April 2021

Register to Attend CSGA's Annual General Meeting

CSGA’s 117th Annual General Meeting (AGM) is being held virtually on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, starting at 10:00 am.

Join us as we unveil the CSGA 2.0 Business Plan and introduce our incoming Executive Director, Doug Miller. Additional meeting information can be found online.

Register today! Registration is open until Sunday, April 11.

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Reminder of Opportunity to Submit Resolutions

In the March 12 Seed Scoop eNewsletter, Regular members were invited to submit resolutions in advance of the April 14 virtual Annual General Meeting.

Resolutions allow members to express their views on matters related to the affairs of the CSGA. Any active CSGA member may submit a resolution. To accommodate the virtual meeting format, resolutions must be submitted to the CSGA via email no later than Thursday, April 8, at 11:59 pm EDT.

Those interested should complete and submit the resolutions form via email to Michael Scheffel at who is compiling submissions on behalf of the Chair of the CSGA Resolutions Committee, Jonathan Nyborg.

The resolution submission form includes space for a supporting rationale that will be read by the Chair of the Resolutions Committee when presenting the resolution to the AGM on your behalf.

Should you require assistance in completing and submitting the form, please contact Michael Scheffel.

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Seed Regulatory Modernization Update

The Seed Regulatory Modernization (SRM) Working Group met again on March 26. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) shared initial results from the Needs Assessment Survey that closed on March 15. Over 600 completed responses were received, including more than 300 producer/farmer participants and over 100 seed grower participants.

During the meeting, the Chairs of the three first task teams and the CFIA staff leads were announced:

  • Seed Standards and Grade Tables: Roy Klym and Gord Berg
  • Variety Registration: Dr. Bryan Harvey and Mark Forhan
  • Seed Certification: Keith Degenhardt and Marie Shank

The CFIA chose members of the task teams from a pool of nominees submitted by stakeholder groups.

CSGA is pleased that all three of its nominations for task team Chairs (Roy Klym, Bryan Harvey and Keith Degenhardt) have been accepted. A meeting of the Chairs with the CFIA is scheduled for April 6, and the task teams will get to work soon after.

The Seed Policy/SRM subcommittee of the CSGA 2.0 project met on March 17 and finalized its recommendations. Initial CSGA policy positions on SRM have been presented to the Board and incorporated into the CSGA 2.0 Business Plan. Stay tuned or attend the April 14 Annual General Meeting to find out more.

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New Health Canada Novel Foods Consultation

Health Canada launched a public consultation on March 25 seeking feedback on two new guidance pieces for the Novel Food Regulations, focused on plant breeding. The intent is to ensure guidance provides greater clarity, predictability, and transparency regarding the regulation of novel foods derived from plants, including those developed using gene-editing technologies, and provides an efficient and predictable pathway to commercialization for new products.

You can participate in the consultation between now and May 24, 2021.

Seed Sector stakeholders have been advocating the government for several years to refresh its policies respecting plant breeding innovation. CropLife Canada, the Canada Grains Council, and Seeds Canada have been particularly instrumental in bringing this consultation for modernization of plant breeding innovation regulation forward.

When plant biotechnology was relatively new to agriculture in the 1990s, the Government of Canada took the approach of regulating novel products and not the technology that created them. The rest of the world decided to regulate the process – generally recombinant DNA – resulting in what are referred to as genetically modified organisms or GMOs. In contrast, Canada regulates novel foods, novel feeds, and plants with novel traits (PNTs) irrespective of how they were produced.

When new genetic engineering tools such as CRISPR, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, came on the scene, some countries’ GMO regulations did not clearly capture them because they were not GMOs by the regulatory definition. In Canada, the situation has been less clear because the regulations focus on the final product, and the concept of novelty is subject to interpretation.

In the consultation document, Health Canada, in keeping with the global scientific consensus, has clearly come out in support of the safety of plant breeding and gene editing specifically.

CSGA supports clear, predictable, and science-based approaches to regulation, including plant breeding of gene-edited crops. Such a framework encourages investment and innovation. New varieties developed using these methods hold great promise for Canadian agriculture, including plants with improved pest tolerance, better yields, and higher quality. Safer, more sustainable, and more nutritious crops and food ingredients will be possible using innovative technologies.

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CSGA Announces New Leadership

On March 25, 2021, CSGA President Joe Rennick released a letter to members announcing the new leadership team for the Association.

The Board confirmed that Doug Miller, CSGA Managing Director, Certification and Technology Services, would be stepping in as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective April 1, 2021. In choosing one of its own Managing Directors, the CSGA Board provides a sense of continuity to the Association while keeping an eye on the future.

Additionally, Caroline Lafontaine, Managing Director, Communications and Client Services, has moved into the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO).

The Board is eager to continue to work with the entire CSGA team, with Doug and Caroline leading the way and are confident the Association is well-positioned to thrive for years to come under their guidance.

Read the full letter here.

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Participate in the 2021 National Survey of Farmer Mental Health

CSGA asks members to participate in the University of Guelph’s National Survey of Farmer Mental Health in Canada.

This confidential survey investigates the relationships between stress, resilience, and coping amongst farmers in Canada. Findings will be compared with data previously collected in the Farmer Stress and Resilience Study from 2015/2016.

The online survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and will be open until May 7, 2021.

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Thank You to Our AGM Sponsors

In advance of the April 14 Annual General Meeting, CSGA would like to thank all of our sponsors.

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Contact Us

CSGA staff are here to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us. Remember the CSGA national office operates in the Eastern Time (ET) zone.

Telephone: (613) 236-0497
Email: communications@seedgrowers.ca
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 8455, Ottawa, Ontario, K1G 3T1
Courier Address: 21 Florence St, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0W6

Click here for complete staff contact information.