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Canadian Honey Council

The Canadian Beekeepers Council was formed in 1940 to assist in negotiating fair practices for labeling, grading, and marketing honey at the national level. The fledgling organization was underfunded and slow to communicate. It was difficult to respond to issues or develop the international markets that the members wanted. It was clear that there was a need for a higher profile and increased international recognition. In 1970 The Canadian Beekeepers Council decided to change its name to Canadian Honey Council.honey bee photo for the Canadian Honey Council

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CHC Office
Executive Director
Rod Scarlett
#218, 51519 R.R.220
Sherwood Park, AB T8E 1H1
ph 877-356-8935

Hivelights Magazine Editorial and Advertising
P. O. Box 914, Station T, Calgary, AB T2H 2H4
Geoff Todd ph 403-512-2123 geoff@honeycouncil.ca
or Doug McRory Email: doug@dougsbees.com

HELP WANTED ads for 2017 can now be ordered. The cost is $50.00 for six months on the CHC web site and printed in the two issues of Hivelights. Payments should be made out to Hivelights and mailed to: Hivelights, P. O. Box 914, Station T, Calgary, AB T2H 2H4.

Contact Geoff Todd: geoff@honeycouncil.ca to place ad.


The Canadian Bee Health Round Table is pleased to have sponsored the production of a manual entitled "Canadian Best Management Practices for Honey Bee Health".



New  The Honey Bee Health Coalition has published a revised varroa guide for beekeepers.  The Guide can be found here: 


Urgent!!!!!!     Front-of-package nutrition labelling

The CHC has developed talking and possible reponses to consultation.

Talking points


Draft answers to the consumer questionnaire


Technical questionnaire on front-of-package nutrition labels


On October 24, 2016 the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, launched the Healthy Eating Strategy for Canada. One of the intended outcomes of the Healthy Eating Strategy is to help make the healthier food choice the easier choice. In order to help achieve this, Health Canada is proposing to introduce front-of-package labelling requirements on prepackaged foods high in nutrients of public health concern (sodium, sugars and saturated fat). 

Front-of-package nutrition labels can help inform consumers’ choices when buying foods. A front-of-package approach that highlights sodium, sugars and saturated fat can also encourage the food industry to reformulate foods to be lower in these nutrients.

In addition, we are proposing to update the requirements for other information on the front of food packages, including certain claims and labelling requirements for certain high-intensity sweeteners (i.e., aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame-potassium and neotame). 

Canadians and stakeholders are invited to provide comments on Health Canada’s  proposed front-of-package nutrition labelling approach. Please provide your comments by January 13, 2017. We encourage you to spread the news about the front-of-package consultation to your colleagues and other interested parties.  

Release of Imidacloprid Proposed Re-evaluation Decision and Special Review Announcement/Publication du Projet de décision de réévaluation de l'imidaclopride et  annonce de deux examens spéciaux

  • Health Canada has published a Proposed Re-evaluation Decision for imidacloprid for a 90-day consultation period. Please find a copy, of the full re-evaluation document attached to this email.  The final re-evaluation decision will take into consideration any comments received during the consultation.
  • The re-evaluation, which included a thorough assessment of potential health and environmental risks from imidacloprid exposure, did not identify any human health concerns when used according to updated label directions.
  • The environmental assessment of imidacloprid identified risks to aquatic insects, such as midges and mayflies, which are important food sources for fish, birds and other animals.
  • In some aquatic environments in Canada, imidacloprid is being measured at levels that are harmful to certain insect populations.
  • Based on the assessment’s findings, Health Canada is concerned that the current high-volume use of imidacloprid pesticides in Canadian agriculture has resulted in environmental levels that are not sustainable, and is therefore proposing risk management actions to protect the environment.
  • Health Canada’s proposed risk management plan includes transitioning the agriculture industry away from using imidacloprid within three years, for most products.
  • In some cases, where there are no alternative pest control products available, a longer phase-out period of five years is being proposed to allow for the development of new alternatives. 
  • Based on the findings of this re-evaluation, the Department is initiating special reviews for two other neonicotinoid pesticides, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, which are also being detected frequently in aquatic environments.
  • If the findings of the special reviews indicate risks of concern to aquatic invertebrates, such as midges and mayflies, additional regulatory action will be taken, as required. 
  • Health Canada is committed to keeping Canadians informed about this issue and will provide updates as new information becomes available.
  • Santé Canada a publié le Projet de décision de réévaluation de l'imidaclopride aux fins d'une période de consultation de 90 jours. Vous trouverez en pièce jointe au présent message un exemplaire de ce document de réévaluation complet. La décision de réévaluation définitive tiendra compte de tout commentaire reçu pendant cette consultation.
  • Cette réévaluation comprenait une évaluation approfondie des risques potentiels de l'exposition à l'imidaclopride pour la santé et l'environnement et elle n’a pas permis de relever de préoccupation pour la santé humaine lorsque cette matière active est utilisée conformément au mode d'emploi mis à jour sur l'étiquette.
  • L’évaluation environnementale a révélé que l’imidaclopride présente des risques pour les insectes aquatiques, comme les moucherons et les éphémères, qui constituent d'importantes sources alimentaire pour les poissons, les oiseaux et les autres animaux.
  • Dans certains milieux aquatiques au Canada, l'imidaclopride est présent à des concentrations qui sont dangereuses pour certaines populations d'insectes.
  • Selon les conclusions découlant des évaluations, Santé Canada est inquiète du fait que l'important volume de pesticides contenant de l'imidaclopride utilisé présentement en agriculture au Canada donne lieu à des concentrations dans l'environnement qui ne sont pas durables. Santé Canada propose donc des mesures de gestion des risques afin de protéger l'environnement.  
  • Le projet de plan de gestion des risques par Santé Canada comprend une élimination de l'utilisation de la plupart des produits contenant de l'imidaclopride par l'industrie agricole d'ici trois ans.
  • Dans certains cas, lorsqu'il n'existe pas de produit antiparasitaire de remplacement, Santé Canada propose une plus longue période d'abandon graduel, soit de cinq ans, afin de permettre la création de solutions de remplacement.   
  • Selon les conclusions de cette réévaluation, le Ministère amorce des examens spéciaux pour deux autres néonicotinoïdes, la clothiadinine et le thiaméthoxame, qui font aussi l'objet d'une détection fréquente dans les milieux aquatiques.
  • Si les conclusions de ces examens spéciaux indiquent des risques préoccupants pour les invertébrés aquatiques, comme les moucherons et les éphémères, Santé Canada prendra d'autres mesures réglementaires au besoin. 


Canadian Agriculture & Agri-Food Labour Task force Statement


The Horticulture and Cross Sectoral Division of the Sector Development and Analysis Directorate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is pleased to present the latest report: “Statistical Overview of the Canadian Honey and Bee Industry - 2015”.


The report provides a comprehensive statistical overview of the honey and bee industry. It contains tables and charts about Canadian honey production, numbers of beekeepers and bee colonies, revenue, consumption and trade statistics.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • Honey bee colonies in Canada are at their highest numbers in decades, increasing 4% from 2014 to over 720,000 in 2015.

  • The value of honey produced in Canada totaled nearly $232 million in 2015, an increase of 11% from 2014.

  • Total Canadian honey exports rose to $65 million in 2015 from $48 million in 2014 while imports increased from $32 million in 2014 to $41 million in 2015.

The key resources used in the preparation of this document are Statistics Canada and Global Trade Tracker.

The report will be available online shortly but in the meantime, copies can be requested by emailing us at horticultureAAFC-AAC@agr.gc.ca.


La Division de l’horticulture et des enjeux pan sectoriels de la Direction du développement et analyse du secteur est heureux de présenter  le dernier rapport : « Aperçu statistique de l’industrie apicole canadienne  -2015 ».


Le rapport fournit un résumé exhaustif des données statistiques  de l’industrie apicole canadienne. Il contient des tableaux et des graphiques sur la production canadienne de miel, le nombre d’apiculteurs et de colonies d’abeilles, les revenus, consommation et échanges commerciaux.

Quelques faits saillants du rapport sont :

  • Les  colonies d’abeilles domestiques sont à leur plus grand nombre depuis des décennies, soit une augmentation de 4 % par rapport à 2014 à 720 000 en 2015.

  • La valeur du miel produit au Canada a atteint environ 232 M$ en 2015, soit une augmentation de 11% par rapport à 2014.

  • Le total des exportations du miel canadien a atteint 65 M$ en 2015, contre 48 M$ en alors que les importations ont augmenté de 32 M$ en 2014 à 41 M$ en 2015.

Les sources principales utilisées dans la préparation de ce document sont Statistique Canada et Global Trade Tracker.

Le rapport sera disponible en ligne sous peu, mais en attendant, des copies peuvent être demandées par courriel à horticultureAAFC-AAC@agr.gc.ca.


New - 2016 CAPA statement on Honey Bee Colony Losses in Canada


New regulations for antimicrobial resistance related to veterinary drugs

To find out more about this consultation on new regulations for antimicrobial resistance related to veterinary drugs, please click on the following link: Consultation on new regulations for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) related to veterinary drugs 

Questions or comments? Contact us at consultationVDD-DMV@hc-sc.gc.ca


Update on the proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations / Mise à jour concernant la proposition du Règlement sur la salubrité des aliments au Canada

New information on this initiative is now available on the CFIA’s Safe Food http://www.inspection.gc.ca/eng/1426531180176/1426531265317 page, which has been updated to reflect progress to bring the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) into force.


De nouveaux renseignements sur cette initiative sont maintenant affichés sur la page la salubrité des aliments http://www.inspection.gc.ca/fra/1426531180176/1426531265317, qui a été mise à jour de manière à rendre compte des progrès réalisés pour favoriser l’entrée en vigueur de la Loi sur la salubrité des aliments au Canada.

CATCH THE BUZZ – Canadian Honey Council Blames Transshipped Chinese Honey For Destroying Honey Market

By Alan Harman

   Canada is under siege from mountains of cheap honey suddenly pouring in from strange suppliers, and the Canadian Honey Council believes the honey is being transshipped to disguise its true origin – China, the well-known marketer of low-quality, tainted product.

Unusual volumes entered Canada in the first quarter of this year from countries as diverse as Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Moldova and even Zambia. The statistics, supplied to Bee Culture by the council, show Zambia shipped 2,395 kg in the first quarter with a value of C$19,862.  It is the only country in southern Africa to suddenly find a growing market in Canada.  It is all the more dramatic because Zambia shipped just 10,985 kg for all of last year.  Moldova, on the other hand, began boosting shipments in 2012, rising from just 480 kg in 2011, to 6,900 kg the next year. Last year it was 6,966 kg, but it started this year with a 1,838-kg first-quarter windfall.  In four of the five years from 2009, Vietnam sent just 20 kg of honey to Canada. But in 2013 it popped up with sales of 19,209 kg and last year was 17,843 kg, a figure overwhelmed by its first-quarter sales this year of 29,360 kg.  Ukraine exported 5 kg to Canada in the four years before 2015 when shipments soared to 445,421 kg. Last year the total was 155,262 kg and this year’s first quarter saw 26,254 kg land in Canada.  Myanmar, still better known as Burma, shipped no honey to Canada between 2009 and 2013 as a result of international sanctions, but then moved 58,200 kg in 2014 and 201,002 kg last year. The bees had to be working extra hard for it to be able to boost its shipments to 140,701 kg in this year’s first quarter.

Council executive director Rod Scarlett doesn’t think it is bees doing the overtime.  He believes most of the honey entering Canada is produced by China and marketed by other players in an elaborate honey-laundering industry involving third countries.  “It is a slow process in getting the message out,” he tells Bee Culture.  It may not in fact be pure honey, but a blend of honey and corn syrup.  “We have a serious food-fraud problem,” Scarlett is quoted as saying in Vancouver newspapers.  The council is asking the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to expand its operation from not only looking at food safety but also at food fraud.  What raises suspicions about the origins of the imported honey is that Saudi Arabia, for instance, is one of the world’s larger importers of honey, while Myanmar is a tiny player.  Saudi Arabia jumped from 5,439 kg in in 2012 to 27,023 kg in in 2013 and 61,610 kg a year later. Last year total shipments to Canada were 36,484 kg. This year it has exploded to 22,491 kg in just the first quarter.  Thailand has a similar record. It shipped only 579 kg of honey to Canada in the five years from 2009 before soaring to 764,835 kg last year and then to 171,680 kg in this year’s first quarter.  Spain is also a suspect in the transshipping scheme. Its Canadian shipments ranged between 2,000 and 6,000 kg for years before dramatically increasing to 75,514 kg in 2014 and then 766,116 kg in 2015. In this year’s first quarter it sent 123,053 kg.

“What we’ve seen in the latest import stats, is that countries … have unusually high imports into Canada,” Scarlett tells the Western Producer farm weekly. “It’s countries that really don’t produce a lot of honey.”  China has a reputation for poor-quality honey loaded with contaminants and is working hard to avoid using a “Made in China” label on the product, he says.  Twice this year, U.S. federal agents in Chicago have seized 50-ton shipments of Chinese honey with fake documentation claiming it came from Vietnam. “Honey is coming to Canada from countries that have no tradition of honey production, so we know it’s being transshipped,” Scarlett says. “That honey – and I use the term loosely – is 50 cents a pound, or more, cheaper, so it drives down the price for everyone.”

What is happening with Canada is remarkably similar to the situation with Australia 17 years ago.  A media investigation into the scale of the Australian honey relabeling operations, found that up to 2,228t of Chinese honey was shipped to Australia, mainly through Singapore, and then re-exported to the United States in the 2001-02 financial year at a time when the U.S. had banned Chinese honey.  A survey of the Australian beekeeping industry at the time released by the Australian Rural Research and Development Corp. showed that Australia’s honey imports from bee-less Singapore jumped from zero to 1,447t that financial year.  At the same time, Singapore’s honey imports from China rose from 2t in 2000-01 to 751t the following year.  Not coincidentally, Australian exports to the U.S. rose from 108t in 1999-00 and 168t in 2000-01 to 2,344t in 2001-02 – a year when Australian honey production was decimated by the worst drought since European settlement in 1788.  This time around, there’s no honey from Singapore, but what is happening in Canada has seen the price paid to Canadian producers fall from C$5.35 a kilogram (US$1.88/lb.) last year to about C$2.85 (US$1/lb.) this year – below the cost of production for most apiarists.

“This is having a huge impact on honey producers, especially on the Prairies where most of the bulk honey for export is produced,” Scarlett says. “Typical cost of production is around C$3.30 a kg (US$1.15/lb.), so there are a lot of guys sitting on honey or selling it at a loss just for the cash flow.”  He says this year’s unprecedented shipments of honey from Saudi Arabia, Moldova and Zambia during the first quarter this year are puzzling.  As is China, the world’s biggest honey producer, in shipping only C$910 (US$702) or 165 kg worth of honey to Canada in the first quarter, while shipments from its immediate neighbors totaled more than C$1.1 million (US$848,264).

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reports Manitoba beekeepers say the low prices as a result of the imported honey glut could force some out of business.

Allan Campbell, who co-owns Durston Honey Farms near Dauphin, Man., tells the broadcaster he is still sitting on some of last year’s crop and not even lowering prices is making it move.  “I’ve spoken with many different producers who are still sitting on tons and tons of last year’s honey,” Campbell says. “To make matters worse, there seems to be quite an issue with Chinese honey being transshipped through other countries and coming into the country illegally.”  Canadian Honey Council chairman Kevin Nixon tells the CBC that beekeepers across Canada are dealing with the same issues.  “The market is saturated globally, and it is affecting all of us right now,” he says. “We’ve been told there is a global over-supply of honey.”  Nixon says Chinese honey loaded with antibiotics was essentially shut out of the North American market the mid-2000s.  “They started shipping it to other countries, and those countries re-exported it,” Nixon says. “”We’re seeing honey coming from Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar.”  Nixon says the honey can be traced through its pollen and floral patterns.  “This isn’t about food safety; this is about food fraud,” he says. “This is really damaging to the industry.”  Nixon believes large amounts of the transshipped honey is also entering the U.S. and those imports are affecting Canada’s southern market.

The Saskatoon-based Western Producer quotes Ron Phipps, a global honey expert, as saying in a report for the American Honey Producers Association that with both Thailand and Ukraine, the number of hives and level of beekeeping activity does not justify the quantity of honey exported.  “A review of Thailand’s honey trade over the past 10 years reveals a correlation between sharp increases in export and increases of imports of honey from China and its surrogates,” Phipps wrote.


  Honey Product Trends in Canada 2016 AAFC


Stats Canada 2015 honey production  numbers 


Canadian beekeepers produced 95.3 million pounds of honey in 2015, up 11.4% from 2014. There were 8,533 beekeepers in 2015, 365 less than in 2014.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Production of honey
Production of honey

The total value of honey rose 10.9% from 2014 to $232.0 million as a result of increased production. The average price of honey was stable at $2.43 per pound.

On average, each colony had a yield of 132 pounds of honey, 9 pounds more than in 2014.

The number of colonies rose 3.6% from 696,252 to 721,106. This increase was attributable to favourable weather conditions that reduced winter losses, particularly in the Prairie provinces.

Honey production in Alberta, the top producer in Canada, was 42.8 million pounds, up 20.4% from 35.5 million pounds in 2014. Yields rose from 125 pounds per colony to 145 pounds.

In Saskatchewan, honey production increased from 16.5 million pounds in 2014 to 18.8 million pounds in 2015, as a result of more colonies and higher yields.

In Manitoba, although yields were lower, production rose from 14.1 million pounds in 2014 to 16.0 million pounds. This increase was attributable to more honey-producing colonies in the province in 2015.

The Horticulture and Cross Sectoral Division of the Sector Development and Analysis Directorate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is pleased to present the latest report: “Statistical Overview of the Canadian Honey and Bee Industry and the Economic Contribution of Honey Bee Pollination, 2013-2014”.

The report provides a comprehensive statistical overview of the honey and bee industry. It contains tables and charts about Canadian honey production, numbers of beekeepers and bee colonies, revenue, consumption and trade statistics. The report also includes an estimate of the economic contribution of honey bee pollination to Canadian agriculture.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • Honey bee colonies in Canada are at their highest numbers in decades, increasing 4% from 2013 to nearly 700,000 in 2014.

  • The value of honey produced in Canada totaled $202 million in 2014, an increase of 11% from 2013.

  • The trade balance remained positive in 2014 despite a decrease in exports. Total Canadian honey exports decreased from $61 million in 2013 to $51 million in 2014 while imports increased from $26 million in 2013 to $32 million in 2014.

  • The annual economic contribution of honey bee pollination to Canadian agriculture in 2013 is estimated to range from $3 billion to $5 billion.

The key resources used in the preparation of this document are Statistics Canada and Global Trade Atlas. The methodology used to estimate the economic contribution of honey bee pollination is based on the work of Nicholas Calderone of Cornell University.



Apimondia in Montreal Canada 2019!!!

With the theme "Working together within agriculture: Canada’s answer to sustainable beekeeping" the Canadian Honey Council  won the  bid to host Apimondia in Montreal in 2019.  The bid team worked hard putting together an exciting proposal and presented in Daejeon, Korea this September.  The bid website http://www.apimondia2019mtl.com/ has all the information and more will be forthcoming in the next four years. 

 Pesticide exposure statement

The Canadian Honey Council views pesticide exposure, both internally and externally as an extremely important bee health issue.  By working co-operatively with governments, agricultural producers, agri- chemical companies, equipment manufactures and beekeepers, significant improvements have been made that have mitigated exposure risks to honey bees.  Certainly more work needs to be done, and working together with all those involved in the agriculture sector, we are confident that more successes will be achieved.  Accusations of blame do not provide an environment that welcomes new and innovative solutions and as such we will continue to work together with all parties to ensure optimum bee health, and at the same time, uphold our responsibility to beekeepers all across Canada to represent their interest in a respectful manner.