ACORN (Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network) passed along this survey.

The following information comes from their latest newsletter.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is running a Needs Assessment Survey until March 15, 2021 to collect feedback on potential changes to the Seeds Regulations.

The CFIA survey will take 15 – 20 minutes to complete.

  • Find the survey here.
  • Find contextual info about the survey from the federal government here.
  • Find the NFU’s excellent guide to completing the survey here.

We believe it is critical that farmers, seed growers, and other stakeholders in the organic and ecological farming sector are aware of these consultations and have the opportunity to fill out the survey in an informed way.

What are the Seed Regulations?

The Seeds Regulations exist to protect producers from fraud and poor quality seed, set seed grade standards, and establish variety registration protocols that breeders need to follow when creating new varieties. These regulations are crucial for the protection of Canadian seed security and farmer livelihoods.

The CFIA will use the results of this survey, along with the input of the Seed Regulatory Modernization Working Group (SEED-RM WG), to decide how they will amend the regulations. This survey is important because it will guide how Canada’s seed system will be regulated and to what degree the government or industry will be responsible for regulating aspects of the Canadian the seed sector.

Why is it important for you to fill out this survey?

Farmers and seed growers – especially those that practice organic and ecological farming – are underrepresented at the SEED-RM WG. It is absolutely essential that farmers, seed growers, and others who want to see a resilient seed system provide their input. Without your input, we risk essential protections for farmers against bad quality seed, as well as farmers’ abilities to access the varieties they need.

Through the participatory plant breeding and seed conservation work of The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, people have had the opportunity to express a wide range of perspectives on seed policy. These are commonly emerging themes:

● Our seed system should be led by farmers.
● We need to support participatory variety development for agro-ecological production in order to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
● Farmers should be supported to grow and distribute heritage varieties and diverse landraces that provide benefits for seed diversity, crop rotations, and food security.
● Seeds are the legacy of countless generations of hard work by farmers and seed stewards – they belong to everyone and in the public domain.

We see the results of this consultation process as directly impacting these areas and are calling for wide farmer participation to ensure your priorities are included. A just and resilient seed system will require much more than regulatory amendments to become a reality; however, taking 15 – 20 minutes to make your voice heard through this survey is a crucial step.

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