07/09/2013 11:55 EDT | Updated 09/08/2013 05:12 EDT

Ontario calls in experts in bid to prevent bee deaths

The Ontario government is putting together a working group that will provide advice on how to prevent bee mortalities.

A government news release issued Tuesday says the so-called Bee Health Working Group will include beekeepers, scientists, farmers, members of the agri-business community and government staffers.

The release says the group will be tasked with ways of limiting the risk to bees of neonicotinoid, a pesticide that is used for corn and soybeans.

The Sierra Club Canada environmental organization said it welcomed the government’s decision, with executive director John Bennett saying Tuesday that it is "the first real recognition of the impact of neonictinoid pesticides on bees."

Over the past three years, the Canadian Honey Council says that the bee population has declined in Canada by an estimated 35 per cent.

The government says that honey production contributes $25-million to the provincial economy.