Language selection


Procedures for the registration of crop varieties in Canada
Section B - Application procedures

1. General

  1. Applications and supporting documents submitted must be in 1 of Canada's official languages (English or French)

    Translations must accompany all documents that are in a language other than English or French.

  2. Appendix I lists the crop kinds for which variety registration applies.
  3. All required fees must accompany applications.

2. How to apply

My CFIA will time out after a period of inactivity. On the Description of Variety page, a scrolling save button has been implemented. Save your work often to avoid loss of information.

Applications for the registration of varieties are to be submitted in 1 of the following ways.

  1. Using the My CFIA application (highly preferred)
    • This application method combines the application form, fee form, and description of variety form, and is optimized to include all additional information as required for each type of registration
    • Legal reference sample will still need to be shipped to the Variety Registration Office.
  2. Using the variety registration application form and sending it to us by email or mail:

    Variety Registration Office
    c/o Pre-market Application Submissions Office
    Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    59 Camelot Drive
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K2G 5X4

    Telephone: 1-855-212-7695
    Fax: 613-773-7115

  3. applications for variety registration must be submitted separately from applications for Plant Breeders' Rights
  4. applications are processed on a first come, first served basis
  5. in the event 2 applications are received by the Variety Registration Office that, based on all available information, appear to be identical varieties, preference will be given to registering the variety with the first complete application, and having an acceptable legal reference seed sample submitted (see also section B. 5.1)

    Where the 2 applications (identical varieties) are submitted by the same applicant, the applicant will be given the option to select 1 variety for registration. The registration of the second variety will be held pending resolution of the varietal distinguishability issue.

    In the event that 2 applications are received for 2 different varieties of the same crop kind with the identical or very similar proposed variety name, preference will be given to the variety with the first complete application (including fees and legal reference sample).

  6. in order to facilitate the evaluation process, applications should be submitted as far as possible in advance of the desired period of sale or importation for sale.

    The time required to process complete and accurate applications varies depending on the extent of review required, how complete the applications are and the number of applications pending at any 1 time. Please allow 2 weeks for the completion of the preliminary review, when a check is done on the acceptability of the legal reference seed sample and required documentation. (A more rapid response may be possible if a facsimile number and/or email address is provided). Allow up to an additional 4 weeks for the detailed review of applications. (Crop kinds included in part III may have reduced review time.) After receipt of all required information, a registration decision can normally be made and registration documentation completed within 2 weeks.

    For plants with novel traits (PNTs), an assessment of the food, feed and environmental safety of the variety by the Food Directorate of Health Canada and the Feed Section and the plant biosafety office (PBO) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency may be required. Also, additional reviews by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) may be required to substantiate claims made with respect to pesticidal tolerances or properties. Such reviews may require up to 120 days. Please see Appendix VII for more details. Please note that a PNT detection method must be submitted prior to a variety registration application for a PNT variety with the same trait, to be reviewed and approved by a subject matter expert in CFIA's Science Branch.

3. Incomplete applications

If an application for registration is incomplete with respect to the submission of fees, the application will not be returned. However, the application will not be considered accepted until fees are submitted and no review will be initiated. If the application is not considered to be received due to lack of fee submission, no advertising of the variety may be undertaken. The order of the review of applications will take into account the day the fees are submitted.

If an application for registration is incomplete with respect to other requirements such as a description of variety, recommendation for registration from a recommending committee, acceptable legal reference sample or photographic slides/ digital images, the application for registration will be retained pending this information.

4. Recognized applicants

Applications for registration shall be made by a permanent resident of Canada to whom any notice or correspondence under the Seeds Act and regulations may be sent. This may be a Canadian representative, or in the case of varieties developed in Canada, the plant breeder.

Upon registration, the applicant automatically becomes the Registrant, unless otherwise specified in the application. For restricted registrations, the registrant must ensure that the terms and conditions of the restrictions are met. As such, the registrant need not be the breeder or owner of the variety. They are the sole party CFIA holds accountable for the registration.

5. Required information

Basic registration requirements (for all applications) for variety registration: (for example for crop kinds in parts I, II and III of Schedule III)

A complete application package, which must be supplied and signed by the applicant, contains the following information:

  1. a proposed variety name (see section B. 5.2)

    As of January 1, 1996, a Canadian trademark search is not required to be submitted as part of the application for registration. Applicants are required to sign a declaration that they have not applied for or trademarked the name, or any part of the name, of that variety. The declaration is found in the Variety Registration Application Form (page 1) or within the My CFIA application. However, the Trademarks Office of Industry Canada strongly suggests that applicants have a trademark search conducted in order to identify potential trademark infringements.

  2. the scientific and/or common names of the species
  3. a complete description of pedigree, origin, history and methods of development of the variety including the experimental test number(s) and the name and location of the breeding organization (see section B.5.3)

    The breeding organizations are those parties involved in parental selection, crossing, progeny selection, etc. and may be different from the owner of the variety. If the breeding organization is different from the owner, please provide the name and location of both the owner and breeder.

  4. a detailed description of the variety respecting morphological, pathologic, agronomic, physiologic, and biochemical characteristics (where applicable)
  5. a statement as to whether the variety is sold in other countries and if so, by what name(s)
  6. particulars of the provisions for the maintenance of seed stocks

    Authorization is required from the breeder of a foreign variety for the Canadian representative to maintain breeder seed in Canada. If there is intent to maintain breeder seed in Canada, this must be done under the supervision of a plant breeder recognized by the CSGA.

  7. the name and address of the Canadian representative as well as the names and addresses of the breeder and owner, if different from the Canadian representative

    Telephone and facsimile numbers facilitate rapid communication, as do electronic mail addresses. Unless otherwise indicated by the applicant, all correspondence with respect to the registration or cancellation of a variety will be addressed to the Canadian representative listed on the application form.

  8. where the applicant is a person, company or organization other than the breeder or owner of the variety, the application must be accompanied by a signed statement from the breeder or owner of the variety indicating that the applicant has been authorized to apply for registration in Canada (letter of authority)

    If, at any time, there is a change in the Canadian representative of a variety, it is the responsibility of the current Registrant of the variety to inform the Variety Registration Office of the change.

  9. for all species except potatoes, a representative legal reference sample of seed (see Appendix II) must be submitted

    In the case of hybrid/composite canola, hybrid alfalfa and hybrid tobacco variety, a sample of each parental line is also required. In the case of hybrid rye, a sample of the technical mix planted in Canada for Certified hybrid rye seed production must be submitted. Unacceptable samples may only be returned upon submission of an acceptable legal reference sample or upon withdrawal of the application. Unacceptable samples however, are typically returned or(less often) destroyed, after registration of the variety (this is a Registrant's decision to make).

  10. for hybrid/composite canola, hybrid rye, hybrid alfalfa and hybrid tobacco varieties, descriptions of each inbred parental line and a reproducible hybridity test methodology (see Appendix IV) are required for the purposes of variety verification and seed certification (see Appendix III)
  11. for potato varieties, a set of photographic slides or digital images detailing plant morphology, the results of total glycoalkaloids (TGA) testing for cyanogenic compounds in potato, and a description of the TGA test methodology employed are required (see Appendix V)

    It is also recommended that the application package include molecular data identifying the variety and a sample consisting of 2 potato leaf triplet samples (for DNA extraction).

  12. the Applicant will be asked if the variety is to be added to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) List of Cultivars Eligible for Certification.

    This information is not required for variety registration, nor is there any obligation to add a variety to the list. In most cases, CFIA will not add to the list varieties for which breeder seed is maintained outside of Canada. These varieties should be added by the National Designated Authority of the country in which breeder seed is maintained. Exceptions may be made for varieties from countries not participating in the OECD Seed Schemes. For addition of hybrid canola and sunflower varieties, the applicant must supply a statement confirming that the variety consistently meets the OECD minimum hybridity standard of 90%. Applicants should note that only seed lots of the variety that actually meet the standard can be certified under the OECD Seed Schemes. Transgenic varieties (PNT-GMOs) may be added to the list, but must meet the regulatory requirements of each importing country. Varieties with interim registrations are eligible for addition to the OECD List of Cultivars. Note that "composite" canola and potato varieties will not be added to the OECD list of cultivars.

  13. the appropriate fees must be submitted

    This can occur through the My CFIA account application process specific for variety registration or with a "Fee Submission Form" from our website. Review of an application package does not start until there is proof of applicable feeds having been received by CFIA

  14. the Registrar may require that the applicant supply further information that will enable the determination of the merit and identity of the variety in question (see section B. 5.1).

Additional requirements for crop kinds in part I

  1. The results of valid experimental trials comparing the agronomic and/or quality characteristics of the variety to the performance of the appropriate reference varieties designated by the recommending committees (see section B.5.5)

    The VRO requires the exact same data which the recommending committee used to determine merit of the variety (summary data sets are acceptable).

  2. A recommendation that is not more than 2 years old or, in the case of a forage variety, not more than 4 years old, from a recommending committee stating whether the variety has been tested according to recommending committee protocols and whether the variety has merit

    Where support for registration is conditional upon submission of additional information, please ensure that the latter information is supplied in your application.

Additional requirements for crop kinds in part II

  1. results of valid experimental trials comparing the agronomic and/or quality characteristics of the variety to the performance of the appropriate reference varieties designated by the recommending committees (see section B.5.5)
  2. a recommendation that is not more than 2 years old or, in the case of a forage variety, not more than 4 years old, from a recommending committee stating whether the variety has been tested according to recommending committee protocols

    Where support for registration is conditional upon submission of additional information, please ensure that the latter information is supplied.

5.1 Definition of a variety

A variety is considered to be a cultivar (cultivated variety), and denotes an assemblage of cultivated plants, including hybrids constituted by controlled cross-pollination, that:

  1. are distinguished by common morphological, physiological, cytological, chemical or other characteristics and
  2. retain their distinguishing characteristics when reproduced

Where a variety has a similar genetic background to a previously registered variety, it may be eligible for registration provided it has merit and is distinguishable from the previously registered variety. The Registrar must be assured that he/she is not registering a previously registered variety under another name. There is also an obligation on the part of the Variety Registration Office to ensure that the registration of a variety will not compromise the varietal eligibility principles upon which seed and crop certification is based (a variety is distinguishable from all others of its kind in Canada and the variety is stable across generations of seed production). The onus is on the applicant to show distinguishability for non-hybrid crops and for hybrid crops where the 2 varieties in question are developed by the same breeding organization. In determining the distinguishability of 2 varieties, the applicant should consider the magnitude and consistency of the differences as well as the heritability of the traits involved.

Currently, varieties will not be registered if distinguished solely on the basis of DNA analyses. By way of explanation, the variety registration system and the seed certification system in Canada are based on phenotypic or visual data. While some varieties may be very similar in their visual appearance, they can often be characterized by chemical properties, functional grain properties, and/or differential reactions to changes in their environment (observable traits). In some cases, these traits may only be observable under certain environmental conditions but they are differential in nature (for example iron chlorosis in soy on iron-deficient soils in the West or near-identical potato varieties which differ in 1 anti-oxidizing gene; a trait visually distinguishable in the processing end of the business but also identifiable via a post-harvest chemical test method).

5.2 Variety name guidelines

  1. The proposed variety name indicated on the Variety Registration Application Form will be the name used for all official records including the certificate of registration

    This includes spaces, hyphens and capitalization. Any proposed changes to variety names prior to registration must be submitted in writing.

  2. A variety shall be known by only 1 name in Canada

    The name used in the country of origin is the name that should be applied for in Canada. If this name is not acceptable to the Registrar, the Registrar may request that a synonym be used in Canada. An applicant may also choose a synonym for a variety bred outside of Canada.

  3. A variety may not bear the identical name to a different variety of the same crop kind marketed outside Canada
  4. If a synonym is used the following conditions would apply:
    • only 1 name will be used for the variety in Canada
    • the owner of the variety agrees to the use of the synonym
    • all known names and synonyms must be indicated on the application form
    • all synonyms will be made publicly available by CFIA and
    • it is understood that the use of a synonym in Canada may make the variety name unacceptable for Plant Breeders' Rights in Canada
  5. Names with similar spelling must be phonetically different
  6. A variety name that is acceptable for variety registration may not be acceptable for Plant Breeders' Rights purposes if the rights have not been granted when the variety is registered
  7. The name under which a variety is registered must be identical to the name under which a variety is granted Plant Breeders' Rights. Plant Breeders' Rights legislation is more restrictive as to the conditions under which a variety name may be changed
  8. Classes:

    variety names shall be unique, for example not the same as, or very similar to the name of other varieties of the same genus. If they fall within 1 of the following International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) classes, they must be different from all the genera or species in the Class.

    Class 201: Secale, Triticale, Triticum
    Class 203: Agrostis, Dactylis, Festuca, Festulolium, Lolium, Phalaris, Phleum and Poa
    Class 204: Lotus, Medicago, Ornithopus, Onobrychis, Trifolium

    For all crop genera/species subject to registration and not listed in the above classes, each species is considered to be an individual class.

  9. A variety name is a generic term and neither the name nor any part of the name shall be trademarked in Canada for use on seed of the variety

    Once a variety is registered, trademarking the variety name will result in the suspension or cancellation of registration.

  10. The name of a variety that has been deregistered may not be reused for another variety of the same or similar genus or class
  11. Species names, common crop names or names of botanical types shall not be used as variety names
  12. Variety names which vary from another variety by the addition of number(s), letter(s), word(s) or symbol(s), are acceptable providing their pedigree indicates direct derivation from the variety to which the suffix or prefix is added

    The proportion of germplasm contributed by another variety should be at least 50% when giving the new variety a name very similar to that of another variety (for example cv. Binbuster and then registration of "Binbuster II" – this means the latter variety must have at least 50% common genetics with the original Binbuster in order to claim use of the word Binbuster in the variety name).

  13. Any explicit or implicit claims incorporated as part of a variety name may only be used if they are accurate and verifiable
  14. A variety name shall not be such as to be considered offensive
  15. When selecting a variety name, consideration should be given to the limitations of seed tags and the equipment used to generate them

    Seed tags must bear the variety name exactly as registered.

  16. The Variety Registration Office will not approve variety names prior to the receipt of appropriate fees and an application for registration, or an application for variety name amendment
  17. In order to avoid disappointments over variety name acceptability, applicants may wish to review the OECD List of varieties eligible for certification

    Other sources include the Crop Science Registrations in Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), Plant Variety Protection registration and the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) list of varieties. While these sources will not provide a definitive answer on variety name acceptability, they are a good source of information to determine if the proposed name is already in use.

  18. Variety name check process

    The VRO and PASO offices conduct name checks on all varieties before they are registered. This name check consists of:

    • a review of the names of all registered varieties (both with and without PBR) in Canada to ensure that there are no varieties in the Canadian market, in that crop class, that have a name that could be confused in the marketplace.
    • a review of international databases (PVPO, CVPO, CGRIN,UGRIN, UPOV, OECD) to ensure that there are no varieties in the world market in that crop class that have a name that could make it's way to the Canadian market and be confused in the marketplace.
    • a generic search to assess if there are other considerations that might affect the performance of the variety in the Canadian marketplace.
  19. Naming guidelines for those applying for VR and PBR:

    • Canada has a 1 variety – 1 name policy, meaning that a variety subject to registration under the Seeds Act can only have one name in Canada. Variety name checks are conducted at the time of application to determine their acceptability. A name change can be requested for varieties that have already been registered by the VRO. The denomination used to register a variety must be the same as that used to apply for PBR Protection.
    • The PBRO also applies a 1 variety – 1 name rule, both domestically and internationally, and across all plant species (not just those subject to registration under the Seeds Act). For plant breeders' rights naming guidelines visit Variety naming guidelines

5.3 Description of pedigree/breeding

  1. The origin of the variety should include the name and location of the institution(s) involved in the variety's development, the pedigree of the variety, breeding methodology and history, including dates, selection criteria and experimental designations

    The derivation and maintenance of breeder seed stocks should be fully described.

  2. In the case of hybrid or composite varieties, an uncoded pedigree and derivation of the inbred (parental) lines must be submitted

    This information is considered confidential and will be treated as such.

  3. Pedigree:

    the genetic background of at least the 2 previous generations should be provided. Where the parentage of a variety includes experimental lines, please give the genetic background of these lines. This information is valuable in distinguishing variants and off-types found in seed fields subsequent to variety registration as well as determining the uniqueness of the variety. The pedigree of PNT varieties must trace back to the approved event.

    The use of common pedigree notation to describe the origins of the variety is encouraged. (See Appendix XII: Guide to commonly used pedigree nomenclature systems.)

  4. Varieties will only be considered for registration if:
    • they are developed or maintained by a plant breeder recognized by the Canadian Seed Growers' Association, or
    • the seed of the variety has been accepted for certification in the country of origin by an official certifying agency
  5. In the case of varieties resulting from recombinant gene technology (transformation), information on the gene(s) inserted, its source and gene products must be provided

    Exact DNA sequence information must be provided to facilitate the generation of genetic markers used for variety verification purposes.

  6. If the applicant has previously supplied this information as part of an application for environmental release through the Plant Biosafety Office (PBO), this information will be accessed directly and supplied to the CFIA Variety Verification Unit at the time of registration

    If the applicant is using genetic constructs for which another organization has been granted environmental release, the applicant must submit a letter of permission from this organization to allow access to the DNA sequence information (Confidential Business Information).

5.4 Varietal characteristics

  1. The description of a variety (DoV) should include as much relevant morphological information as possible to ensure that seed and crop inspections, as well as variety verification, can be properly conducted

    For certain crops (alfalfa, barley, beans (field), bird's foot trefoil, bromegrass, buckwheat, canola/rape, clover (red), faba bean, fescue, flax, lentils, lupin, mustard, oat, orchardgrass, pea, potato, safflower, soybeans, timothy and wheat), objective description forms have been developed and are available from the Variety Registration Office. These forms list the traits that must be provided for variety registration as well as supplemental traits. For other crops, standard forms are not available but information on relevant characteristics may be obtained from the Variety Registration Office. Where a variety description is supplied in 2 formats: for example on an old CFIA Objective Description Form (ODF) and as a Breeder generated summary page, the onus is on the applicant to ensure that the 2 descriptions are consistent and at a minimum, cover off on all the mandatory descriptors for that crop kind as specified in the current Description of Variety (DoV) forms used by CFIA.

  2. Where the description of variety is developed outside of Canada, the onus is on the applicant to ensure that the description is representative of the variety under Canadian growing conditions

    Copies of official variety descriptions, including accepted variants as provided to foreign seed certification agencies should be included with the application.

  3. If there is known variability in the variety, details of this must be provided

    If information is available on variants that are considered acceptable this information should be included, as well as the maximum acceptable frequency of occurrence in each class of pedigreed seed. In cases where doubt exists, the applicant may also be asked to provide genetic information on the origin of these variants.

  4. Disease reaction information should include resistance and susceptibility to the diseases that are economically important to the specific crop in Canada

    Disease information should be supplied directly by the recommending committee where possible. Data must be submitted to substantiate any claims of insect or disease resistance.

    As of July 1, 1990, alfalfa varieties must be resistant to bacterial wilt (Corynebacterium insidiosum) in order to qualify for registration.

    In order to receive registration in Eastern Canada (meaning Ontario, Quebec, or Atlantic Canada), a wheat variety must have a minimum level of resistance to fusarium head blight or FHB (see Appendix IX). Provincial guidelines within Eastern Canada vary as to the exact requirements.

  5. Claims that are made by the applicant, such as quality, insect tolerance, herbicide tolerance, maturity, seedling vigour, etc., of a variety should be substantiated by Canadian scientific data

    It may be appropriate, in certain cases, to include US data. See Appendix VIII for more information regarding herbicide tolerance trial data requirements.

  6. If a variety possesses characteristics that would indicate it has a particular use or market, the variety description should include a statement as to its potential utilization

    Claims of specific strengths for example tolerance to herbicides, must be supported by valid scientific data. This information may also be required by Industry Canada under the authority of the Competition Act. All claims to be used in advertising must be submitted at the time of application for registration.

  7. Photocopies of objective description forms completed for the variety for Plant Breeders' Rights purposes may be submitted if:

    • it is clearly marked on the photocopy that the submission is for Variety Registration Office use, and
    • information has been provided for the traits required for variety registration purposes

    The submission of information for "non-mandatory" traits is useful to the Variety Registration Office in determining rapidly if the variety can be distinguished from a previously registered variety or if a subsequent candidate variety is distinguishable.

  8. If an application is made for both Plant Breeders' Rights and variety registration, the onus is on the applicant to ensure that descriptive information submitted for variety registration purposes does not contradict descriptive information submitted for Plant Breeders' Rights purposes

    The applicant must also ensure that both offices are individually informed of changes to the applications or to descriptions of variety.

  9. Other than the addition of supplementary information, variety descriptions will not be amended more than 2 weeks after the CSGA deadline for applications for crop inspection for the crop kind in question

    After crop inspections are completed, variety descriptions may be amended as required.

  10. The breeder may require additional certification standards for a variety provided that the additional standards are defined in the variety description and the following CSGA requirements are met:

    • the additional certification standards have been communicated by the responsible Plant Breeder or agent to all parties involved with regulation and production of the variety and
    • when required to verify varietal identity, the CSGA has been authorized by the responsible Plant Breeder or agent to require varietal purity verification testing before a Crop Certificate is issued by the CSGA

    Examples of additional certification standards include previous land use or isolation distance requirements that exceed the standards in Circular 6, border row removals or requirements for laboratory tests for varietal identity verification.

5.5 Experimental data

  1. The applicant must submit the experimental data used by the recommending committee in supporting the variety for registration directly to the Variety Registration Office
  2. Unless recommending committee protocols indicate otherwise, only data considered by the recommending committee in supporting the variety for registration should be included in the application

    The complete package of information (data, notes, etc.) that the committee used to make the recommendation decision should be submitted to the Variety Registration Office. This would include decisions to object to, or to not support the registration of a variety. Other data to support claims of variety performance (see section B.5.4 (e), (f) and (g)) should also be submitted.

  3. Data used by a recognized recommending committee in making a recommendation decision, when quoted to support a variety for registration must be used in its entirety without "selection" and are subject to approval by the appropriate recommending committee
  4. Actual experimental data including a summary of the agronomic performance must be included. Summarized merit scores are not acceptable in lieu of actual data

5.6 Signed and dated declaration for plants with novel traits (PNTs) and for varieties derived from PNTs

For plants with novel traits developed by genetic engineering or by traditional plant breeding using transgenic parents, the applicant must:

  1. submit a signed, dated declaration on the letterhead of the applicant organization with the variety registration application (1 declaration per variety), indicating that molecular tests conducted on seed of the variety entered in variety registration trials, and also the seed contained in the legal reference sample submitted for registration, confirm the specific genetic makeup of the variety (for example that they contain the appropriate construct and insertion or mutation event and only that event) and
  2. provide the detailed CFIA reviewed and approved* laboratory detection protocols used to conduct these trait detection tests

    If the protocols have been previously submitted to the CFIA-Variety Registration Office (VRO), it is acceptable to indicate that the samples were analysed using the specific approved protocol. The protocol reference number (including version number) must be cited in the declaration

In the case of potatoes, the declaration should indicate that tests were conducted on seed potatoes entering the variety registration trials and the seed certification system.

Applicants are encouraged to submit new PNT detection protocols (see Appendix VI) well in advance of variety registration application, to allow time for CFIA to review and approval the protocol prior to a variety registration application. Any revisions to an approved protocol should be sent in to the CFIA-VRO for review and approval as soon as possible to avoid delays in a variety registration application.

5.7 Support for registration

Variety Registration Regional Recommending Committee recommendations for varieties of crop kinds in part I are based on pre-registration testing and determination of merit.

Recommending committee recommendations for varieties of crop kinds in part II are based on pre-registration testing only.

To speed the processing of all registration applications, a copy of a letter or motion of support from the registration recommending committee must be submitted directly by the applicant. The recommendation may not be more than 2 years old, or in the case of a forage crop variety, not more than 4 years old.

Please note that no recommendation support is required for varieties of crop kinds in part III (the non-merit based minimum requirements tier for registration).

5.8 Fees

As of December 1, 1997, fees came into effect for the evaluation of variety registration applications, and related services. While fees were frozen for decades, fees are now being adjusted for inflation (see below). If applying through My CFIA, the appropriate fee will be invoiced to you after you submit your application electronically. If applying using email or mail, please ensure that a separate Fee Submission Form is included in each application package along with the appropriate fee (see Appendix XIII). Once an application review has been initiated, no refund will be issued.

The CFIA Fees notice sets out the fees for each activity within the Variety Registration Office (part 14, table 2, and section 6). These fees are updated annually on March 31 based on the Consumer Price Index. If applying using email or mail, please check the Fees Notice prior to your submission to ensure you are including the correct amount on your Fee Submission Form. If applying through My CFIA, no additional action needs to be taken as the system will update the fees internally.

My CFIA updates takes place on March 30th at close of business. Applications invoiced before then will be invoiced at one cost, and applications invoiced on or after March 31st will be invoiced at the updated cost.

If you are applying through My CFIA, be aware that invoices are created manually. There may be a delay between the submission of your application and the invoice being issued.

5.9 Legal reference samples

  1. The reference samples submitted for variety registration are legal samples for use in monitoring varietal purity of seed lots offered for sale in Canada and may be used as evidence in a court of law

    The submission of an improper or non-representative sample for a variety could result in a variety not being registered, seed lots being rejected for pedigreed status and/or the cancellation of a registration.

  2. Requirements for the Breeder seed reference seed sample (see checklist in Appendix II)

    Seed sample bags must bear an outer tag as a minimum.

    It is recommended that a CSGA Breeder seed tag is used, however, a plant breeder generated tag is still accepted. These tags can be obtained from the CSGA at no cost. For breeders using tags other than those provided by the CSGA, the following information must be included on the tag:

    • variety name (experimental number is acceptable if the name is not finalized)
    • crop kind
    • lot number (if applicable)
    • crop certificate number
    • pedigreed status and
    • signature of the CSGA recognized plant breeder (this is the plant breeder attesting as to the contents of the reference seed sample bag containing seed representative of their variety)

    Although the CSGA breeder tag indicates it may be signed by a Canadian agent, this is not acceptable for variety registration purposes.

    Foreign produced samples

    The sample must bear a tag that states the year of production and:

    • is from an official seed certification agency or
    • that contains the equivalent information required for a CSGA breeder seed tag (see above) including the signature of the plant breeder who developed the variety

    Where samples are submitted with tags from a European seed certification agency, information must be provided on:

    • the generation of the seed expressed as the number of generations prior to certified seed and
    • the number of generations from breeder seed that are allowed in total

    Failure to provide all of the above information will result in a sample being rejected.

  3. Where Breeder seed is not available, Select or Foundation seed may be acceptable provided that it is:
    • tagged with an official tag issued by a seed certification agency and
    • accompanied by a letter from the breeder explaining why breeder seed is not provided
  4. Requirements for hybrid or composite seed samples

    Seed samples of all hybrid or "composite" varieties of Brassica spp, hybrid alfalfa, hybrid tobacco or hybrid sunflower varieties shall be of the first generation of pedigreed seed to be offered for sale (for example certified seed.) Samples must be tagged with tags issued by an official seed certification authority.

    If such seed is not available, hand-pollinated seed or seed produced in isolation cages under the breeder's supervision may be submitted as a legal reference sample provided the following conditions are met:

    • the seed is produced under the direct supervision of a plant breeder recognized by the CSGA
    • the sample is accompanied by a declaration signed by the breeder indicating the manner in which the seed was produced and indicating that the seed is representative of the variety
    • the seed is properly sealed and tagged with the variety name/experimental number, lot number and signature of the plant breeder and
    • the breeder commits in writing to provide a certified seed sample within 1 year of registration

    Seed produced by hand pollination or in isolation cages is not eligible for sale by variety name.

  5. Inbred or composite parental line

    For varieties of hybrid or composite canola, hybrid alfalfa and hybrid tobacco, the inbred or composite parental lines must be submitted in a seed envelope which has been well taped shut and labelled with the following information:

    • variety name
    • lot number
    • crop certificate number (where applicable)
    • name of parental line and
    • indication of whether it is the female or male parent of the variety
  6. Samples and tags must either be sewn or tied and fastened with a tamper-proof seal. When samples are submitted in seed envelopes, they should be well taped shut and the tag well taped to the outside.

    The container should be of 1 of the following types of material:

    • cotton or woven poly bags (most desirable)
    • Manilla cardboard sealable seed envelopes (large sample size)
    • heavy paper bags (double bagged, sealed)

    Samples submitted in sealed plastic bags (for example zip loc™ plastic bags) will not be accepted as this packaging is detrimental to the longevity of the seed. Seed must be submitted in new containers and must be shipped in a manner to ensure the intact arrival.

  7. Sample sizes must conform to the requirements listed in Appendix II
  8. The sample should not be treated with any pesticide, as seed treatments may cause problems with certain types of laboratory analysis

    In addition, some delivery agents will not transport seed treated with pesticides unless specially packaged.

  9. Samples submitted from a crop harvested more than 1 year prior to application must be accompanied by a germination analysis conducted by a recognized laboratory no more than 6 months prior to sample submission conducted
  10. Legal reference samples must be at least Foundation No. 1 grade for purity and minimum Foundation No. 2 for germination
  11. All legal reference samples originating from outside of Canada must be sent via the Canadian representative
  12. The VRO in conjunction with the SSU at OPL-Fallowfield will determine if a submitted sample is acceptable. If a sample is deemed unacceptable, a new reference sample must be provided as soon as possible (subject to time of year/growing season).

    Samples submitted may be deemed unacceptable in the following circumstances (not exhaustive):

    • Packaging failure
    • Inappropriate amount provided (too much or too little)
    • Unlabeled, or illegible label
    • Poor germination at time of planting variety verification samples
    • Treated seed
    • Poor seed quality/high moisture
  13. Unacceptable samples may only be returned upon submission of an acceptable legal reference sample or upon withdrawal of the application

5.10 Interim registration renewals/reinstatements

When applying by My CFIA, request your renewal/reinstatement via the 'Amendment' application type. Complete the application, and indicate in the 'Summary of Changes' section that you are requesting a renewal/reinstatement.

When applying by email or mail, the registrant must submit:

  1. a letter requesting the renewal/reinstatement of registration
  2. a recommendation from a recommending committee supporting renewal/reinstatement for the variety and
  3. a current CFIA description of variety form (DoV) for the renewal or for a new national registration
  4. the appropriate fees along with the fee submission form

The onus is on the registrant to ensure interim registrations are not allowed to expire. If the interim registration of a variety has been allowed to lapse for a period greater than 1 year, for crops other than potatoes, a new legal reference sample must be submitted.

If an application for renewal (with applicable fees) is received prior to the expiry date, the application will be considered to be a renewal. If the application is received after the expiry date, the application will be considered to be a reinstatement and appropriate fees will apply.

5.11 Extension of regions of registration

All registrations (part 1 and part 2 crop kinds) involve a recommending committee. Some crop kinds in Canada have more than 1 of these regional recommending committees. When a variety is reviewed and recommended by a registration recommending committee, it starts off as a national registration for that region. If it is the intent of the Registrant to extend the registration geographically beyond the original committee that recommended it, the other committees are approached by CFIA to see if they object to the national registration of that variety (if they object on the basis of disease or quality issues that present a threat to crop production in their region, then a regional restriction for that region is applied to the registration.

If the Registrant wishes to pursue a country-wide registration (no restrictions) then:

  1. a letter requesting the extension of regions of registration and
  2. a letter from the appropriate registration recommending committee indicating they do not object to the registration of the variety in the region of its jurisdiction

5.12 Changing a variety name after registration

A variety name may be changed following registration.

When applying by My CFIA, request your name change via the 'Amendment' application type. Complete the application, and indicate in the 'Summary of Changes' section that you are requesting a name change.

When requesting a name change via email or mail:

  1. a written request by the Canadian representative indicating an acceptable alternative name
  2. written permission by the breeder or owner of the variety (where applicable)
  3. a completed page 1 of the Application Form indicating if Plant Breeders' Rights have been applied for or granted and whether the variety is sold by any other name(s) in other countries, as well as an original signed declaration that a Canadian trademark has not been applied for or received for use of the name or any part of the name on seed
  4. the applicable fee along with a Fee Submission form for variety registration and
  5. the original certificate of registration, so that an amended certificate can be issued

The name under which a variety is granted plant breeders' rights must be identical to that under which the variety is registered. A separate application and appropriate fees must be submitted to the plant breeders' rights office. Under Plant Breeders' Rights legislation, there are limited circumstances under which a name change may be accepted.

5.13 Inactive applications

Applications are considered inactive when no correspondence has been received from the applicant within 1 year of written notification that an application is incomplete. Inactive applications will be closed.

An application may be withdrawn or cancelled at any time, upon the written request of the applicant.

Prior to closing an inactive application, the Variety Registration Office will contact the applicant, in writing, to notify them that their application is inactive and will be closed if no response is received within 60 days. Applicants may request, within the 60 days, to re-activate the application and gather the required information. Re-activation of an application may require the submission of a new legal reference sample.

The Variety Registration Office will notify the applicant in writing once an application is closed. Submitted reference samples will then be returned to the applicant.

Note: Once an application is withdrawn or closed, a new evaluation fee must be paid if the applicant wishes to re-apply for registration (see Appendix XIII).

5.14 Deregistration/cancellation of registration

A variety may be cancelled (syn. deregistered) at any time upon the written request of the registrant with written permission of the breeder or owner of the variety (where applicable). Prior to requesting cancellation of a variety, the Registrant is required to check the availability of pedigreed seed and/or develop a disposal plan acceptable to seed growers in possession of pedigreed seed of the variety.

6. Obligations of the registrant following registration

  1. Publicly generated co-operative tests or other data quoted in advertising a registered variety for sale must be used in its entirety and are subject to approval by the appropriate recommending committee
  2. The registrant must notify the Variety Registration Office of any proposed changes to the descriptive information of a variety including the designation of variants and off-types, as well as changes of Canadian representative and distributor

    This information must be provided separately from information submitted to the Plant Breeders' Rights Office. Any changes to descriptions of variety submitted to the Variety Registration Office will only be made after consultation with area CFIA inspection staff, variety verification personnel and other affected parties. Changes to official descriptions will not be made during the growing season (see section B.5.4 (j)).

  3. For those varieties added to OECD Seed Schemes List of Varieties Eligible for Certification, the registrant must provide the description of the variety and legal reference samples to OECD seed certification authorities upon request
  4. The Registrant must not trademark the variety name, or any part of the name, following registration
  5. Registrants are responsible for ensuring that all terms and conditions of restricted registration are complied with
  6. Registrants are responsible for submitting legal reference samples that are properly tagged and sealed, to the Variety Verification Unit, upon request
  7. The Registrant must notify the Variety Registration Office if a variety registered for sale in Canada is granted a synonym in another country after its Canadian registration is granted
  8. For varieties with novel traits, Registrants are responsible for providing updated molecular testing protocols (see Appendix VI) for the detection of transgenes when updated by the laboratory conducting the analysis
  9. For varieties with a contract registration, Registrants are responsible for providing updated quality control system manuals (QSMs)

    Where the Canadian Representative or Registrant of a variety with contract registration changes, a new quality management system manual will be required to reflect any relevant variation in handling along with the commitment of the new representative to the quality management system. (See appendix X)

  10. For hybrid and composite canola varieties, registrants are responsible for providing updates to hybridity testing protocols (see Appendix IV)

    Crop certificates may not be issued for crops tested using unapproved protocols.

  11. Brand names may be used in advertising in association with registered variety name if the brand name is conspicuous and legible, for example: if a company has a brand called "DMX" and a variety registered as "1234", then the company can advertise the variety using 1 of the following methods:

    DMXTM 1234 or DMX® 1234 or DMX Brand 1234
    It is not acceptable to advertise the variety as: DMX1234 or DMX 1234.

    Note: only the name by which variety is registered can be used on an official label (for example the seed tag), for example "1234".

7. Glossary

Canadian Representative
Unless otherwise stated, the Canadian Representative is the official Registrant of a variety and is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Seeds Regulations and for all other obligations of the Registrant following registration. The Canadian Representative will receive all correspondence regarding the variety and may authorize the voluntary deregistration of the variety (with permission from the breeder). Any correspondence regarding any legal action taken with respect to the variety is directed to the Canadian Representative.
Composite Canola variety

A plant population in which a specified minimum percentage of the progeny result from the crossing of parental lines (are hybrid). For Brassica napus composite varieties at least 70% of the progeny must be hybrid and for Brassica rapa at least 50% of the progeny must be hybrid. For both species the rest of the progeny are from sib mating and/or selfing of the parental lines. The seed sown to produce a composite canola is an interim seed class (Select Synthetic class) and is the result of a controlled, specific blending of either Breeder Seed class and/or Foundation Seed class seed of the parental lines of the variety.

Note: At this time only 2 component (2 parental line) composite varieties will be considered for variety registration.

A distributor generally handles the marketing and sale of seed of a variety.
Forage type oats, triticale and peas
Varieties that are sold as being for herbage or whole plant harvest for livestock feed. Does not include varieties marketed for production of grain for livestock feed.
Home garden potato variety
A potato variety that is not being sold for the table stock or processing market; seed acreage is restricted to a maximum of 1 hectare.
Equal or superior to appropriate reference varieties with regard to any single characteristic or combination of characteristics that renders the variety beneficial for a particular use in a specific area of Canada.
A plant that deviates in 1 or more characteristics from the official description of the variety and is not in any way part of that variety; it does not belong.
Official certifying agency

An organization in a foreign state that is empowered by the government of that state to certify seed crops and seed as to the varietal purity thereof where that state is

  1. a participating member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's schemes for the varietal certification of seed moving in international trade for that kind or species, or
  2. a member of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies.
Plants with novel traits (PNTs)
A plant variety possessing a characteristic that is intentionally selected or created through a specific genetic change and is either not previously associated with a distinct and stable population of the plant species in Canada or expressed outside the normal range of a similar existing characteristic in the plant species.
Plants derived from PNTs
A variety that results from traditional plant breeding using a PNT as a parental line.
The party who receives the certificate of registration and to whom correspondence is directed regarding any legal action taken with respect to the variety.

Any seed or plant which:

  1. is distinct within the variety but occurs naturally within the variety
  2. is stable and predictable with a degree of reliability compared to other varieties of the same kind, within known tolerances
  3. was originally part of the variety as released and
  4. is not an off-type
Date modified: