Item - 2017.PE19.3

Tracking Status

PE19.3 - Pollinator Protection Strategy Update

Decision Type:

Committee Decision

The Parks and Environment Committee:


1.  Requested that the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning continue to ensure the inclusion of the Environmentally Significant Areas in the Biodiversity Strategy.


(April 19, 2017) Report from the Chief Corporate Officer


This report provides an update on the development of a Pollinator Protection Strategy for the City of Toronto, and the creation of best practices for native bee and butterfly conservation. It also responds to the request to investigate the City of Edmonton's Beekeeping Program and comment on its applicability to Toronto.


The goal of the Pollinator Protection Strategy is to identify additional actions that the City and community can take to create and enhance habitat for pollinators. The draft strategy identifies six key priorities, and proposes a series of actions for each priority. The primary focus of Toronto's strategy is the protection of native bees and butterflies. However, the majority of the actions designed to support native bees and butterflies, will also benefit all pollinators, including non-native honey bees.


Toronto is home to a wide range of pollinators, including over 360 species of bees and 112 species of butterflies. Recognizing that pollinators are a key component of a sustainable city, Toronto's vision is to have healthy pollinator populations that support resilient ecosystems and contribute to a rich urban biodiversity.


Pollinators are under increasing stress due to a number of factors and, as a result, some species are in decline. In recent years, significant media attention on the declining health of honey bees and the economic losses experienced by beekeepers, has taken the focus off the more ecologically-concerning decline of native bees. Evidence suggests that native bees are the most at risk, and if these species are lost, they cannot be replaced. Honey bees, conversely, are a non-native species introduced from Europe, re-introduced annually, managed by beekeepers, and are not endangered in Canada.


The City of Edmonton prohibits honey bees and beekeeping is only allowed through a permit process. An analysis of their program has led to the determination that Edmonton's model is not necessary or appropriate for Toronto. Honey bees are not prohibited in Toronto and beekeeping is already regulated by Provincial legislation that includes specific requirements which are sufficient for Toronto. In addition, recent studies indicate that non-native honey bees may negatively impact native pollinators due to competition for limited resources and the spread of diseases/pests. The City should therefore continue to focus on habitat creation efforts that will benefit all pollinators, rather than encourage the introduction of more non-native honey bees.


This strategy, developed collaboratively by Environment and Energy, City Planning, and Parks, Forestry and Recreation, will form part of the City's broader Biodiversity Strategy. City Planning, and Parks, Forestry and Recreation were consulted in the preparation of this report and agree with its content and conclusions.

Background Information

(April 19, 2017) Report from the Chief Corporate Officer on Pollinator Protection Strategy Update
Appendices 1 - 4


(May 2, 2017) E-mail from Clyde Robinson (PE.New.PE19.3.1)
(May 3, 2017) Letter from Dave Harvey, Executive Director, Park People (PE.New.PE19.3.2)
(May 3, 2017) E-mail from Leslie Gooding (PE.New.PE19.3.3)
(May 3, 2017) Letter from Paul Davies (PE.New.PE19.3.4)
(May 4, 2017) Submission from Lenka Holubec (PE.New.PE19.3.5)
(May 4, 2017) Submission from Karen Yukich, ProtectNatureTO (PE.New.PE19.3.6)


Sheila R. Colla, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
Antonia Guidotti, Royal Ontario Museum and Toronto Entomologistsí Association
Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation
Karen Yukich, ProtectNatureTO
Karen Buck


Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Sarah Doucette (Carried)



1.  The Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning continue to ensure the inclusion of Environmentally Significant Areas in the Biodiversity Strategy.

Source: Toronto City Clerk at