goal.

Among the priorities shared by both the White House and the BHRT are: improving nutritional sources for pollinators; mitigating pollinator losses from pests, pathogens, pesticides and other causes; engaging in public education; and improving research and innovation, including the development of new pest control tools for beekeepers.

Bee health is a complex issue that affects a wide range of stakeholders. By working together with all partners who have a stake in this issue, the BHRT is making meaningful progress here in Canada. A number of priority areas outlined in the U.S. report have already been initiated as projects and work is well underway in areas such as public/private partnerships, forage and nutrition research, facilitating access to new hive health products, and the promotion of best management practices.

Bee health is not an issue that is confined by borders. As such, the BHRT is pleased to see that our priorities align closely with those of our partners in the U.S. and we look forward to exploring further opportunities to collaborate on this important issue with our neighbours to the south,” says Scarlett.

“We’ve seen a lot of engagement from stakeholders on this issue willing to work together to ensure the continued prosperity of the beekeeping industry here in Canada. It’s these kind of collaborative approaches that will result in real solutions to bee health challenges,” says Scarlett.

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For more information contact:

Debra Conlon

Bee Health Roundtable Communications



About the Bee Health Roundtable

The Bee Health Roundtable (BHRT) is committed to producing, through inclusive discussion, an increased understanding of the risks involved where agriculture and apiculture intersect, and undertaking timely activities aimed at reducing or eliminating these risks. The group is made up of a cross-section of stakeholders including those from industry, academia, and provincial and federal governments.


May 19, 2015

The White house today released its long awaited Strategy to Promote Polinator Health.  The report is below:


In a nutshell, the Strategy lays out current and planned Federal actions to achieve the following overarching goals;

• Honey Bees: Reduce honey bee colony losses during winter (overwintering mortality) to no more than 15% within 10 years. This goal is informed by the previously released Bee Informed Partnership surveys and the newly established quarterly and annual surveys by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Based on the robust data anticipated from the national, statistically-based NASS surveys of beekeepers, the Task Force will develop baseline data and additional goal metrics for winter, summer, and total annual colony loss.

• Monarch Butterflies: Increase the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly to 225 million butterflies occupying an area of approximately 15 acres (6 hectares) in the overwintering grounds in Mexico, through domestic/international actions and public-private partnerships, by 2020.

 •• Pollinator Habitat Acreage: Restore or enhance 7 million acres of land for pollinators over the next 5 years through Federal actions and public/private partnerships.

EU Biotech Developments (GMOs)

On April 22, 2015, the European Commission announced its intention to proceed with a proposal (attached) to allow Member States (MS) to opt out of EU-authorized GMOs for food and feed within their own territory.  MS will have to justify that opt-out measures are compatible with EU law and consistent with the EU’s international obligations. The proposal is modelled on the recent EU Directive 2015/412, which allows MS to opt out of cultivation of GMOs in their territory. The new regulatory proposal will be sent to the European Council and the European Parliament for consideration. Timing is not yet known but it is unlikely there will be considerable action until fall 2015 at the earliest.

At this time, Canada is continuing to analyse the opt-out proposal and its potential implications, particularly with respect to market access.  Canada is flagging its concerns at the highest level (Ambassador, Minister) and is continuing to press the EU to meet its own timelines in the application process for authorizations of GMOs already in the approval process. 

On April 24, 2015, the College of Commissioners voted to adopt a series of 19 authorizations for food/feed/imports (not cultivation) that have been pending for a significant period of time, some since October of 2013.  The implementing decisions confirming the approval of these events were published in the Official Journal of the European Union on April 30, 2015.   A list of the authorized events is set out below.

AAFC and DFATD will be engaging with the EU on biotech issues, including the EC’s new proposal, at the end of May, 2015 during the next Canada-EU Biotech Dialogue.  This will be the first Dialogue since negotiations on the CETA concluded.  


  •  10 new authorizations: MON 87460 maize, MON 87705 soybean, MON 87708 soybean, MON 87769 soybean, 305423 soybean, BPS-CV127-9 soybean, MON 88302, oilseed rape, T304-40 cotton, MON 88913 cotton, LLCotton25xGHB614 cotton
  •  7 renewals: T25 maize, NK603 maize, GT73 oilseed rape, MON 531 x MON 1445 cotton, MON 15985 cotton; MON 531 cotton and MON 1445 cotton.
  •  2 GM cut flowers (carnations line IFD-25958-3 and line IFD-26407-2).


Développements biotechnologiques de l’UE (OGM)

Le 22 avril 2015, la Commission européenne (CE) a annoncé son intention de modifier le règlement concernant les denrées alimentaires et  les aliments pour animaux génétiquement modifiés pour offrir la possibilité aux États membres (ÉM) de restreindre ou d’interdire sur leur territoire l’utilisation de denrées alimentaires et d’aliments pour animaux génétiquement modifiés (proposition ci‑jointe). Les ÉM devront justifier que les mesures recourant à l’option de refus sont compatibles avec le droit de l’UE et concordantes avec les obligations internationales de l’UE. La proposition s’appuie sur la récente directive 2015/412 de l’UE, qui autorise les ÉM à interdire la culture d’OGM sur leur territoire. La nouvelle proposition de règlement sera transmise au Conseil européen et au Parlement européen aux fins d’étude. Aucun échéancier n’a été établi, mais il est peu probable que ce dossier progresse beaucoup avant l’automne 2015 au plus tôt. 

En ce moment, le Canada continue d’analyser la proposition d’option de refus et ses répercussions potentielles, notamment en ce qui touche à l’accès aux marchés. Le Canada en est à signaler ses inquiétudes aux plus hautes autorités (l’ambassadeur, le ministre) et continue de presser l’UE à respecter ses propres échéances dans le cadre du processus de demandes d’autorisations portant sur les OGM déjà inclus dans le processus d’approbation.   

Le 24 avril 2015, le Collège des commissaires a voté en faveur de l’adoption d’une série de 19 autorisations portant sur des denrées alimentaires, des aliments pour animaux et des importations (non sur la culture) qui étaient en attente depuis longtemps, certains depuis octobre 2013. Les décisions exécutoires confirmant l’approbation de ces OGM ont été publiées le 30 avril 2015 dans le Journal officiel de l’Union européenne. Une liste des OGM autorisés a été dressée ci-dessous.    

Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada (AAC) et le ministère des Affaires étrangères, du Commerce et du Développement (MAECD) s’entretiendront avec l’UE à la fin du mois de mai 2015 au sujet de questions biotechnologiques, y compris la nouvelle proposition de la CE, dans le cadre du prochain Dialogue sur l’accès aux marchés pour les produits biotechnologiques UE‑Canada. Il s’agira du premier Dialogue depuis que les négociations sur l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG) ont été conclues.


  • 10 nouvelles autorisations : le maïs MON  87460, les sojas MON  87705, MON  87708, MON 87769, 305423, et BPS‑CV127‑9, le colza MON 88302, et les cotons T304‑40, MON 88913, et LLCotton25 x GHB614
  •  7 renouvellements : les maïs T 25 et NK 603, le colza GT 73, et les cotons MON 531 x MON 1445, MON 15985, MON 531 et MON 1445.
  • 2 fleurs coupées transgéniques : les œillets des lignées IFD‑25958‑3 et IFD‑26407‑2)

As part of its current food safety consultation with micro and small businesses, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will host a number of webinars and face-to-face discussion sessions across Canada. View the calendar on the CFIA website and register today: http://inspection.gc.ca/about-the-cfia/acts-and-regulations/regulatory-initiatives/sfca/food-safety-systems/engagement-calendar/eng/1430926524014/1430926524717

Various resources are also available on the CFIA website to support micro and small businesses' understanding of certain key food safety elements: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/about-the-cfia/acts-and-regulations/regulatory-initiatives/sfca/food-safety-systems/what-it-means-for-your-business/eng/1427299500843/1427299800380          

Learn more about the consultation at www.inspection.gc.ca/safefood.

Dans le cadre de sa consultation actuelle sur la salubrité des aliments auprès des micro et petites entreprises, l’Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments (ACIA) tiendra des webinaires et des séances de discussion en personne à l’échelle du Canada. Vous pouvez consulter le calendrier sur le site Web de l’ACIA et vous inscrire dès aujourd’hui : http://inspection.gc.ca/au-sujet-de-l-acia/lois-et-reglements/initiatives-reglementaires/lsac/systemes-de-salubrite-des-aliments/calendrier-de-mobilisation/fra/1430926524014/1430926524717

Des ressources sont également disponibles sur le site Web de l’ACIA pour aider les micro et petites entreprises à mieux comprendre certains éléments clés liés à la salubrité des aliments : http://www.inspection.gc.ca/au-sujet-de-l-acia/lois-et-reglements/initiatives-reglementaires/lsac/systemes-de-salubrite-des-aliments/ce-que-cela-signifie-pour-votre-entreprise/fra/1427299500843/1427299800380

Pour de plus amples renseignements sur la consultation, consultez le site Web à l’adresse suivante : www.inspection.gc.ca/alimentssalubres.


PMRA update

Two pollinator protection docs have been updated on the PMRA web. See info below.

ENGLISH:  http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/rss/cps-spc/pest-eng.xml

Requirement when using Treated Corn / Soybean Seed

Health Canada has revised the requirement to use a dust-reducing fluency agent to help reduce seed dust during planting corn and soybean seed treated with neonicotinoid insecticides to allow for the use of new dust-reducing fluency agents. Talc and graphite are still not permitted to be used as a seed flow lubricant for corn or soybean seed treated with these insecticides.


Pollinator Protection and Responsible Use of Treated Seed - Best Management Practices

Best Management Practices reduce the risk to bees and other insect pollinators from exposure to dust from treated seed. These practices include a requirement for the use of a dust-reducing fluency agent when using a seed flow lubricant in planting corn and soybean seed treated with neonicotinoid insecticides. Talc and graphite are still not permitted to be used as a seed flow lubricant for corn or soybean seed treated with these insecticides.


FRENCH:  http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/rss/cps-spc/pest-fra.xml

Exigence concernant l'utilisation de semences de maïs et de soja traitées

Santé Canada a révisé l'exigence relative à l'utilisation d'un agent de fluidité à faible émission de poussière afin d'aider à réduire la poussière produite pendant le semis des semences de maïs et de soja traitées avec des néonicotinoïdes et de permettre l'usage de nouveaux agents de fluidité à faible émission de poussière. Il est encore interdit d'utiliser du talc et du graphite comme lubrifiant pour faciliter l'écoulement des semences de maïs ou de soja traitées avec ces insecticides.


Protection des insectes pollinisateurs et utilisation responsable des semences traitées - Pratiques exemplaires de gestion

Vous trouverez ci-après des pratiques exemplaires de gestion, lesquelles permettent de réduire le risque d'exposition des abeilles et des autres insectes pollinisateurs à la poussière libérée par les semences traitées. Ces pratiques incluent une exigence concernant l'usage d'un agent de fluidité à faible émission de poussière durant le semis de graines de maïs ou de soja traitées aux néonicotinoïdes. Il est interdit d'utiliser du talc ou du graphite comme lubrifiant d'écoulement avec les semences de maïs ou de soja traitées avec ces insecticides.


AGM Information 

The 2014-14 Annual General Meeting recently concluded in Moncton, New Brunswick.  Over 150 bee-enthusiasts participated in workshops, seminars and meetings.  Particular thanks goes out to Ann Vautour and her team of volunteers for pulling off a very successful event without the co-operation of the weather!

For the Canadian Honey Council it allowed a time for face–to– face discussions on a number of important initiatives including labour, food safety, and bee health.  With regards to bee health the CHC passed a resolution that re-affirmed its existing position, but included the additional request of  supporting the basic principles of the Ontario government’s position paper on bee -" Be it resolved that the CHC make a public statement in support of the basic principles of the November 25, 2014 initiative by the Ontario Government."   This was, and is something that, despite all the rhetoric, the CHC has consistently done from the outset.   As the Canadian Honey Council has stated in the past, bee health can be affected by a number of variables and Ontario has identified four key areas for work.  Those areas are:

                Pollinator habitat and nutrition

                Disease pests and genetics

                Pesticide exposure

                Climate change and weather

From the outset on work on bee health at a national level, the Canadian Honey Council has been concentrating on similar goals and principles. The strategic plan put forward by the National Roundtable on Bee Health documents those similarities and also illustrates that the cooperative nature of the Roundtable can forcefully and effectively identify and put forth national work plans to address those issues.  Certainly, everyone has a different idea on how those goals can be achieved and the Canadian Honey Council clearly supports ways and means to achieve those goals that are science-based and are agreed upon mutually by all members of the agricultural sector.  While the needs and concerns of beekeepers are always the paramount concern, we also recognize that we are part of the bigger picture, and must work together, cooperatively and respectfully to achieve mutually beneficial goals.

The Government of Ontario should be commended for being one of the first provinces to announce their intention in developing a comprehensive plan for bee health.  We encourage them to collaborate with the National Bee Health Roundtable as well as to strive towards a plan that enhances the viability of, and is embraced by, the entire agricultural value chain.  We would also like to commend the work of the Ontario Beekeepers Association for encouraging the province to develop a pollinator strategy.  We look forward to a finalized plan that encourages advances in bee habitat, diseases and pest control, supports genetic research, and helps in the understanding of the effects of weather and climate change on bees. The Canadian Honey Council has an established track record of working with agricultural stakeholders in reducing potential exposures of bees to pesticides.   We reiterate our commitment to working with beekeepers and growers alike to promote the development and adoption of integrated pest management strategies that will help to improve bee health.

Additional resolutions passed at the AGM

In addition to a resolution calling for a public statement supporting the basic principles behind the Ontario government’s discussion paper, the CHC passed the following policy related resolutions:

BE IT RESOLVED: That Canadian Honey Council encourages members to review Manitoba’s “White Paper” document on Package Bee Imports from Northern California, as available on www.manitobabee.org.

BE IT RESOLVED:  That the Canadian Honey Council support reductions of all insecticides, especially those such as neonicotinoids that accumulate in the environment, to levels that are required for sustainable and profitable agricultural production, by the use of IPM. 

BE IT RESOLVED: That the Canadian Honey Council insure that the new grading and labelling regulations which were developed by Canadian Honey Council , Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the honey packers be included in developing the Safe Food for Canadians Act.

BE IT RESOLVED: That the Canadian Honey Council lobby the Canadian Food Inspection Agency around clearing up grade labelling confusion of non- Canadian Honey.

Notice Regarding Honey Shipments to Japan and India

On December 19, 2014, Canada was informed that Japan refused entry to a shipment of honey from Alberta due to the voluntary attestation that the level of residues for tylosin, one of four different antibiotics on the certificate of analysis accompanying the shipment, was below 0.001 ppm.  In the absence of an approved Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) specifically for honey, Japan is imposing a zero tolerance for the presence of this antibiotic residue in honey.

We have since determined that Japan notified the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in July 2013 of revisions to the standards for foods and food additives for two agricultural chemicals, including tylosin. However, although Japan listed honey as a product covered under WTO notification No. 319, in the absence of a Codex MRL, Canada did not provide comments regarding tylosin.  

We are aware that Health Canada (HC) is in the process of establishing an MRL of 0.2 ppm for tylosin in honey. The process is expected to be concluded in 2015, following consultations in 2014.  HC has indicated that they are willing to share scientific findings with Japanese officials to assist them in adopting Canada’s proposed MRL.  The Market Access Secretariat (MAS) will initiate the request for the Japanese authorities to adopt Canada’s MRL for tylosin in honey, once adopted domestically. However, this may not be an expeditious process.

In the meantime, we recommend that all Canadian honey exports to Japan be free from tylosin, given that any detectable levels of this veterinary drug in a shipment will likely result in refused entry.  Shipments where tylosin is declared on the certificate of analysis should be re-directed to other markets.

We will keep you appraised as the file evolves. Should you have additional questions, contact us via email at: mas-sam@agr.gc.ca




News Release

December 12, 2014

In 2011, the Canadian Honey Council (CHC) and a number of industry partners began discussions on ways to improve honey bee health.  As discussions progressed, the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) in close consultation with its corn and soybean company members and the CHC took a significant step forward to mitigate risk to pollinators by recently implementing a major pesticide reduction program for corn and soybean seed sold in Canada. By reducing the application rate of seed applied insecticides and introducing more fungicide only options this industry lead program is estimated to see an overall reduction of the pesticide load across Canada in 2015 by 15% in corn and 9% in soybeans.  In 2016 the reduction will climb to 31% in corn and 18% in soybeans for a combined overall pesticide reduction of 24%. This will significantly reduce the amount of seed applied insecticide used in Ontario; the province with the largest acreage of corn and soybeans.

The CHC is extremely pleased with this major reduction strategy as it shows the value of cooperation and consultation with industry partners.  Canadian Honey Council Chair Gerry McKee said “It is our responsibility to beekeepers across Canada to look at ways and means to mitigate the risk of pesticide exposure to honey bees, and working with our industry partner, the Canadian Seed Trade Association has instituted a major step forward in addressing this goal.  They must be commended for taking this step forward.”

CSTA is committed to working together with our agriculture and apiculture value chain partners and provincial and federal regulators to ensure that pollinator health is protected and enhanced while ensuring that growers have access to the latest technologies that they need to be successful. “CSTA and the Canadian Honey Council came together in the spirit of collaboration to ensure that both of our sectors remain environmentally sustainable and economically viable,” said Dave Baute, President of the Canadian Seed Trade Association. “Both associations agreed to work together based on mutual respect and understanding and have just taken a significant non-regulatory step forward to ensuring a prosperous apiculture and agriculture industry in Ontario and across Canada.”

The Canadian Honey Council believes that this announcement underscores the importance of having stakeholders at the table as it is an invaluable asset for agriculture in general.  To date, there has been considerable work done in both pesticide reduction strategies and bee health initiatives by farm organizations, equipment manufacturers, federal and provincial governments and by the life sciences companies. 

The Canadian Honey council represents over 8000 beekeepers in Canada.

For further information contact

Rod Scarlett

Executive Director

Canadian Honey Council

Phone:  1-877-356-8935

E-mail: chc-ccm@honeycouncil.ca


Dave Carey

Manager, Policy Initiatives

Canadian Seed Trade Association

E-mail: dcarey@cdnseed.org



 Pesticide exposure statement

The Canadian Honey Council views pesticide exposure, both internally and externally as an extremely important bee health issue.  By working co-operatively with governments, agricultural producers, agri- chemical companies, equipment manufactures and beekeepers, significant improvements have been made that have mitigated exposure risks to honey bees.  Certainly more work needs to be done, and working together with all those involved in the agriculture sector, we are confident that more successes will be achieved.  Accusations of blame do not provide an environment that welcomes new and innovative solutions and as such we will continue to work together with all parties to ensure optimum bee health, and at the same time, uphold our responsibility to beekeepers all across Canada to represent their interest in a respectful manner.