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Tenth meeting of the Seed Sector Value Chain Roundtable: Record of decision

March 18, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Key Decision Points

The SSVCRT agreed to establish an overarching industry-government working group, in Spring 2019, which will focus on seed regulatory modernization. A list of task teams, and a proposal for the roles of industry and government will be determined. A draft Terms of Reference for the working group will be shared with the SSVCRT prior to June 15, 2019.

Opening remarks

  • Industry and Government Co-chairs welcomed approximately 50 participants to the meeting, including two youth representatives, as well as federal and provincial officials.
  • The meeting agenda was approved as circulated, with two additional government updates to be provided.
  • A review of the action items from the meeting held in Winnipeg on February 20 and 21, 2018 took place.

Federal Government Updates

  • The Government Co-chair provided the following updates:
    • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada received an additional $800 million over five years under the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to support innovative investments across the country and in all economic sectors. A subsequent announcement of an agriculture/agri-food stream (SIF Stream 4) was made targeting large-scale projects that apply automation and digital technologies.
    • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is leading a review of the Canadian Grain Act and Canadian Grain Commission. Input from stakeholders in developing the scope and focus of the review is being sought. Contact details will be provided to SSVCRT members and observers via email.
  • The Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table (EST) received input from the Value Chain Roundtables (VCRTs). The final report was issued in September 2018 which outlined five areas of focus: regulations, market diversification, infrastructure, innovation and investment, short and long term labour shortage. Ambitious targets were established consisting of $85 billion in agri-food exports and $140 billion in domestic sales by 2025.
  • Action Item 10-1: AAFC will provide a written update on next steps of the Economic Strategy Table once more details are available.
  • VCRT modernization involves examining how the roundtables can better address long-term growth and competitiveness of each sector, and help amplify a cohesive voice on key issues. A few models were discussed with the VCRT All Chairs. Further dialogue will take place at the VCRT All Chairs meeting in April 2019 and these perspectives will be shared with all roundtable members.
  • Action Item 10-2: AAFC will provide a written update on VCRT revitalization, including next steps in the process, after the VCRT All Chairs meeting in April 2019.

Seed Synergy Collaboration Project

  • Industry shared the progress made by the Seed Synergy partners on this project to date. All six Seed Synergy partners' boards of directors have endorsed the White Paper, with the Canadian Seed Growers' Association continuing its consultation on additional details around the Value Creation and Single Organization proposals. The White Paper sets out proposals for the future of the seed sector and agriculture based on three key areas: stimulating innovation, modernizing the Seed Regulatory Framework, and building the next generation seed organization.  Next steps include developing recommendations on respective roles of industry and government in the next generation seed system.

Seed Regulatory Modernization

  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is reviewing all of its regulations, with substantial changes being made to the Seeds Regulations, for Parts I, III and IV. The use of Incorporation by Reference (IbR) is being considered for certain schedules to keep pace with industry. The SSVCRT has begun the analysis of which regulations could be addressed through IbR.
  • The opportunity to modernize the current seed system and shape its future ties in with the Seed Synergy initiative. All regulatory components need to be assessed to understand and plan for this overhaul. CFIA will ensure the regulations align with leading industry practices, and are outcome based and transparent. The SSVCRT will be the primary vehicle for bringing together national associations, provincial governments and the grain industry to provide input on what role should stay with government, what will move to industry with government oversight, and what no longer needs to be done.
  • Potential working groups were identified, in addition to the need for IbR to become a renewed focus.   
  • Action Item 10-3: The SSVCRT agreed to establish an overarching industry-government working group, in Spring 2019, which will focus on seed regulatory modernization. A list of task teams, and a proposal for the roles of industry and government will be determined. A draft Terms of Reference for the working group will be shared with the SSVCRT prior to June 15, 2019.

Plant Breeding Innovation

  • Industry presented two cases of novelty determination to demonstrate the need for regulatory clarity and efficiency.
  • The Biotech Working Group (BWG) under the Grains Roundtable (GRT) is leading an industry/government dialogue to identify priority challenges to plant breeding innovation. A detailed work plan has been developed with four work themes: Clarifying the approach to novel products, modernizing information requirements, improving support for innovators, and communicating Canada's approach to the regulation of novel products domestically and internationally.
  • A smaller “Technical Working Group” struck under the BWG is carrying out detailed analysis needed to further refine issue identification and propose options/solutions to be endorsed by the BWG, GRT and the All Chairs Roundtable.
  • The BWG will provide the SSVCRT with a progress status on their work plan before anticipatory consultations will take place.

Value Creation

  • AAFC and CFIA provided an overview on the series of in-person value creation engagement sessions held in late 2018 and early 2019 (Winnipeg, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Charlottetown). AAFC and CFIA officials have also travelled across Canada this winter to engage more than 2,000 producers and other cereal sector stakeholders at farm meetings, agricultural trade shows and other events.
  • Online consultation will take place which will outline economic modeling to examine how a value creation model for Canada would impact farm-level profitability and the Canadian economy in the future.  A small producer panel will preview the online material to provide input towards the final material.
  • An economic analysis was presented, based on a 15 year scenario with sensitivity analysis for future scenarios. Key assumptions around the share of royalties used in breeding were updated based on stakeholder feedback.
  • The Roundtable heard from the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project on its Seed Variety Use Agreement (SVUA). The group proposed that the SVUA would provide increased investment in plant breeding to support Canada's cereal, pulse and specialty crop producers by ensuring a fair return on research investment for Plant Breeders' Rights protected varieties.

Phytosanitary Working Group

  • CFIA received notice from U.S. partners regarding incorrect use of PPQ 925 Seed Analysis Certificates by some Canadian exporters. CFIA initiated stakeholder engagement with seed exporters to identify the problems and educate users. CFIA continues to work closely with the U.S. to track PPQ 925 users and monitor non-compliance issues.
  • An electronic phytosanitary (ePhyto) certification system would minimize the possibility of fraudulent certificates and contaminated cargo getting through customs. It would enhance efficiencies with the border process by having all paper work issued in advance, therefore all that is needed when the consignment arrives at the border is the inspection. Furthermore, all countries using the ePhyto system can exchange information without the need of bilateral agreements.
  • Action Item 10-4: The SSVCRT will establish a working group to share information on phytosanitary issues and to rapidly respond to any new concerns.

Seed Sector Profile

  • A draft update to the 2014 Seed Sector Profile was presented. Recent data on the contribution of the Canadian seed industry to the economy estimated $6 billion in total economic impact (direct and indirect). Canadian farmers spent $2 billion on seed for planting in 2016, up nearly 40% from 2010. In 2016/17, Canadian seed exports were valued at approximately $600 million, up from $220 million in 2009/10. Commodities that account for the majority of export sales are corn, soybeans, peas and forage/turf grasses.
  • VCRT members are asked to submit revisions, if any. This document will be updated on a regular basis moving forward.

Strategic Plan Review

  • Activities of the SSVCRT were prioritized for the upcoming year, with amendments made to the Strategic Plan dashboard

Closing remarks/adjourn

  • Next face-to-face Roundtable meeting will tentatively be held in early 2020, with a Roundtable update via teleconference to be held before the summer (2019). The VCRT All Chairs meeting will take place April 16, 2019.
  • Refer to Annex A for list of participants.

Annex A

Participant list

Co-chairs

  • Dave Carey, Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA)
  • Liz Foster, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Industry members

  • Richard Stamp, Stamp Seeds
  • Deb Hart, Canadian Potato Council
  • Mike Scheffel, Canadian Seed Growers' Association (CSGA)
  • Glyn Chancey, CSGA
  • Kevin Runnalls, CSGA
  • Wayne Gale, Stokes Seeds
  • Ian Affleck, CropLife Canada
  • Roy van Wyk, Canadian Seed Institute
  • Todd Hyra, SeCan
  • Claudio Feulner, CSTA
  • Krista Erickson, Commercial Seeds Analysts Association of Canada
  • Karen Churchill, Cereals Canada
  • Lorne Hadley, Canadian Plant Technology Agency
  • Krista Thomas, Canada Grains Council
  • Aabir Dey, Unitarian Services Committee Canada
  • Kurt Printz, Youth participant
  • Reuben Stone, Youth participant

Provincial Government members

  • Mark MacNaughton, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
  • Chami Amarasinghe, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (via webconference)
  • Djiby Bocar Sall, Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec (via webconference)
  • Hugh Berges, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (via webconference)
  • Mitchell Japp, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture  (via webconference)

Federal Government members

  • Nathalie Durand, AAFC
  • Wendy Jahn, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
  • Patricia McAllister, CFIA
  • Laura Anderson, Canadian Grain Commission
  • Nathan Gerelus, Canadian Grain Commission

Federal Government observers

  • Cindy Pearson, CFIA
  • Willy Drost, CFIA
  • Neil Strand, Health Canada
  • Felicitas Katepa-Mupondwa, AAFC
  • Johanne Kristjanson, AAFC (via webconference)
  • Jessica King, AAFC (via webconference)

Guests / Speakers

  • Marco Valicenti, AAFC
  • Carla St. Croix, AAFC
  • Giuliano Tolusso, AAFC
  • Anthony Parker, CFIA

Federal support

  • Austin Mowat, AAFC
  • Tony McDougall, AAFC
  • Shane Campbell, AAFC
  • Sandra Liston, AAFC
  • Caileigh Tibben, AAFC

Industry observers

  • Caroline Lafontaine, CSGA
  • Doug Miller, CSGA
  • Jeff Loessin, Corteva Agriscience
  • Janelle Whitley, Canadian Canola Growers Assoc. (via webconference)
  • Chris Davison, Syngenta (via webconference)
  • Monica Klaas, Alberta Seed Processors (via webconference)
  • Talon Gauthier, Canadian Forage & Grassland Association (via webconference)
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