Canada and Ontario bolstering honey bee health

Governments spending up to $1.375 million to help beekeepers

TORONTO – The governments of Canada and Ontario are spending up to $1.375 million through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) to help improve the resiliency and competitiveness of beekeeper operations in Ontario.  

“Honey bees and the producers who care for them play a vital role in the production and diversity of high-value agricultural crops in Ontario,” said Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. 

“Through this initiative, beekeepers will be able to access tools specific to their unique needs so they can continue building successful and sustainable beekeeping operations.”   

The new Honey Bee Health Initiative will help Ontario beekeepers maintain healthy honey bee colonies and will support them as they grow their number of colonies, states a press release from the ministry.

Eligible activities also include equipment purchases or modifications of equipment that prevents the spread of disease and analysis work to support best management practices.  

“Ontario beekeepers play an important role in honey production and maintaining healthy bee colonies, which in turn contributes to the pollination of Ontario crops,” said Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson.  

“Our government is committed to working with our beekeepers to address sector challenges, explore new markets and ensure the sector remains competitive.” 

This funding builds on previous programs, such as the 2021 back-to-back Honey Bee Health Management initiatives offered under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP). 

It also follows the recent commitment of $5 million through the AgriRecovery initiative, also through Sustainable CAP, to help Ontario beekeepers offset extraordinary colony losses due to extreme weather conditions in 2021-22. 

This initiative will be delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) and will directly contribute to the goals outlined in our Grow Ontario Strategy. 

The outcomes of this initiative will contribute to increasing the amount of food grown and prepared in Ontario by 30 per cent by 2032.  

 Sustainable CAP is a five-year (2023-2028), $3.5-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of the agriculture, agrifood and agri-based products sector. 

This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by the provinces and territories. 

The application intake for the Honey Bee Health Initiative will open on Sept. 15, and shall remain open until funding for the initiative is allocated. 

Up to 50 per cent of the costs of approved projects may be funded under the initiative. 

Ontario Beekeepers with fewer than 50 hives are eligible for up to $4,500 total on approved projects and beekeepers with more than 50 or more hives are eligible for up to $25,000.  

Eligible applicants will be required to provide evidence of completing a pest management course related to Ontario honey bees from a recognized institution.