Neonicotinoid / Honey Bees

Active Action

Bayer and Syngenta: Neonicotinoids (Honey Bees and Beekeepers Class Action)

In 2014, Siskinds LLP and Siskinds Desmeules began class actions in Ontario and Quebec against Bayer and Syngenta (the “Defendants”), who are involved in the development, production, marketing and selling of neonicotinoid pesticides. Neonicotinoids are commonly used in agriculture in Quebec to eliminate certain pests and protect crops.

The facts in support of the class actions are that the neonicotinoids developed, produced, marketed and sold by the defendants cause damages to honey bees, including reproductive and behavioral problems, the reduction of honey production and death, leading to financial losses for beekeepers.

The actions are brought on behalf of beekeepers, including those individuals and companies that were in the business of honey production, queen bee rearing and/or pollination services for the period between January 1st, 2006 and February 20, 2018. The actions seek in excess of $400 million in damages. On February 20, 2018, the Superior Court of Quebec authorized the Quebec action to move forward to trial as a class proceeding.

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Developments

Judgment Rendered Authorizing the Quebec Class Action

Authorization is an essential step in class actions, it is the stage where the court determines in a preliminary manner whether or not the proposed action is serious and should proceed to trial.

Notwithstanding the defendants' arguments against the authorization, the Judge concludes that the plaintiff's claims are sufficiently serious and precise to justify the bringing of the class action against the defendants.

The action was authorized on behalf of beekeepers in Quebec between January 1, 2006 and February 20, 2018. The court authorized common issues relating to the alleged wrongdoing of the Defendants in the manufacturing and sale of neonicotinoids.

The class action is now moving towards a hearing on the merits. As part of the hearing of the merits, the court will be asked to determine the common issues.

Notice of Authorization

Short Form Notice: [English] [French]

Long Form Notice: [English] [French]

Select News

On November 5, 2014, Siskinds LLP responded to a story which appeared in the Financial Post on October 28, 2014 titled "Beekeepers blaming pesticides for bee losses could face bigger losses in court". Siskinds’ response to the article can be found here.