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Ontario Beekeepers Association wants borders kept closed to US honey bees

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In Agriculture
Oct 1st, 2017
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AWARE News Network

The Ontario Beekeepers Association has called on Ontario commercial beekeepers to opt out of a National Class Action Lawsuit against the Canadian government for restricting honey bee imports from the US.

The suit, filed by three western Canadian beekeepers, claimed damages because the Canadian government “negligently, or through abusive administrative action, denied them their lawful right to seek import permits for honeybee packages from the US.”

The suit included all Canadian commercial beekeepers in this action unless they choose to opt out.

It was recently certified in the Federal Court of Justice on behalf of commercial beekeepers throughout Canada. Any beekeeper who has kept 50 or more colonies for commercial purposes in Canada at any time since January 1, 2007, is automatically included in this lawsuit unless that beekeeper Opts Out in writing by November 5th.

The OBA Board of Directors this week publicly reaffirmed its continued support of a closed border to imports of honey bees from the continental US because such imports create health risks for the Canadian bee population, including the risk of Africanized honey bees, antibiotic-resistant American foulbrood, and Amitraz-resistant varroa mites.

In order to send a clear message rejecting the opening of the US border, the OBA Board encourages qualified beekeepers to return by mail, fax or courier by November 5, 2017 this Opt Out form to Koskie Minsky LLP, the plaintiffs’ lawyer. In choosing to Opt Out, beekeepers will forego any compensation that could be awarded should this lawsuit be successful.

The health of Ontario beekeeping demands action to keep the border closed to US honey bees, the OBA says.

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