Boost for Ontario's Beekeepers with New Government Funding

May 24, 2024


In response to the challenges faced by the beekeeping industry, the governments of Canada and Ontario have announced an increase in funding for the Honey Bee Health Initiative.  

This initiative, which is critical for maintaining the health of bee populations essential for pollinating crops across Ontario, will see an additional investment of up to $1 million. This funding boost is aimed at enhancing the resiliency and competitiveness of beekeeper operations within the province. 

The Honey Bee Health Initiative was initially launched on September 15, 2023, with over $1.3 million allocated. To date, 218 projects have been approved, supporting beekeepers in preparing for winter and combating threats like varroa mites, which are detrimental to bee health.  

The federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, emphasized the importance of healthy bee populations for crop production across Ontario. 

This increased funding is a part of the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP), a five-year, $3.5-billion initiative aimed at strengthening the agriculture sector's competitiveness, innovation, and resilience across Canada.  

This includes a significant investment of $1 billion in federal programs and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared between the federal and provincial/territorial governments. 

Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Lisa Thompson, highlighted that this initiative reflects the commitment to the bee sector and honey production throughout the province.  

The funding will be managed by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) and is aligned with the objectives of the Grow Ontario Strategy, which aims to bolster the agri-food sector and ensure a stable food supply chain. 

Ian Grant, President of the Ontario Beekeepers' Association (OBA), welcomed the additional investments, recognizing their importance in supporting food security and the broader food supply in Ontario. 

Beekeepers in Ontario can apply for cost-share funding under the initiative starting June 3, 2024, with the application window remaining open until the funds are fully allocated. Funding covers up to 50 percent of the costs for approved projects, with different caps based on the number of colonies managed by the beekeepers. 

Eligible beekeepers are also required to provide evidence of completing a pest management course related to Ontario honey bees from a recognized institution, ensuring they are well-equipped to maintain the health of their colonies effectively.  

This strategic approach not only supports beekeepers but also contributes to the overall sustainability and productivity of Ontario’s agricultural landscape.