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Ontario’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray commended the OWMA last week for contributing to the development of the provincial government’s Pollinator Health Action Plan, which was released on Dec. 16.

“We would like to thank the Ontario Waste Management Association and its members for their valuable contributions during the development of our Pollinator Health Action Plan,” Murray said.

“The waste management sector has taken an active leadership role in developing long-term solutions that will protect and enhance pollinator habitat throughout our province. We are pleased to have the sector’s partnership and look forward to continuing our work together on safeguarding Ontario’s ecosystems now and into the future.”

The OWMA, along with several members, advised the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change on several aspects of pollinator health while working to strengthen efforts to protect pollinators throughout the province.

Specifically, our association highlighted the work being undertaken by OWMA members to create pollinator habitat in buffer zones at transfer stations, landfill sites and resource recovery facilities.

Ontario’s pollinators include bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, flies, hummingbirds and some beetles. Pollination by these species enables plants and crops to grow, and provides more than a third of the “produce consumed in Ontario” and contributes “$992 million annually to the province’s economy,” according to the government.

The action plan includes steps to restore and protect “one million acres of pollinator habitat” and provides support for new research on pollinator health related to disease management and the use of neonicotinoid pesticides to treat corn and soybeans.

It also includes a proposal to review the “Landfill Standards Guideline to potentially include a pollinator planting strategy for the waste fill zone as final cover and in the surrounding areas.”

OWMA staff will be reviewing the action plan in more detail and meeting with the government to discuss its next steps.

At the same time, we are completing research to develop guidelines for the waste management sector that will help to create more pollinator habitat in Ontario. This research will include:

  • A comprehensive literature review of pollinators on reclaimed landscapes and the creation of pollinator habitat on industrial lands,
  • A study of current industry guidelines (e.g. the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition) and the development of best management practices and techniques to conserve pollinators,
  • An examination of new methods for integrating the development of pollinator habitat into reclaimed landfill sites, and related green infrastructure initiatives that can support pollinator habitat,
  • An outreach program to encourage the use of the Pollinator Habitat Development Guide for OWMA members, and,
  • An outline of costs and options available to develop pollinator habitat in a range of areas in Ontario.