COVID-19 Information for Seed Growers

May 12, 2020

Together with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Authorized Seed Crop Inspection Service (ASCIS) Association, CSGA has been monitoring and evaluating the potential impact of COVID-19 on seed crop certification in 2020.

To ensure that there are resources available to permit the safe inspection of each pedigreed seed crop, CSGA is implementing temporary changes for 2020 and is working closely with CFIA to develop business contingency plans in case there are issues with timely availability of inspections.  At this point, these changes are for the 2020 season only.  The changes described in this document, and any future changes, will be described in a new COVID-19 tab in the CSGA Members’ Area.

If your business is experiencing impacts from COVID-19, please let CSGA know at (613) 236-0497 or via email.

Monitor your crops through the CSGA Members’ Area

Especially in 2020, members are encouraged to monitor the current status of their crops using the CSGA Members’ Area.  On the Crop History tab, columns will be added to indicate when the service provider intends to inspect the crop and when the crop was inspected.  Please note that these two data points would be provided by the inspection service and may change without notice.  CSGA is also exploring additional improvements to facilitate communication between the grower and ASCIS which may be added as the season progresses.

Physical Distancing During Inspection

Growers, inspectors and third parties should respect physical distancing recommendations set by public health authorities during the inspection process. CSGA is recommending that every seed farm implement internal procedures to limit potential exposure to COVID-19. CFIA is maintaining a resource page for industry that can help growers identify what changes may be required to their daily business.

If you or any member of your team is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or if there is any reason to believe that you may have been exposed, please follow recommended measures for self-isolation to protect your family, staff and seed business.  Please also inform your seed crop inspection service and/or inspector as they could be at risk of exposure.  Field inspection is generally conducted in open spaces and inspectors may be able to complete their work, even if you or your staff are self-isolating.

Here are recommended procedures that are specific to inspection:

  • Ensure crops and isolations are prepared and ready for inspection so that the inspector will be able to do their inspection as efficiently and thoroughly as possible and to reduce the likelihood of requiring a reinspection.
  • Limit physical contact with the inspector and minimize their presence at your establishment. Do not invite them into any buildings or common areas.  As much as possible, make sure that the inspector can do their work and leave without requiring assistance.
  • Communicate with the inspector via phone or email rather than in person. If you do not know how to contact your inspector, please contact the inspection service or CSGA instead.
  • If it is necessary to guide the inspector, do not drive them in your vehicle but instead ask them to take their own vehicle.
  • Let the inspector walk the field alone. If you would prefer to be present during the inspection, please respect physical distancing recommendations and maintain a minimum two metre distance from the inspector.
  • The inspector will not accept physical materials. Maps, tags, and supporting documentation can be provided to the inspector by taking a photo and using the appropriate upload form on the Forms tab in the CSGA Members’ area.
  • Keep wipes or hand sanitizer in your vehicle or nearby in case you happen to touch a common surface that the inspector has also touched and if you are not able to wash your hands right away.

Temporary Changes for All Crops in 2020

The following changes have been implemented for the 2020 season to support physical distancing between growers and inspectors and to allow inspectors to maximize their efficiency in-season. These changes are also reflected in revisions to the Application Support Document that was distributed in early May.

In 2020, inspectors will not be accepting or examining physical documents, including maps and tags.  Images or photos of tags and either a map or GPS coordinates must be provided for each crop in advance of the inspection.

For each seed crop without tags and without either a map or GPS coordinates, CSGA will send a weekly reminder email containing a form that can be used to provide that information directly.  Appendix A in the revised Application Support Document contains some technological assistance for generating accurate maps but further support is available by contacting the CSGA office.

Images of Tags Must Be Provided For Each Crop

A single image containing one tag for each unique parent seed source should be provided.  If two different lots are used, one tag representing each lot number should be included.  If the grower has planted their own seed, a copy of the crop certificate can be provided instead of a tag.  Next to each tag, the grower should include the quantity of seed in kgs used from that seed source.   Please see the example below.

The image can be attached to the initial Application or uploaded using the “Seed Tag Upload” tool, found on the Forms tab of the CSGA Members’ Area.

A Map or GPS Coordinates Must Be Provided For Each Crop

Maps must contain sufficient information for the inspector to find the field.  Directions and labels should be legible and provided where necessary.  Maps can be attached to the Application for Seed Crop Certification or uploaded using the Map Upload tool, found on the Forms tab of the CSGA Members’ Area.

GPS coordinates can be provided on the Application for Seed Crop Certification in a decimal degree format.  If you are using an alternative format, please use a third-party tool to convert to the decimal degree format or submit a map instead.

Inspector Availability

CSGA will be working with Authorized Seed Crop Inspection Services (ASCIS) and CFIA closely in-season to ensure that service providers have the resources necessary to conduct their assigned inspections.  If resources are not available, other ASCIS or CFIA may be engaged to ensure that each crop can be inspected.  At this time, service providers are well resourced to handle the inspection season but CSGA has developed contingency measures that can be applied if situations were to arise.

If you have reason to believe that your crops are at risk of not being inspected, call CSGA ASAP at 613-236-0497 x208 so that we can develop an inspection plan for your crops. 

CSGA will call you in-season if your inspection service does not have the capacity to inspect your field(s) and help you find an alternate inspection service. 

Avoid Re-Inspections

Before the inspection occurs, growers are strongly encouraged to walk their fields to identify potential issues and to have their isolations in place to avoid requiring a reinspection.  If you are preparing for the inspection and are unsure whether the isolations are sufficient, please contact the CSGA office to speak with an appraiser.

Please also review carefully the CSGA’s Definition of a field.  If you have a field that you believe ought to be either split into two or more fields or combined with an adjacent field(s), please contact your inspector or the CSGA office prior to the inspection.

Service providers are prioritizing primary inspections to ensure that each crop is inspected at least once in 2020.  If a re-inspection of your field is required in 2020 and if your service provider is not able to conduct the re-inspection, please contact CSGA.

Physical Documents and Forms

Rather than mailing physical documents or forms to the CSGA office in 2020, growers are encouraged to scan or take a clear photo of those materials and email them to  This will ensure that those documents are received and processed in a timely manner.

Payment of CSGA Fees

Where possible, please avoid sending cheques to CSGA.  Payment can be done over the telephone at (613) 236-0497 x 211 or online through the CSGA Members’ area.

CSGA Support

CSGA is committed to providing support for growers in the 2020 season and has brought on additional seasonal staff to allow us to do so.  If you have concerns or questions about your crops, if your business is impacted by COVID-19, or if you have suggestions or procedures you have implemented that you think may help other growers, please let us know by sending an email or by calling us at (613) 236-0497.