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Notice to Registered Seed Establishments, November 2021

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Licensed operators, accredited graders and Seed Import Conformity Assessors (SICAs) at Registered Seed Establishments (RSEs) are asked to review the following information provided by the Seed Section of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Regulatory and policy updates

The seed section has launched consultation activities to engage stakeholders throughout the Seed Regulatory Modernization (SRM) process. Visit: Seed Regulatory Modernization.

July 2021, the seed section has clarified the distinction between microgreens and sprouts seed at the time of import. Learn more at : ABCs of seed importation into Canada.

Effective October 1st, 2021, there are changes to variety registration requirement for coloured beans. The CFIA is removing a temporary exemption. Learn more at: Change to variety registration.

Implementation of annual adjustment CFIA fees. The CFIA started adjusting its fees based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) starting March 31, 2020, and will be on every March 31 going forward. Learn more at: Adjusting services fees for the inflation.


As per the Seed Regulations every operator shall maintain a representative sample to ascertain and grade seed lot for a period of 1 year for Certified status and in the case of Foundation and Registered status seed a period of 2 years after the disposal of the seed for each status.

The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada(AAFC) tag ( AGR 1131) cannot be used since the CFIA is the certification authority.

Seed graded with a Canada pedigree grade name and offered for sale must be labelled with an official seed tag (for any format).

An imported lot of pedigreed seed sold in Canada must have a Canada pedigreed grade name and official seed tag. The assigning of the Canada pedigreed grade name must be done by an accredited GB or GD grader or a recognized foreign (United States) grader and be based on seed testing results. The Canada pedigreed grade name cannot be assigned simply by assumptions based on the official tag of the exporting country.

Schedule I of the Seeds Regulations (the regulations) does not include cannabis species (other than industrial hemp). Nevertheless, cannabis seed must meet the weed seed and other crop seed standards set out in Table IV. There is no germination standard for cannabis (other than industrial hemp).

Several common errors delay the release of imported seed. Ensure that all lot numbers appear on the Import Declaration Form and the Seed Analysis Certificate (SAC); the Seed Analysis Certificate is adequate to assess to Canadian standards; the end use of the seed is clearly stated; and importer's email address is provided. The imported seed lot(s) must remain separate and intact until a Notice of Conformity is received from the Import Conformity Assessment Office (ICA) or completed by an accredited individual.

Canadian seed exporters must correctly use PPQ 925 seed analysis certificates when shipping seed to the United States. While recognized laboratories are responsible for issuing this certificate in accordance with established procedures, exporters are responsible for applying for the certificate and using it correctly.

When importing seed of crop types subject to variety registration ensure that the variety is registered. For a list of crop types subject to variety registration: Schedule III Species, Kinds or Types of crops subject to Variety Registration.

A searchable/downloadable database of varieties registered in Canada is available at: Varieties of Crop Kinds registered in Canada.

Direct any questions to the CFIA by email at

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