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Archived - Updates to the Candidate's Guide to the Seed Grader Evaluation - now re-named as the Guide to the Evaluation of Candidate Seed Graders and Seed Import Conformity Assessors

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March 2014

The Candidate's Guide to the Seed Grader Evaluation has been updated and a new version posted on the CFIA's external website.

The new version of the Guide contains a number of changes to update, streamline and simplify the accreditation of seed graders and Seed Import Conformity Assessment Assessors (SICA) as follows.

A. General Provisions

1. The CFIA will no longer provide copies of the reference documents to the candidate for the open book evaluation. The candidate should bring their own copies of the references to the evaluation.

  1. Previously: The CFIA mailed paper copies of the references to each candidate for use in the evaluation.
  2. Rationale: The expense of distributing paper copies of the references is not justifiable, when the documents can be easily accessed by candidates on the internet and we expect that they should be able to access them to fulfill the duties of an accredited grader. The references are provided during the training. Candidates' copies may include handwritten notes.

2. Group 1 of the Grade Tables is amended to include Table XVIII.

  1. Previously: Group 1 included only Grade Tables I to VI.
  2. Rationale: Grade Table XVIII lists the large seeded crop kinds: beans, chickpeas, sweet corn, popcorn, soybeans, sunflower and safflower. A GB grader is competent to grade these kinds.

3. The former Appendix C(2) Review of Report of Analysis Checklist has been removed.

  1. Previously: This appendix was intended as a tool to review reports of analysis (RoA).
  2. Rationale: Graders do not regularly use this checklist. The evaluations no longer require the candidate to use this form for review of a RoA.

B. GB Grader Definition

4. The definition of GB grader has been clarified to mean a grader who examines a sample of seed, and reviews the germination report, of a crop kind listed in Group 1 of the Grade Tables (Tables I to VI and XVIII) in order to apply a grade name to the seed lot represented by the sample.

  1. Previously: The original intent of the GB designation was to accredit individuals who are competent to obtain samples of large seeded crop kinds only and examine the samples to retrieve, identify, classify and report the contaminants (Seeds Regulations paragraph 13.1(1)(c.1)). Obtaining and examining samples of small-seeded crop kinds requires different technical skills and additional equipment.

    The designation GD grader was added to permit individuals to review the RoA, instead of the seed sample, to assess seed quality. This allowed for competent individuals to be accredited to assign a grade to crop kinds other than large seeded kinds, based only on review of the RoA.

    Paragraph 13.1(1)(c.2) describes assigning the grade name as a separate task. This has been interpreted to apply to both GB and GD graders.

    The designation GB grader has been misinterpreted to apply to accredited seed analysts, who are also accredited as graders for specific crop kinds.

  2. Rationale: The two actions, directly examining a seed sample, and reviewing the RoA, are separate tasks and are intended to be evaluated and accredited separately. The GB grader, as identified in paragraph 13.1(1)(c.1) is accredited only to retrieve, identify, classify and report weed seeds and other impurities. The review of documents, except for the germination results, is not intended to be included in the accreditation of a GB grader.

    The examination of a seed sample and the issuing of a RoA by a seed analyst are functions of the accreditation of the analyst as an analyst but are not encompassed by their accreditation as a grader. There are separate evaluation and accreditation processes, with different oversight and controls for grader and analyst accreditations.

There will be no change to the scope of accreditation of GB Graders who are currently accredited to apply a Canada pedigreed grade name to seed of species other than those included in Group 1 of the Grade Tables.

5. The definition of GD grader has been clarified to mean a grader who reviews Canadian RoAs in order to assign a Canada pedigreed grade name to a seed lot. GD graders will continue to be accredited for specific Groups of the Grade Tables.

  1. Previously: GD Graders have been considered to be individuals who are not seed analysts and who are accredited only to review RoAs in order to assign a grade. This interpretation confuses the roles and responsibilities of the seed analyst and the seed grader.
  2. Rationale: The review of a RoA is a separate action from the examination of the sample. The accreditation of a grader to review the RoA is not contingent upon or connected with their accreditation to examine a sample, either as a GB grader or a seed analyst. This function is evaluated, accredited and overseen separately from other functions of the GB grader or the analyst.

6. The designation GI grader or Seed Import Release Agent (SIRA) has been changed to Seed Import Conformity Assessor or SICA to clarify that the SICA reviews foreign or Canadian RoAs to assess whether a seed lot meets Canadian minimum import standards. The SICA does not assign a grade nor do they make an import release decision. SICA will be accredited for one or more groups of the Grade Tables.

  1. Previously: The designation GI grader implied that the individual is applying a grade to the imported seed however the accreditation is intended only to permit the individual to assess whether the seed meets the minimum standards for import into Canada. Assigning a Canada pedigreed grade name is the responsibility of an accredited GB or GD grader.

    Similarly, the designation Seed Import Release Agent implied that the individual makes a decision to 'release' an import into Canada. Import release is the responsibility of the Canadian Border Services Agency and not the CFIA or the SIRA.

  2. Rationale: The designation Seed Import Conformity Assessor (SICA) correctly identifies that the accreditation permits the individual to assess whether the imported seed meets the minimum standards for import into Canada, and no other actions.

7. There is no longer a special evaluation for GB graders who are seed analysts. Accredited seed analysts will be evaluated and accredited as either GB graders for the examination of samples of crop kinds in Tables I to VI and XVIII or GD graders for the review of RoAs for specified Groups of Grade Tables. Candidates who are seed analysts will be required to pass the CSI written evaluation for GB and GD graders as appropriate.

Seed analysts who are currently accredited as GB graders will retain their current accreditation scope and status.

A seed analyst may be accredited as a GD grader for crop kinds for which they are not accredited as an analyst.

  1. Previously: Seed analysts wishing to be accredited as GB graders were not required to pass the CSI written evaluation as were other candidates, and instead the CFIA prepared and marked a separate written evaluation for this group.
  2. Rationale: There should be no difference in the evaluation and accreditation of an individual whether or not they are a seed analyst. Each candidate must meet the same requirements as any other candidate.

8. Individuals who are currently accredited as GB, GD or GI/SIRA will not be required to be re-evaluated at this time, nor will the scope of their accreditations be changed at this time, except on request by the individual. The CFIA does not anticipate issuing amended Grader certificates at this time.


For more information contact:

Seed Section
Field Crops and Inputs Division
Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate
Policy and Programs Branch
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0Y9

Phone: 613-773-7691
Fax: 613-773-7144

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