July 26, 2023

Summary of CSGA's Annual General Meeting

Thank you to all who attended our first in-person Annual General Meeting in three years! This marked our 119th AGM, with President Dale Connell welcoming a sold-out crowd of over 160 registrants across our various programs. It was an excellent opportunity to build relationships, strengthen our networks, and come together from coast to coast to discuss seed and our sector’s future.

Delegates and their families kicked things off with a great Saturday afternoon of whale and puffin watching or a fun game of golf.

Sunday morning, companions and kids were off on their full-day adventures. At the same time, delegates were welcomed to the AGM via video by The Honorable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in Canada.

In her welcome message, the Minister said, “The seed crop certification process fosters trust, traceability and transparency in Canadian seeds, here in Canada and around the world.” She added, “I want to thank CSGA for partnering with our government to ensure that Canada’s food is safe and sustainable, that our agricultural supply chain is secure and that our farmers have maximum confidence in the seed they purchase and plant.” On the Seed Regulatory Modernization process, the Minister said, “We appreciate CSGA’s active participation and willingness to listen to the different levels of the value chain.”

Executive Director Doug Miller then presented his report, including an overview of 2022, our priorities and progress to date, and spoke to various CSGA Outreach Activities. You can find more information in our Annual Report.

Doug then moved to the Financial Report and the progress on the CSGA 2.0 goals, specifically:

  • Sustainable Budgets and Operating Efficiency​
  • New Fee Schedule to Sustain Operations​
  • Building Alternative Funding Streams

Vice President Glenn Logan presented responses to the 2022 member resolutions and the election of the Board of Directors (see Article 4.) With no member proposals received for the 2023 AGM, the AGM portion of the day was adjourned.

Chief Operating Officer Caroline Lafontaine proudly presented the soft launch of the “This is Canadian Certified Seed” campaign, aimed to show farmers and end users why they should #ChooseCertifiedSeed for the highest quality, identity-assured, third-party verified seed to set them up for success. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting promotion campaign!

After a closed member-to-member session, Keynote speaker Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, known as the Food Professor, took to the stage for an engaging talk navigating the future in Agri-Food​ and how important it is to promote Certified seed to consumers.

On Monday, delegates heard from Dr. Mohsen Yoosefzadeh Najafabadi (University of Guelph) on how Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are used in plant breeding. Then SGS Canada’s Holly Gelech discussed how computer vision can be used in seed testing.

Following the closed member-to-member session, CFIA’s Wendy Jahn presented an update on Seed Regulatory Modernization, including the drivers for change, the co-development approach, a look at the Task Teams and what they’ve heard so far.

Monday’s meetings closed with a fantastic fireside chat session with young growers. Thank you to Jake Ayre, Amanda Ellis, and Craig Rickard for sharing your unique perspectives on the future of seed production.

Our Gala Awards Luncheon was the perfect way to end our Newfoundland adventure. The hotel’s garden atrium provided a lush backdrop as we lifted our glasses in honour of this year’s recipients. Read more about our recipients in Article 5. We are happy to share some AGM and Gala photos for viewing. Please contact the office via email if you wish to request a specific picture.

The “Let’s Talk SRM!” presentation by Doug Miller and the Seed Certification Around the Globe panel are highlighted below.

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“Let’s Talk SRM!”

Doug Miller spoke to delegates about CSGA’s vision for what a successful seed sector in Canada looks like.

  • Innovative + Inclusive: Sector-led and government-enabled to prioritize stakeholders & reduce the gap between the sector’s needs and execution.​
  • Efficient + Sustainable: A digital end-to-end single window for a cost-effective and agile certification process for all stakeholders that encourages innovation.​
  • Trusted + Transparent: Transparent by default in both certification and consultation by upholding Variety Registration and broader engagement with Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee.​

He highlighted how CSGA is proud of its track record as a reliable regulatory partner and that we want to do more on behalf of Canadian agriculture. He outlined that CSGA can have the biggest positive impact by providing a digital single window for the sector and CSGA becoming the main point of contact for industry and government on seed certification.​

Doug spoke about how a Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee would be an efficient and effective way to ensure that future policies, operations, and CFIA-developed standards continue to be well-balanced and reflect the diverse perspectives of all stakeholders in the seed sector. He closed his presentation ​by saying that CSGA has been and will continue to be active within the SRM-Working Group and Task Team framework and that we are encouraged by the broad stakeholder representation and participation within this SRM framework and look forward to seeing the task teams’ final reports.  ​ 


Click the image to listen to Doug’s presentation. A PDF version of the slide presentation is available here.

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Seed Certification Around the Globe

In the Seed Certification Around the Globe panel session, moderated by our Executive Director, Doug Miller, Sarah Wilbanks, AOSCA’s CEO and Csaba Gaspar, the OECD Seed Schemes’ Programme Manager, shared their perspectives on how global seed certification systems are evolving.

Sarah spoke about how AOSCA sets minimum crop standards for their 45 member agencies to abide by and use in their own systems. These standards are reviewed annually and cross-referenced to sector trends for relevance. She also spoke to the fact that AOSCA does with respect to their National Variety Review Board – and the number of ways a variety can be brought into the system in the USA. 

Csaba spoke about OECD’s 60-year history as an international seed certification program established after WWII. Over the years, the program expanded to include other countries and now has 62 member EU/WTO countries. OECD sets the harmonized seed crop standards internationally that member countries adopt and follow – giving it much impact across the world in the seed trade. This means any member country can adopt the criteria of another member country. They work closely with the International Seed Federation and regional seed agencies.

The panel discussion delved into how these seed crop standards will need to be developed for the future and how technology like genetic testing, seed innovation and digital processes will continue to impact the seed sector. Both Sarah and Csaba also took numerous questions from the delegation.


Click the image to listen to the complete panel discussion. We also invite you to read the Germination Magazine article here

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Your New CSGA Board of Directors - Welcome!

On Sunday, July 9, members at the AGM elected the Association’s Board of Directors. We are pleased to present and welcome CSGA’s new 2023-2024 Board of Directors!

Your Executive Committee

  • President: Dale Connell
  • Vice President: Glenn Logan
  • Second Vice President: Shannon Bieman
  • Provincial Ministry Representative: Peter Scott
  • Past President: Joe Rennick

Your Directors

Nominated by each CSGA Branch and elected by members at the AGM.

  • Alberta-British Columbia: Glenn Logan and Chelsea Tomlinson
  • Saskatchewan: Roy Klym and Laurie Wakefield
  • Manitoba: Andrew Ayre and Ryan Murray
  • Ontario: Shannon Bieman and Carl Bolton
  • Quebec: Marc-Antoine Paquet and Richard Brault
  • Maritimes: Jonathan Nyborg

Your Provincial Advisors

Appointed by their respective provincial Minister of Agriculture

  • British Columbia: Brenna Schilds
  • Alberta: Krista deMilliano
  • Manitoba: Chami Amarasinghe
  • Saskatchewan: Sara Tetland 
  • Ontario: Joanna Follings 
  • Quebec: Damien Chaput
  • New Brunswick: Peter Scott 
  • Nova Scotia: Amy Sangster
  • Prince Edward Island: Steve Hamill 

Their skills and experience are an asset to our Board and membership as we work toward the continued success of our Association and realize our vision for the future.

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Many Honoured at AGM Gala Luncheon

The AGM Gala Luncheon was held in the Sheraton’s beautiful garden atrium. With over 130 people in attendance, it was wonderful to present the 2023 CSGA awards in person.

Dave MacKellar and his wife, Annette, of Ontario, accept his Robertson Associate Award.
Board member Jean Dumont accepts the Robertson Associate Award on behalf of Martin Provencher of Québec.
Heather McBey and her husband, Bragi, of Manitoba, accept her CSGA Honorary Life Award.
Glyn Chancey and his wife, Lise, of Ontario, accept his CSGA Honorary Life Award.

Congratulations, and thank you for your contributions! We invite you to read more about each recipient here.

We were also fortunate to welcome in person and acknowledge previous award recipients Joe Hickson, Peter Szentimrey, Chris Ens, and Rick Rutherford.

Jennifer Seward, a 2020 Honorary Life Award recipient, was lauded for 20 years as Executive Director of the Manitoba Seed Growers’ Association. She is pictured here with MSGA President Tom Greaves.
While unable to join the luncheon in person, Roxanne Asselin, who is retiring from the CSGA Board of Directors, received her award earlier in the day.

Congratulations, and thank you for all you have done for our Association and the betterment of the seed sector and Canadian Agriculture.

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Thank You to Our AGM Sponsors

After three years of virtual-based meetings, we were very excited to be back in person. And we could not have chosen a more beautiful and welcoming location than St. John’s, NL. But it takes much more to put on a great event. The support of our AGM sponsors is the foundation for the success and enjoyability of our AGM. This annual meeting really can’t happen without them!

Our sincerest thanks to:

  • SeCan – Everyone had a blast at Sunday night’s Rally in the Alley
  • Corteva Canada – The Gala Awards Luncheon was top notch
  • The Crop Development Centre – Everyone looked smashing in their AGM lanyards
  • Canterra Seeds – the hotel key cards were so cool
  • AgCall Crop Inspect – Sunday’s lunch was delicious
  • SGS Canada – Sunday’s breakfast got us all off on the right foot
  • Syngenta, 20/20 Seed Labs, and Farm Credit Canada – those coffee breaks were much-needed
  • Germination/SeedWorld – Fantastic interviews in your cool media booth
  • Prograin and Alliance Seed – your general support of the AGM is greatly appreciated

Details on each of our wonderful sponsors are found here, then click their logos.

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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
Address: 21 Florence St, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0W6
Click here for complete staff contact information.