Crop Variety Registration in Canada Fact Sheet

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Fast Facts

  • Canada's world-class crop production industry plays a vital role in creating jobs and strengthening economic growth.
  • Variety Registration (VR) is a regulatory requirement of the Seeds Act which governs the regulation of seed in Canada and is administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
  • VR is the foundation of Canada's grain quality assurance system, ensuring that information is available to the regulator to prevent marketplace deception, facilitating seed certification and the international trade of seed, enabling tracking and traceability of varieties in the marketplace.
  • The system delivers predictable agronomic and processing qualities to domestic and international customers.
  • Most major field crops grown in Canada are subject to VR, such as wheat, canola, pulses and forages. The exceptions include corn, food-grade soybeans, chickpeas, fruits and vegetables, ornamental plants and turf grasses.
  • Depending on the crop type, the breeding method used, and the complexity of the selection criteria, the variety development process from initial breeding to the marketing of seed by a farmer can take upwards of 12 years. VR is the final step in this process and typically take 6 to 8 weeks with CFIA's Variety Registration Office.

Modernizing Canada's Variety Registration System

A responsive and efficient seed regulatory system has contributed to the success of Canada's crop sector for more than a century. Canada's VR system is being streamlined and modernized to support innovation in the crop sector.

Modernizing the VR system will ensure that farmers have access to the latest crop varieties.

Changes include:

  • Streamlining the variety registration system to two tiers: Basic and Enhanced.
  • Model Operating Procedures that will streamline Recommending Committees. This will give Canadian farmers faster access to the newest cutting-edge varieties.
  • Incorporation by reference that will allow value chain consensus to speed up administrative changes by up to 24 months.

Canada's Variety Registration system will continue to protect Canada's international reputation for its high-quality crops and encourage innovation in crop variety development by removing potential barriers to crop innovation.

These changes are part of the Government's focus on innovation, competitiveness, market development and regulatory modernization to generate economic growth across the sector.

Together we are building a modern, innovative and competitive agriculture industry.

To learn more about Canada's Variety Registration system, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Variety Registration website.


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Crop Variety Registration in Canada Fact Sheet (PDF Version, 2.3 MB)

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