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Sixth meeting of the Bee Health Roundtable: Record of decision

January 24, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario

Key decision points

  • Members identified action items to disseminate and promote tools that support best practices and habitat improvements; further a research agenda related to bee health; pursue collaborations with other partners; develop new knowledge; and improve communications with and between stakeholders.
  • Members also reaffirmed the importance of the bee health issue to their respective sectors and their commitment to action through the Bee Health Roundtable. Emerging priorities were identified and referred to working groups to develop proposed strategies for Roundtable consideration.
  • Details of action items may be found in Annex A.


  • The Co-chairs welcomed approximately 35 industry participants and eight provincial representatives who attended in-person and via WebEx. A particular welcome was extended to youth from the Canadian Young Farmers’ Forum.
  • Co-chairs drew the attention of members to the request of the Agriculture Economic Strategy Table for input to directed questions regarding the sector. It was agreed that since other sectors would provide input through their respective Value Chain Roundtables (VCRTs), the Canadian Honey Council (CHC) would provide a response for the honey/beekeeping sector.

Recent developments and emerging issues

  • The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) provided an update on the status of re-evaluations related to neonicotinoids, including related work with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and key consultation dates.
  • PMRA agreed to provide a separate technical briefing to BHRT members on the proposed pollinator re-evaluation decisions regarding Clothianidin and Thiamenthoxam.
  • PMRA responded to questions on monitoring and enforcement work in collaboration with provinces, and members were encouraged to share information with PMRA.
  • BHRT members also discussed potential emerging concerns related to fungicides, and agreed to share information, and refer related concerns to relevant working groups for consideration.
  • Members individually reported on a wide range of activities related to bee health underway through their organizations. Key examples are noted below:
    • Programming and outreach - Provinces noted an array of programming, including assistance to beekeepers for biosecurity and supporting training workshops, and other programs for compensation, and equipment evaluation.
    • Research, surveys and monitoring – Manitoba is undertaking surveys related to bee health, as well as habitat assessments; the University of Manitoba has a sentinel hive project; New Brunswick is undertaking work on small hive beetle, floral nutrition, and grower treatment; the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) has a number of grower-funded research projects related to pollination and habitat, including collaboration with Alberta Beekeepers and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC); AAFC is diversifying research projects to look at long-term solutions related to pest/disease management.
    • Collaborations and committees – Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA)/CHC has a committee on interprovincial movement; CCC is involved with the Honey Bee Health Coalition’s (HBHC) forage and nutrition awards, has attended a number of prairie beekeeping meetings, and supports a number of pollination initiatives including Bee Matters’ Buzzing Gardens program, and other projects.
    • Tools, technology and other resources – the Canadian Seed Trade Alliance (CSTA) is looking at opportunities to establish standards related to fugitive dust; Croplife Canada (CLC) is seeking further partnerships to expand the availability of BeeConnected and seeking feedback to improve the tool; the Canadian Horticulture Council has been providing advice and information to growers regarding labels and usage calendars to growers.
  • Canadian Honey Council will be hosting Apimondia in Montreal in 2019, and invited all BHRT members to be involved.

Pollinator Strategy Pillar

  • A review is currently underway to engage a contractor to develop a consolidated Canadian reference of practices to reduce bee poisoning from pesticides. The document is based on a tool produced by Oregon State University, How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides. It was noted that the Oregon document is being updated and there may be opportunities for synergy with the Oregon update.
  • Monsanto delivered a presentation on how a RNAi product could be used as a proposed solution to the control of mites that have a large impact on hive survival. Data is being shared with PMRA.
  • AAFC gave an update on the Canadian Honey Bee Surveillance Project. The objective of this national survey is to determine the incidence and distribution of pests, pathogens and parasites affecting honey bees and establish the presence or absence of exotic threats to the beekeeping industry. The results could provide the foundations for a national surveillance tool; exploratory discussions are underway with other organizations to identify support for the survey in future years. The final report will be released in March 2018.
  • CAPA provided a report on CAPA activities, including recent pest detections; examination of reported potential problems related to pollination of blueberry crops; and preparation of the annual CAPA winter loss report.
  • The Canadian Honey Council reported that the Roundtable’s Best Management Practices (BMP) manual for Honey Bee Health is being used as an example for a US publication. Roundtable members were asked for input and support in identifying new options for dissemination of the BMP guide to stakeholders.
  • The chair of the Habitat and Surrounding Working Group reported that the Planting Guide (PDF) had been distributed by the Pollinator Partnership through various networks and social media. Flowers Canada noted that it had disseminated the guide to commercial farmers and Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) members. A number of other options to further promote the guide were presented by the Working Group, which the Communications Working Group will be asked to further examine. He also reported on the Working Group’s recent discussion of possible other activities to consider, including targeted outreach to potential partners, and collaboration with producer groups to promote producer incentives to improve forage.

Products and Solutions Pillar

  • The Pest Management Center provided updates related to the approval of three products that are close to completing the regulatory process: Lincomycin, HopGuard, and Apivar. Lincomycin is close to completing the regulatory process; a decision on Hopguard is expected in early 2019; Apivar should be submitted within the next few weeks.
  • Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) noted that they continue to work on a pest predictor model, but as yet they have encountered too many variables to creating a reliable model.
  • The Canadian Canola Council reported that while results of their work are still being examined, it is not yet a predictor model. Research continues on related work including insect management and action thresholds, with supporting information booklets.

Research Pillar

  • CAPA and AAFC reported on the outreach work that had been done to communicate the BHRT’s research gap analysis to potential partners, and sought Roundtable feedback on the path forward. It was noted that work continues to be needed to understand and address nutrition, and that the small Canadian marketplace remains a barrier to access. Other commercial/border considerations were also raised. It was suggested that the Roundtable could provide a point of coordination to ensure transferability to the US and across commodities. Opportunities through the HBHC were also suggested. Other research directions to consider were suggested including sustainability of pollinator programs (seed availability) and economic analysis to support promotion of better practices (for example, targeted spraying) to stakeholders.
  • The Research Working Group will review feedback and recommend further options to the Roundtable for action.

Knowledge Transfer / Communications Pillar

  • AAFC shared the methodology used in developing the estimate of the economic value of the demand for pollination; noted the methodology challenges in developing a projection of future demand and sought feedback and information to complete the demand estimate exercise. Several resources and suggestions were provided.
  • The University of British Columbia provided a brief update on the Bee’omics queen breeding reference guide. The purpose of the guide is to provide current and future Canadian breeders and beekeepers with a source of up to date information about this critically important industry, and the opportunities and potential to work together to achieve a profitable and strong domestic queen breeding sector in Canada. Roundtable members were asked for their support in providing input to development of the guide, as well as support for production and dissemination. CHC offered to post the guide on its website. It was agreed that the guide would be distributed to Roundtable members when available. Further, the Honey and Beekeeping Issues Review Group was asked to review the guide.
  • The Communications Working Group reviewed efforts to communicate BHRT activities, and noted the co-ordination and resource challenges with the diverse group. It was proposed that a modular report that could promote Roundtable activities as well as special communications tools (articles for Roundtable members to communicate to their membership) be developed. It was agreed that the Working Group should develop such a tool. Several organizations (GFO, CLC, CSTA) indicated that they would be prepared to provide resources for this work, and other Roundtable members were asked to seek several commitments from their organizations. Support from relevant private companies will also be sought.

Public Trust Steering Committee

  • The National Manager of the Public Trust Steering Committee (PTSC) provided an update on activities, noting that the PTSC is now in the implementation phase of its mandate. She drew attention to Roundtable outreach, provincial and regional public trust organizations, to assist in initiatives, as well as development of a communications plan and funding model. Further participation from the BHRT and its members was invited.

Strategic planning

  • Roundtable members reviewed progress to date against their original strategic priorities, and noted the opportunities to continue to build on existing work in best management practices, habitat, research and communications. Specific actions were tasked to relevant working groups (see annexes). Members were then engaged in a discussion of new and emerging issues relevant to bee health for which the Roundtable would provide an appropriate forum/mechanism for collaboration and progress.
  • A broad range of issues were identified for possible consideration, and a number were triaged to specific working groups to further define, and to provide advice to the Roundtable on if/how the Roundtable could help to advance the issues. A summary of these issue and their assignments to Working Groups is attached as Annex C.
  • The Honey and Beekeeping Issues Review Group reported that four priorities of specific interest to the sector had been identified – consumer labelling requirements; transhipment; detection of adulterated product; and development of export markets – and would be pursued through engagement with the CFIA and AAFC.


  • Roundtable members will be polled to select a meeting date in January 2019.
  • The Industry Co-chair proposed that the BHRT plan a meeting with its US counterparts around the Apimondia conference, which will take place in September 2019 in Montreal.

Annex A: Bee Health Roundtable action items

Meeting / Item # Description Responsibility Timeline
6-1 CHC to respond to Economic Strategy Table questions. Questions and answers to be shared with all Roundtable members. Canadian Honey Council March 31, 2018
6-2 Control Pesticide Working Group (CPWG) to consider “scoping” of fungicide issue from beekeeping perspective. Multi-stakeholder Forum to be asked to review related issues by BHRT. CPWG Winter 2019
6-3 BHRT members to consider opportunities for discussion between beekeepers and producers to be proactive on issues related to fungicide. CPWG/ Communication Working Group Summer 2018
6-4 CPWG to update Roundtable members on pesticide reference projects as it progresses for feedback and input. CPWG Fall 2018
6-5 Identify Roundtable member to participate on HBHC nutrition challenge calls for information. Canadian Honey Council Fall 2018
6-6 Research Working Group to consider Roundtable advice on options for further work, and develop options for further Roundtable discussion. Research Working Group Fall 2018
6-7 Consult within AAFC regarding the value of pollination to ecosystems services. AAFC Fall 2018
6-8 HBIRG to discuss options to support the Queen Bee Reference Guide. HBIRG Summer 2018
6-9 Roundtable members to consider contributing funding to support BHRT communications initiatives, including development of a modular/multi-functional set of new tools (ex: report, letters, articles). All/ Communications Working Group Fall 2018
6-10 Development of communications plans for current BHRT tools. Communications Working Group Ongoing
6-11 All Working Groups to review proposed issues identified during the strategic planning discussion, select/define those appropriate for possible Roundtable action, and make recommendations regarding priorities and possible actions by the Roundtable. All Fall 2018

Annex B: Participants


  • Rod Scarlett, Canadian Honey Council
  • Kathleen Donohue, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)


  • Kevin Nixon, Canadian Honey Council
  • Anju Gill, BC Blueberry Council
  • Carey Gates, Flowers Canada Growers (by phone)
  • Debra Conlon, Grain Farmers of Ontario (by phone)
  • Jack Hamilton, Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd.
  • Lindsey Ehman, Grain Growers of Canada
  • Maria Trainer, CropLife Canada
  • Medhat Nasr, Canadian Association of Professional Apriculturists (by phone)
  • Rob Currie, University of Manitoba (by phone)
  • Scott Plante , Canadian Honey Council
  • Shelley Hoover, Canadian Association of Professional Apriculturists (by phone)
  • Stan Reist, Canadian Honey Council
  • Victoria Wojcik, Pollinator Partnership (by phone)
  • Brianna Chouinard, Canadian Seed Growers Association (CSGA)
  • Caleigh Irwin, Canadian Horticultural Council
  • Claudio Feulner, Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA)
  • Courtney Lockhart, Association of Equipment Manufacturers
  • Karen Ross, Canadian Organic Growers
  • Kathleen Law, Pollinator Partnership
  • Maxim Legault-Mayrand, Canola Council of Canada
  • Lora Morandin, Pollinator Partnership (by phone)

Provincial government

  • Chris Maund, New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries (by phone)
  • David Feindel, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (by phone)
  • Geoff Wilson, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture (by phone)
  • Jason McLean, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food
  • Paul van Westendorp, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture (by phone)
  • Rhéal Lafrenière, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (by phone)

Federal government

  • Anita Gilmer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Seed Section
  • Connie Hart, Health Canada - Pest Management Regulatory Agency
  • Connie Rajzman, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Animal Import/Export Division
  • Lindsay Hanson, Health Canada - Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA)
  • Steve Pernal, AAFC

Guests / speakers

  • Gerald Hayes, Monsanto
  • Miriam Bixby, University of British Columbia (by phone)
  • Myrna Grahn, Public Trust Steering Committee
  • Scott Kirby, Health Canada - PMRA
  • Tobias Laengle, AAFC (by phone)

Federal support

  • Austin Mowat, AAFC
  • Claudine Routhier, AAFC
  • Farid Makki, AAFC (by phone)
  • Glenda Taylor, AAFC
  • Maxine Grier, AAFC
  • My-Tu Kaan, AAFC
  • Ron Gerold, AAFC
  • Stephen Page, AAFC

Industry observers

  • Salah Zoghlami, Fédération des producteurs de cultures commerciales du Québec (by phone)
  • Albert Devries, Canadian Honey Council
  • Allan Campbell, Canadian Honey Council
  • Danielle Soulard, CropLife
  • Jake Berg, Canadian Honey Council
  • Mario Swinkels, Canadian Honey Council
  • Niel Specht, Canadian Honey Council
  • Terry Greidanus, Canadian Honey Council
  • Lauren Park, Young Farmer
  • Nicolas Roy , Young Farmer

Provincial government observers

  • Rassol Bahreini, Government of Alberta (by phone)
  • Olivia Hares, Government of Alberta (by phone)

Federal government observers

  • Barbara Martinovic Barrett, Health Canada - PMRA
  • Janice Villeneuve, Health Canada - PMRA
  • Kurt Randall, Health Canada – PMRA
  • Nicole Lauro, Health Canada – PMRA

Annex C: Report of the Bee Health Roundtable strategic planning discussion - Forward agenda options and proposals (by working group or issue/initiative)

Best Management Practices (BMPs)

  • Spanish translation of BMP document
  • Seek additional partners to distribute BMP document


  • Research and evaluate current habitat projects (Canadian and international)
  • Communications plan to promote planting guide
  • Outreach to potential partners to implement projects using the Planting Guide tool
  • Consider development of a bee habitat and forage strategy


  • Support to improve seed availability appropriate for specific ‎stakeholder groups (farmers, landscapers, utilities, etc)
  • Liaise with Honey Bee Health Coalition for information on nutrition research
  • Areas of research to pursue - sustainability of pollinator programs, other?
  • Gather knowledge of nutrition needs across Canada
  • Gather international information on product developments
  • Collaboration with stakeholder groups (municipalities, farmers, etc.) to address business plan considerations for habitat initiatives
  • More research needed re organic practices


  • Develop a report on BHRT progress
  • Promotion of current initiatives (BMPs, research, PMRA / CAPA reports, planting guide)

Honey/Beekeeping sector specific issues

HBIRG priorities

  • Labelling
  • Trans-shipment
  • Adulterated honey testing
  • Develop/diversify export market

Honey Council – sector-specific issues

  • National project on varroa
  • Inter-provincial movement
  • Safe Food for Canadian Act implications – CFIA and HC
  • Other market access issues:
    • MRLs
  • AMRs
    • Access to vets
  • National standard of identity for honey
  • Market export data
  • Trade negotiations
    • Potential dumping action
  • Grow domestic consumption
    • Promotion
  • Labour

Issues identified in general discussion (to be assigned to working groups)

  • Information sharing
  • Coalitions/sharing of resources project
    • Reporting back to Roundtable
  • Acknowledgement of progress, contributions/collaboration with producers
  • Direct participation of growers
  • Opportunities to collaborate on seed/planting
  • Cross Roundtable collaborations
  • Brand development for Canadian honey
    • Lessons learned from other sectors
  • Habitat for other managed pollinators
    • Impact of climate change; need research on mitigation/adoption options
  • Request for planting service
    • Discuss with federal real property managers – raise awareness, discuss opportunities
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