Seed Regulatory Modernization

CSGA’s Vision for the Canadian Seed System

Seed Regulatory Modernization (SRM) is happening now, with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) undertaking a full-scale review of the Seeds Regulations, excluding Part V.

It is a comprehensive review of the Seeds Regulations designed to make the system simpler, easier to use, and more aligned with modern practices, and strengthen consumer protection. This project will lay the foundation for a strong Canadian seed system for years to come.

Seed sector stakeholders are working together in task teams with the CFIA to define the first draft of options for change. In the winter of 2021-2022, the CFIA will reach out to all sector stakeholders for their input on those options.

This is our opportunity to put forward a vision for smarter, better regulations that add value and promote competition, revitalizing the public-private partnership and allowing CSGA to play an even greater role.

SRM Policy Position Paper: CSGA Recommendations for Change

CSGA’s full SRM policy position paper outlines CSGA’s 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.

Through in-depth discussions on regulatory modernization with seed growers, plant breeders, provincial advisors, and company representatives, a series of CSGA recommendations have been developed that focus on:

  • Industry leadership and a renewed partnership with government
    • The CFIA should continue to be ultimately responsible for the seed certification program.
    • The CSGA’s delegated authority should be expanded to include certification of Foundation, Registered and Certified seed.
    • The Seeds Regulations should recognize CSGA to establish technical requirements for seed certification in Canada.
  • Digitalized services
    • The seed certification system should be digital end-to-end to facilitate single-window access to seed regulatory services.
  • Varieties
    • Variety registration should be maintained, and the CFIA should continue to be responsible.
    • Schedule III to the Seeds Regulations should be incorporated by reference and updated, with the CFIA as the responsible authority.
    • The current requirements concerning the use of variety names should continue.
    • The CSGA should administer the Variety Profile Platform in support of enhanced transparency for the agri-food system.
  • Seed Quality Assurance
    • Part IV of the Seeds Regulations should be incorporated by reference.
    • Common seed of cereals, pulses, and oilseeds should be subject to strengthened regulation and meet minimum standards for purity and germination.
    • Common seed of small-seeded agricultural crop kinds should be sampled, tested, and graded by people authorized to do so, as currently done for pedigreed seed.
  • CFIA Commitments
    • The CFIA should increase its investment in science support for the Seed Program, commit to continued engagement in international standards development organizations, and commit to succession planning to ensure that appropriate and adequate human resources are available.

The Policy Paper provides a detailed rationale for each recommendation.

These ideas are part of the CSGA 2.0 Business Plan which outlines the Association’s vision for the future of the seed system which depends on a reliable supply of high-quality, identity-assured seed.

CSGA’s mission is to advance the seed sector and, with its partners, deliver and promote a flexible, responsive, and cost-effective seed certification system supporting Canadian agriculture. However, Canada’s seed regulatory framework is complex and sometimes not well understood. Now is the time to 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.

Please do not hesitate to contact CSGA via email or at (613) 236-0497 with any questions or concerns.