Circular 6 Modernization Continues: Revised Standards in effect for the 2019 Crop Production Season

December 17, 2018

On February 1st, the 2019 version of Circular 6 was released.  This version contains revisions resulting from the second phase of the Circular 6 Modernization Project.  Section 0, which is an introduction to pedigreed seed crop production and Section 1, which contains regulations applicable to all pedigreed seed crops have numerous revisions to bring those sections up to date with the current system of privatized seed crop inspection and electronic forms and processes.

As a result of work done by the Canola and Hemp working groups a number of revisions have been made to Sections 4 and 5 for Canola, and Sections 10 and 11 for Hemp.  The Canola revisions mainly relate to the standards for wild mustard and removal of the harmful contaminant terminology by clarifying which species may cross pollinate and which species have seeds that are difficult-to-separate.  The Hemp revisions mainly relate to timing of crop inspection, isolation requirements and the removal of the maximum impurity standard for “too male”.

Two new sections for hybrid wheat production have been added.  Section 2A describes the standards for Certified production and Section 12A describes the standards for plot production of the parent lines.

The maximum varietal impurity standards for Fababean plot production have also been revised.  A complete summary of the revisions can be found in the Notice of Changes to Circular 6 – Effective in 2019

A summary of the results of the second survey, on potential revisions for 2019/2020, which ran from March to September can also be found here

As Circular 6 Modernization continues look for opportunities to engage and share your suggestions for change.  Suggestions for change can also be sent by email to

Circular 6 Modernization Continues – Changes to Standards for 2019 and 2020

The second phase of the Circular 6 Modernization Project went underway in March with the six crop-specific working groups meeting again to finalize the list of issues facing their respective crop kinds and to assign priority to them.  A second survey was also launched to seek additional input from the wider stakeholder community on potential revisions for 2019/2020.  The survey remained open until the fall and a summary of the results are available here.

As part of this second phase of the project, several working groups, including canola and hemp, met again in November and made recommendations for additional revisions in 2019. During the Standards and Circular 6 Committee meeting in late November, the proposed changes were received and final recommendations were made to the Board of Directors.  Those revisions were approved and will become effective for the new 2019 crop season. The revised regulations  will be posted to the CSGA website on February 1st along with a summary of the changes for easy reference.

Several working groups are already working on potential revisions for 2020.  For example, until now, canola and mustard were grouped together, although the issues these crop kinds face vastly differ and their respective stakeholders are also different. As a result, working groups specifically catered to canola and mustard were formed. The mustard group met in December to establish and prioritize a list of issues specifically facing their seed crops with the goal of modernizing mustard standards by 2020.

The process of bringing crop-specific technical experts together has been very well received by stakeholders and as a result, the Board has decided to formalize the working group structure as part of their review of the governance of the standards development process.  The review in November included the intent to modernize the Terms of Reference for the Standards and Circular 6 Committee.

As part of our Strategic Plan 2017-2023, CSGA is committed to modernizing our seed crop production standards to meet the challenges of new technology, new market demands, and new production realities while systematically involving membership in an ongoing review of Circular 6. We continue to look for opportunities to engage with our members and for you to share your suggestions for change with us. Feedback can be sent by email to Mike Scheffel.

We Want Your Feedback! New Survey – Changes to Standards for 2019 and 2020

March 28, 2018

As part of our Strategic Plan 2017-2023, CSGA committed to modernizing our seed crop production standards to meet the challenges of new technology, new market demands, and new production realities while systematically involving membership in an ongoing review of Circular 6.

As part of its Strategic Plan implementation, CSGA recently published changes to our seed crop production standards for the 2018 growing season. These changes stemmed from the first phase of the CSGA’s Circular 6 Modernization Project initiated in Fall 2017. You can view the CSGA’s Circular 6 as well as the recently published changes to it at . For the most part, these changes involve adjustments for which there was widespread agreement.

The second phase of the Circular 6 Modernization Project is now underway and is focused on some of the more challenging issues facing seed crop production and certification. These issues will require additional research and analysis to determine whether further adjustments are required. Above all, we require your input to ensure that we are focused on the right issues.

So please complete the new survey available on our SeedTALK platform. It is entitled ‘Circular 6 Modernization: Survey on Possible Changes for 2019’. Your input is needed and it will make a difference. Survey closes in fall 2018, though we would appreciate hearing from you sooner.


Get involved by following the “Start Survey” link (above) to our SeedTALK platform and completing the survey. Just sign up and navigate to ‘Surveys’ in the top menu. Check the webpage often for new surveys and information. It will keep you abreast of the modernization project and ensure that your voice is heard going forward.

Regulation Changes in Effect in 2018 – Circular 6 Updated & Published Online

March 14, 2019

On February 13th, the 2018 version of Circular 6 was posted on the CSGA website.  This version contains revisions that result from Phase 1 of CSGA’s efforts to modernize Circular 6, a commitment made in our 2017-2023 Strategic Plan. Nearly every section has been updated so growers should review the list of changes carefully to ensure that their 2018 production season is as smooth as possible.

The changes to Circular 6 reflect the significant and successful effort to bring together plant breeders, seed growers, seed trade stakeholders, seed crop inspectors and government from across Canada to participate in six working groups for each major crop type: Cereals, Pulses, Soybeans, Canola/Mustard, Forages, and Hemp.

These working groups were asked to identify regulations that were burdensome or outdated and to propose revisions that will keep Canadian seed growers competitive with their international counterparts while maintaining the exceptional quality of Canadian seed.   The recommendations for change arising from the working groups were also informed by feedback received at meetings held across Canada, via email, and through an online survey.

The January 2018 edition of Seed Scoop provided a link to a survey that described the changes proposed for 2018 and the office received an overwhelming number of responses.  It wasn’t a short survey and we thank each and every respondent for their time and careful consideration. The results of the survey were provided to the Board of Directors, and the Board approved the proposed changes to Circular 6 as brought forward by CSGA’s Standards and Circular 6 Committee.

Phase 2 of the modernization of Circular 6 continues – in the upcoming month look for more opportunities to engage and share your suggestions for changes to Circular 6 for 2019. Suggestions for changes can also be sent by email to Mike Scheffel.

Proposed Changes to Circular 6 in 2018? We Want to Hear From You

January 11, 2018

As part of the Circular 6 Modernization Project, CSGA is reviewing all seed crop regulations to adapt and simplify the language used, review regulations to ensure that they reflect modern agricultural practices and transform Circular 6 into a digital format.

These objectives will be pursued initially in two phases.  The objectives of Phase 1 are to identify changes that can be implemented in time for the 2018 production season as well as to begin the development of a list of priorities for Phase 2 and beyond.  Phase 2 will begin to address some of the more challenging issues, with the goal of implementing additional changes for the 2019 production season. It is expected that this modernization initiative will continue beyond 2019 and that it will be supported by a more robust standards development process; currently at the options development stage.

To help with the identification of the required changes, 6 crop kind specific Working Groups were formed this fall.  They included seed growers, seed trade, seed crop inspectors, plant breeders as well as industry representatives.

Approximately 30 proposed changes for the crop season of 2018 have been identified by the Working Groups for consideration by the CSGA Standards Committee and subsequent recommendation to the CSGA Board of Directors in late January; with a view to publication on February 5th, 2018. Before any proposed changes are recommended to the CSGA Board of Directors for publication, we are asking for your feedback on them through completion of this short but important survey. Please complete the Survey before January 25. Your feedback is extremely important to us.


Committed to Circular 6 Modernization

December 5, 2017

Canadian pedigreed seed has a rich history and a global reputation for quality.  This is due to strong Canadian regulations and procedures in place for pedigreed seed production.

Of course, standards must be kept current with the trends and practices in modern agriculture. CSGA hopes to bring changes to some standards as early as 2018 as a result of a technical review and revision of standards in Circular 6. Additional changes to the layout of Circular 6 are also planned.

Circular 6, the Canadian Regulations and Procedures for Pedigreed Seed Crop Production, is a detailed 200-page document. Since its inception in the 1920s Circular 6 has been revised many times but the last extensive review dates back more than 15 years. Through recent consultations, CSGA has heard from numerous members of the need to clarify, simplify and update the regulations.

CSGA is happy to announce its commitment to the Circular 6 Modernization Project.

As part of the Circular 6 Modernization Project, CSGA is reviewing all seed crop regulations to adapt and simplify the language used.  We’ve heard from members of the difficulty in interpreting the regulations due to the language used.  By simplifying the language and making regulations more clear, we hope to improve the understanding of our regulations and in turn prevent simple but costly mistakes from being made in the field. Regulations are also being reviewed to ensure that they reflect modern agricultural practices.

The project also includes the review of procedures to distinguish mandatory from voluntary requirements. In short, all the suggested guidelines (“shoulds”) for seed crop production will be removed from the regulations and moved to a separate best management practices (BPM) handbook to improve seed growers’ understanding of regulations versus BMPs.

To help with this review, CSGA has organized six separate working groups: cereals, pulses, soybeans, canola, forages, and hemp. Comprised of experienced seed growers and industry experts – including plant breeders, seed crop inspectors and CFIA – the working groups are examining Circular 6 to review the standards, procedures, best practices and other elements.

CSGA is also exploring digital tools to transform the current paper based or PDF document into a searchable, interactive and accessible electronic tool.  Members need to be able to find pedigreed seed production requirements quickly and from a mobile device, if necessary.  The current 200-page format is difficult to navigate and we hope the new searchable data base will improve members’ access to Circular 6 requirements from a mobile device.

All of these changes are part of the first phase of Circular 6 Modernization. In a second phase some of the more difficult, contentious, or uncertain elements of the technical standards will be reviewed which should result in further amendments in 2019 and 2020.

Although some standards will be changing in time for the 2018 crop season, CSGA is working towards a 2019 launch of a new and improved Circular 6. Circular 6 is a highly respected and detailed document. An in depth analysis and review of the regulations, including time to collect member input and review proposals takes time. We are confident seed growers will support this approach and timeline to ensure the review is given the time it deserves.

CSGA was recently able to secure funding from the Government of Canada, to hire consultants to assist in the management of the project.

We recognize that seed growers and other seed sector stakeholders have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to pedigreed seed production. Maintaining high but reasonable standards is important for Canadian agriculture and we need to hear from seed growers and key stakeholders about what they think matters. If you have any opinion on either keeping or changing standards, we want to hear from you. There is an opportunity for face-to-face discussions at all upcoming branch meetings this winter along with an online engagement that will be communicated to members via Seed Scoop. In the meantime, if you have comments, please share them with us!

Reach out to the CSGA today to have your voice heard. Share your views on what needs to change to help strengthen Canada’s seed production standards and help make your business more competitive in markets at home and around the world. Circular 6 Modernization is important to ensure that Canadian agriculture continues to benefit from a robust and reliable pedigreed seed supply.

For more information on Circular 6 Modernization or to share your views, contact Mike Scheffel at 613-236-0497, ext. 223

For media inquiries, contact Caroline Lafontaine at 613-236-0497, ext. 225