Following the announcement of Budget 2012, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has chosen to focus its attention on its core mandate of food safety, consumer protection, and animal and plant health. This means that starting in 2014, the CFIA will be less active in the delivery of seed crop inspection. In fact, by April 1st 2014, CFIA’s goal is to have a significant portion of seed crop inspections delivered by the private sector.
The CSGA has been working with an industry-government group comprised of the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA), the Canadian Seed Institute (CSI) and the CFIA to develop a framework for the alternative service delivery (ASD) of seed crop inspection by 2014.
Beginning in 2014, CFIA will be licensing private seed crop inspection services to provide authorized seed crop inspections. CFIA recognizes the transition to authorized seed crop inspection will take a few years and that CFIA will still need to perform seed crop inspections in some situations. The longer term goal is, however, to transfer most seed crop inspection delivery to licensed services.
Seed Crop Inspection Services
Initially, for 2014, CFIA has been training private seed crop inspectors on Circular 6 Section 2 & Section 3 crops which cover most cereals, flax, pulses and soybeans. However, a limited amount of licensed inspection of other crop kinds can be also expected beginning in 2014 because some of the trained and experienced CFIA seasonal (casual) inspectors will be hired by the authorized seed crop inspection services beginning in 2014. Many of these CFIA seasonal inspectors are qualified to inspect other crop kinds and higher pedigree classes.
The list of potential and Authorized Seed Crop Inspection Services (ASCIS) is continually changing. The most up to date list is available for download below. The document lists the companies and individuals that have received authorization to operate or who are in the process of obtaining an ASCIS license from CFIA for operation in 2014. It also lists their regions of operation.
- List of Recognized ASCIS (as of May 2, 2014)
Questions and Answers
Many seed growers have expressed concern with the upcoming changes. Some of your questions may be answered by reading the content below summarizing your new responsibilities as a seed grower beginning in 2014. For additional information, members are also invited to read through this Q&A article that first appeared in the spring edition of CSGA’s magazine Seed to Succeed.
New Responsibilities for Seed Growers Beginning in 2014
The world will change for seed growers and this will impact your responsibilities as a seed grower beginning in 2014. Before applying to CSGA for seed crop certification, seed growers will need to identify and designate, on their application, an Authorized Seed Crop Inspection Service (ASCIS) operating in their region or Province. That is just one of several changes that seed growers should expect in 2014. The following is a list of some of the changes that will impact seed growers and seed growers’ responsibilities under ASD in 2014 (and beyond):
- More than a simple application for inspection will be required.
Seed growers will need to identify on the CSGA application for seed crop inspection form, the name of the authorized seed crop inspection service they will be using. This identification, or designation, will be done for each field being applied for inspection. This could mean more than one service provider may be designated by the applicant, if the application includes crop kinds or higher generations and plots for which no qualified licensed inspectors exist.Field maps and directions to seed crops must be submitted to the service provider. CSGA no longer requires maps and directions be sent to CSGA. For seed crop traceability, CSGA applications will still require legal land locations and/or GPS coordinates for each field to be inspected.
- Know your inspection service before applying for inspection.
To be able to designate an authorized seed crop inspection service, a seed grower should contact and confirm with the service that the service is willing and able to perform the inspection(s).The official list of seed crop inspection services authorized by CFIA will be posted to the CSGA website after December 31st. The region(s) in which each authorized seed crop inspection service is operating and the crop kinds and pedigreed classes the service’s licensed inspectors are qualified to inspect will also be posted.
- Pay your inspection fees to the inspection service directly.
Seed growers will pay inspection fees directly to the seed crop inspection service but will continue to pay CSGA fees, Branch fees and any applicable CFIA fees to CSGA at the time of application for seed crop inspection. In 2014, growers will be able to pay CSGA fees via credit card, debit card, cheque or online banking.
- Know what your inspection fees are.
The seed crop inspection fees of authorized inspection services are expected to vary from service to service and region to region. It is in your best interests to confirm with a licensed service not only their availability but also their inspection fees. In some cases, you might find an inspection service is willing to negotiate their fee based on field locations, sizes, numbers, crop kind, etc. This is, however, totally between the seed grower and the authorized inspection service.
- Confirm inspections with the inspection service.
It is expected most licensed seed crop inspection services will require payment prior to inspection so those arrangements should be finalized prior to making application for inspection to CSGA.
- Don’t miss applying before the deadline date.
Making application and confidently designating an inspection service prior to the application deadlines will be critically important. Although CSGA will be working with service providers in an electronic format which will speed up communication, inspection services might not have an adequate number of inspectors to inspect your fields if your application is made after the application deadline. Late applications increase the risk of not getting the field inspected. Because adherence to application deadline dates is even more critical with multiple service providers, CSGA is expecting to impose a fee for late application. These late fees can be avoided by ensuring applications are submitted by the deadline dates.
- Apply online for faster service and provide your email address or fax number
Seed growers are strongly encouraged to use the online application option on the CSGA www.seedgrowers.ca web site. As much as possible, communication with seed growers is also moving toward an electronic format. The speed of electronic communication will be an important component of moving information back and forth between growers, CSGA, CFIA and inspection services as the industry transitions to seed crop inspection services authorized by CFIA. If you do not have your email address and/or fax number included in your CSGA member profile, please provide them to the CSGA office as soon as possible.
- Make your own arrangements if a re-inspection is required.
If a re-inspection of your field(s) is required, it will be the seed grower’s responsibility to contact the authorized inspection service to arrange for the re-inspection.
- Post-control variety verification testing by CFIA is still required
CSGA will notify growers and/or assignees of fields that require a representative seed sample for post-control variety verification testing by the CFIA. Growers and/or assignees will need to draw and retain these seed samples and submit them directly to CFIA.
The most important responsibility for seed growers will be to stay informed. CSGA will do everything possible to keep growers informed through our e-newsletter Seed Scoop, and through our website.
Contracts with a Service Provider
When establishing a contract with a seed crop inspection service, you need to be asking specific questions to make sure your interests are protected. Please read this guidance document to help you consider all questions you should be asking when signing a contract with a seed crop inspection service.
More Information on CFIA’s Position
For more information on CFIA’s position, members are invited to read the following documents: