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Seed regulatory modernization

The scope of seed regulatory modernization (SEED-RM) will focus on seeds other than seed potato, seed potatoes, variety registration and registered establishments that prepare seed and licensing of operators of the Seeds Regulations. Refer to section 2.1 on this page for information on different initiatives outside the scope of SEED-RM.

On this page

1. Why we have the Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for administering and enforcing the Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations. The main purpose of the Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations is to protect producers and consumers from misrepresentation, prevent the use of low quality seed and to create a level playing field for companies and individuals involved in seed production.

2. Purpose of seed regulatory modernization

The Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations have undergone periodic amendments and modernizations since the first laws were established in 1905. The CFIA is committed to a full-scale review of the following parts of the Seeds Regulations:

During this initiative, the CFIA is looking to update the Seeds Regulations to:

Further information on Canada's current seed regulatory framework is available and based on 3 separate reports prepared by Synthesis Agri-Food Network developed under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) Value Chain Roundtables to support the seed regulatory modernization process:

See the CFIA's Forward Regulatory Plan for anticipated timelines for publication in Canada Gazette.

2.1 Other seed initiatives

These initiatives are outside of the scope of the SEED-RM full-scale review of Parts I, II, III and IV in the Seeds Regulations.

Value creation: The CFIA in cooperation with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, conducted joint consultations with the grains sector on royalty collection models, enabled by Plant Breeders' Rights, to stimulate greater investment and competitiveness in cereal breeding.

Plant breeding innovation: The CFIA is continuously working to provide additional clarity on the regulatory approach to plant breeding innovations and adapt to advances in technology. In May of 2023, the CFIA updated guidance for determining whether seed is novel. Similarly, in 2022 Health Canada updated its guidance for novel foods derived through plant breeding innovations. The CFIA's work to update guidance for novel feeds is ongoing. Together with AAFC and Health Canada, the CFIA is working with stakeholder groups to implement transparency initiatives that will support the competitiveness of Canada's agri-food sector.

2.2 Potato and seed requirements

The requirements for seed and seed potatoes that are established under the Plant Protection Act and Plant Protection Regulations are outside the scope of SEED-RM. Examples of these include: phytosanitary requirements for the export, import and domestic movement of seeds and seed potatoes to prevent the introduction and spread of regulated pests, etc.

Ministerial exemptions for potatoes (excluding seeds) are covered by the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations under the Safe Food for Canadians Act and are outside the scope of SEED-RM.

3. Seed regulatory modernization working groups

The purpose of the SEED-RM working groups under the AAFC's Value Chain Roundtables is to provide a collaborative approach where government and impacted seed/seed potato stakeholders collaborate in the co-development of proposed options to provide recommendations to the CFIA for amending the Seeds Regulations.

Working group members include:

There are 2 separate SEED-RM working groups that have been established during the SEED-RM process to cover Parts I, II, III, IV of the Seeds Regulations:

3.1 Seed working group

The seed regulatory modernization working group (SEED-RM WG) was established to collaborate with the CFIA on Parts I, III, IV of the Seeds Regulations during the SEED-RM process.

The SEED-RM WG has developed the following 3 main principles to guide discussions:

Regulations are agile, subject to continuous improvement, simple to understand, and flexible, when needed, enabling compliance of the regulated community and the protection and advancement of the public interest.
Regulations that are widely accepted as fair, and support a transparent, diverse, and resilient seed system that provides quality assured seed for agricultural and other stakeholders.
Regulations that protect and advance the public interest, justified by a clear rationale in terms of protecting the health, livelihoods, safety, security, social and economic well-being of Canadians and the environment.

The SEED-RM WG is supported by the work of task teams which meet to discuss topics in-depth and make recommendations to the CFIA and the SEED-RM WG.

3.1.1 Seed task teams

Seed task teams are sub-groups informing the CFIA and the SEED-RM WG during seed regulatory modernization on all seed topics. The SEED-RM WG provided input on the number of task teams and specific task team topics. Seed task teams have balanced producer, commodity/value chain and seed industry stakeholder member representation and are responsible for conducting an in-depth review of specific topics. The seed task teams are: Seed task team final reports

As the seed task teams complete reports summarizing their recommendations, executive summaries will be posted here. Final reports are available upon request by e-mailing

3.2 Seed potato working group

The seed potato regulatory modernization working group (SEED-RM PWG) was established to collaborate with the CFIA on Part II and seed potato specific sections of Part III of the Seeds Regulations during the SEED-RM process.

The SEED-RM PWG is supported by the work of task teams which meet to discuss topics in depth and make recommendations to the CFIA and the SEED-RM PWG.

3.2.1 Seed potato task teams

The seed potato task teams are:

4. Consultation and engagement activities

The CFIA is planning consultation activities to engage stakeholders throughout the seed regulatory modernization process. The information collected will provide insight for the CFIA while updating the Seeds Regulations.

The CFIA encourages all stakeholders to participate in these consultations to provide feedback during SEED-RM.

There have been a number of engagement and consultation activities to date during the SEED-RM process.

4.1 Joint consultation and engagement activities for seed and seed potato

In addition to engagement stakeholders in the working groups and task teams, the key joint seed and seed potato SEED-RM activities to date include:

4.1.1 Needs assessment survey

The needs assessment survey was the first consultation early in the SEED-RM process for both seed and seed potato. The information collected established a baseline understanding of stakeholder needs. This survey provided insight from stakeholders on the following questions:

The "what we heard report" on the needs assessment survey is available on the CFIA completed consultations page.

4.2 Consultation and engagement activities for seed

The key SEED-RM activities to date for seed:

The next steps and target dates for key SEED-RM activities for seed:

4.2.1 Winter 2023 SEED-RM consultation and update for seed crops

The winter 2023 SEED-RM consultation and update for seed crops was the first update and consultation based on the recommendations from the following seed task teams final reports:

The consultation provided an update to stakeholders on discussions to date and provided an opportunity to obtain stakeholder feedback on their level of support for certain task team recommendations. Stakeholder feedback was collected on the following seed regulatory life cycle stages:

The "what we heard report" on the winter 2023 SEED-RM consultation and update for seed crops is available on the CFIA completed consultations page.

A future consultation will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to provide their feedback on other seed regulatory lifecycle stages and on any overlapping or outstanding task team topic recommendations, including stages:

4.3 Consultation and engagement activities for seed potato

The CFIA attended the Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada's annual general meeting in March 2023 and the Canadian Potato Council meeting in July 2023 providing progress updates from ongoing task teams and discussing next steps related to consultations and opportunities to review and comment on proposed regulations published in Part I of the Canada Gazette before they become official. Several in-person national and regional meetings with the Canadian potato sector throughout 2023 and 2024 are planned as the SEED-RM process advances. Task team recommendations for variety registration, grading, and traceability are expected by winter 2023. The remainder of the task teams (lab testing and testing requirements, import/ export, field inspection, and movement) will commence in winter 2023 and extend into 2024. The CFIA will be seeking comments from a wide cross-section of stakeholders including producers and industry associations, seed potato growers and breeders, the general public, provincial/territorial governments and First Nations.

5. Additional resources


Seed potato


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