Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the CFIA's updated guidance for seed regulations that will provide clear direction for plant breeders moving forward.
“I'm pleased to confirm today that the Government of Canada has found a way to support the introduction of new crops varieties that will contribute to a more sustainable agricultural production while meeting the transparency requirements of the organic sector.”
The organic industry had raised concerns about being able to distinguish between conventional and gene edited seed - which they felt could undermine organic certification.
She says among the changes, Seeds Canada will strengthen its database of Canadian seeds and will include all varieties and will clearly identify how different seeds are produced.
“We will create a government industry steering committee, including the organic sector. Its mandate will include establishing clear procedures for the Seeds Canada database and recommending control measures. The goal is to facilitate discussions as gene edited products are introduced to the market.”
She says they will also put in place monitoring oversight measures by the Government of Canada that will ensure the accuracy and reliability of this database.
The new government industry steering committee - which includes the organic sector - will establish clear procedures and recommend control measures for the Seed Canada database as to how new gene-edited products are introduced to the market.
Bibeau also announced that the government would financially support the review of Canada's Organic Standards which are due for renewal in 2025.