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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!

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



December 19, 2014

A National Bee Health Action Plan

TODAY – Ottawa – A National Bee Health Action Plan to address factors impacting bee health in Canada and improve the health and populations of bees was endorsed by the members of the newly formed National Roundtable on Bee Health in early October 2014.

At a meeting in October, individuals from across Canada met to determine a National plan to address bee health in Canada and agreed to formalize their efforts under an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Roundtable. 

“The establishment of a National Bee Health Roundtable provides the forum to achieve results on a National Bee Health Action plan,” said Rod Scarlett, Co-Chair of the National Bee Health Roundtable & Executive Director, Honey Council of Canada.  “The National Bee Health Action Plan has aggressive targets that cover a broad spectrum of issues facing honey bees and a particular priority will be place on two areas: 1) Varroa Mite control and 2) Promoting ways to reduce pesticide exposure in and outside the hive.”

The National Bee Health Plan’s goal is to identify priority issues, foster collaborative and innovative activities that help maintain a healthy honeybee population in Canada as well as support a competitive Canadian apicultural industry.

Canada’s National Bee Health Plan was initiated by attendees of the National Bee Health Workshop held in March 2014.  Extensive work over the Summer to inventory current efforts underway to promote bee health and determine priority actions was conducted by a broad range of individuals and organizations representing beekeepers,  scientists,  grain farmers, members of the agriculture industry as well as  provincial and the Federal government representatives.

In addition to the two priority areas, the Roundtable will investigate solutions in such fields as bee care and nutrition, pests and pathogens (diseases and viruses), environment and foraging surroundings, and growing agricultural needs.  

At the October Bee Health Forum meeting, agreement was reached to transition from a forum to a formal roundtable.

The National Bee Health Action Plan is comprehensive here is a link to the details of the plan :

English: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/industry-markets-and-trade/value-chain-roundtables/bee-health/objectives-and-priorities/?id=1409836063106

 French: http://www.agr.gc.ca/fra/industrie-marches-et-commerce/tables-rondes-sur-les-chaines-de-valeur/sante-des-abeilles/objectifs-et-priorites/?id=1409836063106

 For further inform

Rod Scarlett
Executive Director
Canadian Honey Council




Participating Organizations – National Bee Health Roundtable

Federal government representatives from:
Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency and
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Provincial government representatives from across Canada

 Canadian Honey Council

Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists

Grain Growers of Canada

Canadian Horticultural Council

Canadian Organic Growers

Canadian Seed Trade Association

la Fédération des producteurs de cultures commerciales du Québec

Grain Farmers of Ontario

CropLife Canada

Canadian Seed Growers Association

Association of Equipment Manufacturers

Canola Council of Canada

Ontario Apple Growers

Blueberry Processor

BC Blueberry Council

Pollinator Partnership

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.



– Stakeholder Workshop Ottawa, Ontario -

March 31, 2014, Ottawa ON  - The necessity to take a comprehensive look at the various factors impacting bee health in Canada brought together a diverse group of stakeholders at a Bee Health Workshop in Ottawa.

“Bees are critical to both our economy and our ecosystem,” said Rod Scarlett Bee Health Workshop Chair & Executive Director of the Canadian Honey Council. “That is why beekeepers, farmers, agronomists, scientists, government and other partners are working on this together. We know if we develop a national and inclusive approach, everyone will be better off.  If we can’t work together, everyone will lose something because so much is at stake.”

The national workshop held this week, was the next step in ensuring all parties with a stake in bee health can collaborate on solutions. Participants included beekeeper groups, grain, horticulture and organic farm groups, chemical and seed industry representatives, federal and provincial governments and bee health experts.

The need and opportunities for Canada’s beekeepers are expected to continue to grow and this group of stakeholders is committed to working together to find positive outcomes for pollinator health as well as agricultural production.

“Bees are an important part of agriculture. Grain farmers are pleased with this opportunity to work with beekeepers, scientific experts and governments to promote the health of bees,” said William Van Tassel, Workshop attendee and First Vice- President of la Fédération des producteurs de cultures commerciales du Québec.  “A commitment to a co-ordinated, comprehensive national focus on honey bee health is the right approach.”

The group has agreed to continue to meet in a collaborative manner.

The following is a link to the first gap report that resulted from the workshop.  The Steering Committee met on May 22, 2014 and refined the report.  An update from that meeting will be posted shortly.


Record of decision reports



At the August Steering Committee, at the request of the Bee Health Workshop, CAPA prepared a list of the certified labs across Canada and to some extent, the United States, that provide disease and chemical analysis.



Below is the Record of Decision and Bulletin from the meeting held on October 3, 2014.