CSGA’s Positions

Seed Regulatory Modernization

Seed Regulatory Modernization (SRM) is a comprehensive review of the Seeds Regulations designed to make the Canadian seed certification system more efficient, nimble, and easier to use. 

As the trusted delegated authority for seed crop certification, the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) is proud to be part of this critical modernization. The entire Canadian agri-food sector depends on a reliable supply of high-quality, identity-assured seed. The Seed Regulatory Modernization process will lay the foundation for a strong Canadian seed system for years to come—we need to get it right!

On this page, you will find everything you need to know to better understand the process, CSGA’s positions, recommendations, and how to participate in this once-in-a-generation opportunity!

Stay informed on Seed Regulatory Modernization!

We want to ensure that key stakeholders like you are engaged in this next-generation seed system. SRM is the opportunity for us to renew the seed certification system for the betterment of the entire Canadian agriculture sector.

Strong Foundation. Bright Future.

For over 119 years, CSGA has been trusted as the delegated authority under the federal Seeds Act and the Seed Regulations to manage all seed crop certification and standard-setting functions on behalf of government. Our processes are agile, transparent and accessible and involve broad stakeholder engagement, improving the user’s system experience. 

It’s all about ensuring Canada’s food is safe, our agriculture supply chain is secure, and farmers have the utmost confidence in the seed they purchase and plant. 

CSGA administers one of the world’s largest seed crop certification systems, certifying over 1.2 million acres annually of over sixty different crop kinds. We set seed crop standards and certify seed crops with the guidance of strong grassroots representation from a board of seed grower directors, government advisors, provincial branches and seed sector experts, and our open and transparent public consultations. We are a respected, science-based, global leader, supporting innovation, new technologies, and the growth of the Canadian seed sector.

In the SRM Task Team final reports (see “Understanding SRM” below), we saw strong alignment with our views, including:

recognition for the important role CSGA plays in a modern seed system and the importance of a national approach instead of a patchwork of regulation.

recognition of the importance of a national variety registration system that provides unbiased recognition of the identity of a variety.

agreement that seed quality standards could be improved and that incorporation by reference would support timely revisions and Information Technology improvements.

We see strong alignment between the SRM Task Team recommendations and CSGA’s vision for a modern seed system—reinforcing the existing trust and relationship between CSGA and government.

As an organization, we partner with the government to provide a public good for all Canadians.

CSGA’s Positions on SRM

When we look to the future, we see a seed certification process that is streamlined, efficient, and transparent—the core difference is HOW the system is administered. That is, with CSGA serving as the national designated authority to manage all functions of seed certification on behalf of government under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) oversight.

Our mission is to advance the seed sector and, with our partners, deliver and promote a flexible, responsive, and cost-effective seed certification system supporting Canadian agriculture.

Seed regulation isn’t just about quality; it’s about trust in that quality.

Four Key Recommendations

At CSGA, our vision for the future is based on trust—that Canadian producers have trust and confidence in the seed they’re planting. We need a modern seed system that adapts quickly to change, creates a level playing field for all stakeholders, can deliver new technology, and is transparent and science-based. 

Through in-depth discussions with seed growers, plant breeders, provincial advisors, and company representatives, we have developed four key SRM policy recommendations.

Seed certification in Canada relies on a longstanding public-private partnership between the CFIA and CSGA, enabled by CSGA’s delegated authority under the Seeds Act and Seed Regulations. As the sector works together to modernize our seed system, we need to prioritize a simpler certification process that comes from rethinking the division of responsibility between the CFIA and CSGA to consolidate and streamline our current multi-layered, complicated system.

Currently, the CFIA is responsible for the certification of Foundation, Registered, and Certified seed, while CSGA is responsible for certifying Breeder and Select seed. This model creates inefficiencies and information gaps. CSGA is the most effective and efficient body to deliver these services for all seed classes on behalf of the sector.

The CFIA needs to be the ultimate authority and provide oversight of seed certification as government oversight provides buyer assurances, international confidence in Canada’s seed and crop systems, and increased consumer trust in plant breeding innovation.

CSGA has steadily moved towards digitalization of services for many years, and as the sector works together to modernize our seed system, there is a tremendous opportunity to expand the SeedCert platform to further address the remaining time-consuming or redundant analog processes and break down data silos.

CSGA supports a national variety recognition system that is flexible and meets the needs of modern agriculture. The formal recognition of the identity of a variety is a prerequisite for seed certification; however, running two parallel processes – the CFIA’s Variety Registration process for some crop kinds and CSGA’s Variety Certification Eligibility process for other crop kinds–creates an inefficient, fragmented system.

CSGA standards are developed by the seed sector for the seed sector. Our current process leverages multi-stakeholder participation with ALL stakeholder groups at the standards development table. As CSGA aspires to become the main administrator of Canada’s seed certification system, we want to do more by creating a Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee to inform policy. We need a continued inclusive and service-oriented approach to ensure all relevant stakeholders are engaged in both standards development and the planning of a next-generation seed certification system.

We invite you to download any or all of these papers and explore more resources below.

Our recommendations for seed regulatory reform and why they are important.


In some cases, the recommendations represent change; in others, they maintain essential aspects of today’s system.

What a successful future for Canada’s seed sector looks like:

Innovative and Inclusive

Sector-led and government-enabled to prioritize stakeholders and reduce the gap between the sector’s needs and execution.

Efficient and Sustainable

A digital end-to-end single window for a cost-effective and agile certification process for all stakeholders that encourages innovation.

Trusted and Transparent

Transparent by default in both certification and consultation by upholding Variety Registration and broader engagement with a Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

How the SRM Process Works

The CFIA is taking a co-development approach to the SRM review, bringing together the seed sector, stakeholders, and end-users to envision a next-generation seed system. CSGA, our regional Branches and many seed growers have also played a significant role in the SRM process.

Under the authority of the Seeds Act, the Seed Regulations regulate seeds in Canada that are sold, imported, or exported and those that are released into the environment. Seeds must meet established standards for quality and be labelled so that they are properly represented in the marketplace.

Through this full-scale review, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is exploring:

the fundamental role of government

effective organization and utilization of public and private sector resources

the opportunity to incorporate documents by reference

The overall goal of the SRM process is to:

reduce administrative burden

add flexibility

reduce complexity

improve consistency

strengthen consumer protection

The Seed Working Group (WG) follows three main principles to guide discussions around SRM.

Agility

Regulations are agile, subject to continuous improvement, simple to understand, and flexible.

Fairness

Regulations support a transparent, diverse, resilient seed system.

Rationality

Regulations that protect and advance the public interest are justified by a clear rationale.

The WG is supported by several task teams that meet to discuss topics in-depth and make recommendations to the CFIA and the WG. Each task team comprises producer, commodity/value chain and seed industry stakeholder member representation.

Understanding SRM​

Canada’s seed regulatory framework is complex and sometimes confusing. Now is the time to dig in and talk with colleagues about what a modern seed system for Canada looks like. What is working? What isn’t? It is important to remember that a robust and resilient seed system is essential to all Canadians.

Note: CSGA is reproducing CFIA material without affiliation or endorsement from the Government of Canada. All CFIA documents are protected by Crown Copyright.

CSGA’s Complete SRM Q&A Framing Document

How CSGA is responding and why to the CFIA’s Mar 2023 Pre-Consultation Survey

The CFIA’s “What We Heard” Report, Winter 2021

2021 Consultation on SRM needs assessment survey

Seed Task Team Final Reports

Seed Certification Task Team

Recognizes the important role CSGA plays in a modern seed system and the importance of a national approach instead of a patchwork of regulation.

Variety Registration Task Team

Recognizes the importance of a national variety registration system that provides unbiased recognition of the identity of a variety.

Seed Standards Task Team

Agreed that seed quality standards could be improved and that incorporation by reference would support timely revisions and Information Technology improvements.

Get Involved!

The SRM process is your opportunity to make a difference and contribute to the future of the Canadian seed sector. Your participation helps bring transparency, trust, and diverse perspectives to the SRM process.

Participate

Participate in any of the CFIA’s open SRM consultations. Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard!

Volunteer

Volunteer on an upcoming CFIA SRM Task—let us know if you are interested!

Sign up

Want to stay in the know? Sign up for our e-Newsletter for all CSGA SRM updates. 

Contact Us

We’re always available to help you with any questions or discussions on our SRM positions.

Thank You for Supporting CSGA’s Vision for a Stronger, Modern Canadian Seed System.