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Ontario court dismisses farmers’ appeal over ban on pesticides linked to bee deaths

TORONTO — Ontario’s highest court has dismissed an appeal from grain farmers fighting controversial pesticide regulations intended to protect bees in the province.

The case pitted the Grain Farmers of Ontario against the province’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change over the issue of seeds treated with neonicotinoids – a class of pesticide used to protect crops from harmful insects.

READ MORE: Ontario announces new rules restricting pesticides linked to bee deaths

The Ontario government unveiled restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides last year – a first in North America – after beekeepers lost more than half their hives in 2013-14.

The Grain Farmers of Ontario argued the rules were unworkable, of little benefit and would impair the ability of farmers to protect their crops from damaging insects.

READ MORE: Proposed ban of suspected bee killer sets off massive fight in rural Ontario

They took the case to Ontario’s Court of Appeal after a lower court dismissed their application for a declaration interpreting the new rules, as well as their motion to stay the regulation until its application was ruled on.

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The appeal court noted that granting the remedy the group sought “would be tantamount to amending a regulation through interpretation, a remedy well outside the court’s discretionary power.”

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