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Archived - What we heard report: Consultation on the seed regulatory modernization needs assessment survey for seeds and seed potatoes

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Introduction

As part of the seed regulatory modernization (SEED-RM) process, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is planning to review and update the following sections of the Seeds Regulations:

  • Part I: Seeds other than seed potatoes
  • Part II: Seed potatoes
  • Part III: Variety registration
  • Part IV: Registration of establishments that prepare seed and licensing of operators.

This report summarizes the feedback received on the needs assessment survey on Seed-RM.

About the consultation

The CFIA consulted on the needs assessment survey for SEED-RM to inform potential changes to the Seeds Regulations. The consultation was divided into 5 seed specific and 10 seed potato specific topics through an online survey from January 28 to March 15, 2021. Those topics included:

Seeds

  • Labelling
  • Grade table and seed standards
  • Imports
  • Variety registration
  • Alternative service delivery

Seed Potato

  • End use and sourcing
  • Sales within Canada and export
  • Seed potato classification system
  • Nuclear stock
  • Registration system
  • Garden varieties
  • Tuber grade standards
  • Bacterial ring rot
  • Application and conditions for crop inspection
  • True (botanical) potato seed

The objective of the consultation was to establish a baseline understanding of seed and seed potato stakeholder needs to provide important perspective to the process.

Who we heard from

The CFIA received feedback from 709 respondents for seed-specific topics and from 179 respondents for seed potato-specific topics.

Respondents for seed included:

  • Seed growers
  • Seed conditioners, seed companies, seed testing labs
  • Farmers/producers, Farmer/producer organizations, General farm organizations
  • Private and public plant breeders
  • Non-government organizations, general public
  • Commodity associations (national and provincial)
  • Governments (federal, provincial, municipal)
  • Grain industry, food processors
  • Academia

Seed potato respondents:

  • Seed potato producers
  • Seed growers and seed companies
  • Non-seed potato producers
  • Farmers/producers, farmer/producer organizations, general farm organizations
  • Private and public plant breeders
  • Non-government organizations, general public
  • Government (federal and provincial), United States government
  • Potato brokers, potato packers
  • Potato producer organizations
  • Feed processors
  • Academia

What we heard

Stakeholders provided valuable perspectives and information to establish a baseline understanding of stakeholder needs to inform SEED-RM. A high-level summary of the results is provided below. Overall, respondents indicated they were generally satisfied with the Seeds Regulations while supporting some changes that would improve the existing regulations. This includes support for:

  • Accessing information about seed lots using digital technology in addition to information on the seed label
  • Continuing to label seed with a seed grade name
  • Potentially including test results on the seed label
  • Modernizing the Seeds Regulations to include heritage varieties and alternate bred varieties
  • Reviewing the current variety cancellation/deregistration process
  • Adding Elite I and Certified to classes of seed potatoes to be tested for bacterial ring rot

Elements supported

  • Keeping standards for noxious weeds, other weeds, other crop kinds, disease and germination for the sale of seed in Canada
  • Requiring seed lot information to be on the label and accessible via digital technology
  • Continuing to label seed with grade names
  • Reviewing the current process of deregistration of varieties
  • Requiring crop kinds that are not subject to variety registration but are subject to eligibility for certification prior to pedigreed seed production, to be consistently evaluated on the minimum set of requirements used for variety registration
  • Adding heritage varieties and alternate bred varieties in the Seeds Regulations
  • Maintaining current grade standards to guarantee seed potato quality

Elements not supported

  • Eliminating the grade tables
  • Adding other quality standards to the Seeds Regulations
  • Only allowing low-germination seed to be imported for research purposes
  • Removing crop-specific labelling requirements
  • Eliminating grade names for common seed
  • Having industry be responsible for setting the purity and germination standards
  • Changing tolerances for viruses, wilt and varietal mixtures for the various classes of seed potatoes
  • Reducing the time requirements for planting into fields where bacterial ring rot has been identified

Elements for further exploration

  • Having government prescribe crop-specific labelling requirements
  • Labelling seed with the grade name and test results
  • Allowing farmers to import low-germination seed
  • Having the CFIA set the minimum purity and germination standards for seed to be imported or sold in Canada and industry set higher voluntary standards (for marketing or other purposes)
  • Having all crop kinds be subject to variety registration
  • Exploring additional alternative service delivery arrangements with industry
  • Modernizing the Seeds Regulations to facilitate export of seed potatoes
  • Streamlining the seed potato variety registration process
  • Renaming seed potato classes to align with field generations
  • Changing tolerances for blackleg for the various classes of seed potatoes
  • Noting generation and format of nuclear stock potatoes on certification documents
  • Continuing to exempt seed potato garden varieties from registration
  • Reviewing the seed potato tuber grade standards
  • Improving the requirements to control bacterial ring rot
  • Improving the requirements for the application and conditions for crop inspection
  • Introducing true potato seed into the Canadian Seed Potato Certification System

CFIA received 320 responses suggesting improvements in the planned amendments of Parts I, II, III and IV of the Seeds Regulations. Common responses for consideration during SEED-RM included:

  • ensuring traceability of seed sold
  • streamlining processes/ become more adaptable
  • supporting the saving of seed
  • labelling improvements

Other feedback

Feedback outside the scope of Seed-RM was forwarded to the responsible CFIA branch or government department. Examples include comments about:

  • royalties
  • public breeding
  • invasive species
  • plant health
  • organic production
  • feed

Next steps

The CFIA thanks everyone who participated in the consultation process. The CFIA and the SEED-RM Working Group (WG) will consider all input when collaborating to co-develop proposed options for amending the Seeds Regulations. The CFIA anticipates to consult on proposed options before publishing the amendments in Canada Gazette, Part I.