The Canadian Seed Growers Association held a Special General Meeting of Members on November 20, 2019 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The purpose of the meeting was to seek member feedback on proposed modernization initiatives as well as related resourcing strategies, including potential temporary fee increases. Three resolutions were presented, debated and passed by the members in attendance at the meeting. They included:
1. A resolution of support for the policy objectives outlined in the Seed Synergy White Paper, including the creation of a new National Seed Organization (NSO).
2. A resolution of support for changes to the CSGA’s membership structure that would create separate classes for businesses and individuals.
3. A resolution of support for temporary fee increases that would generate up to $1,000,000.00 in additional revenue for CSGA in the 2020-2021 fiscal year, split between modernization and pension plan investments.
As a result of the passage of the resolutions and the feedback received from the members present, the CSGA Board of the Directors has elected to proceed with temporary fee increases for the 2020-21 fiscal year ending January 30th, 2021.
Based upon preliminary budget estimates, $600,000 in additional revenue would allow the CSGA to continue its current high level of effort in support of the Seed Synergy White Paper priorities, without having to draw as heavily on reserves as it will likely need to in 2019-20. An important consideration in setting this lower target, is the health of the CSGA defined benefit pension plan and the absence of any clear evidence that a major cash infusion of the type proposed is necessary. Should a new National
Seed Organization assume responsibility for the CSGA’s legacy defined benefit plan, it would likely receive the same advice from pension plan experts as CSGA is receiving now (i.e. hold the current course).
The attached schedule outlines the planned temporary fee increases by fee category. The planned increases are designed to ensure an equitable distribution of costs among those benefitting from CSGA work.
The guiding principles applied in formulating the fee increase proposal were:
1. Encourage membership retention and growth.
2. Distribute increases primarily across acreage and other service fees
3. Factor in ability to pay
4. Factor in the cost of providing the service
Incremental funds will be applied to three Seed Synergy White Paper priority areas, with emphasis on priorities 2 and 3.
The areas are:
1. CSGA Seed Certification System Modernization and Capacity Building
2. Analysis, Option Development and Input into CFIA Seed Regulatory Modernization
3. Institutional Modernization/National Seed Organization
While the CSGA Board has elected not to move forward with the membership structure changes proposed in Resolution 2 at this time, it is proposing adjustments to the membership fee schedule that would, if implemented, reinstate the model in place prior to 2004. This model, if implemented, would provide the second and subsequent members on an CSGA enterprise account with a fee reduction.
The CSGA Board of Directors is seeking feedback on these proposed fees. Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, January 29th.