Seed World

Perspective: Questions and Answers | March 2014


Questions and Answers

Three months into 2014, and the alternative service delivery of seed crop inspection is officially a reality. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been busy licensing private seed crop inspection providers. While the full transition to an authorized seed crop inspection system will take a few years, the long-term goal is to transfer most seed crop inspection delivery to licensed services.

Many seed growers have expressed concern with the upcoming changes and questions linger. Read below for answers to some of your frequently asked questions.

Q: What is the major change to the process?

A: Before applying to the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association for seed crop inspections, seed growers will need to identify and designate an Authorized Seed Crop Inspection Service on their application. Growers will be able to submit an online or hard copy application for crop certifications to the CSGA. To avoid late fees, it’s the grower’s responsibility to ensure application deadlines are met. Crops designated under this process for 2014 are cereals and pulses, as well as specialty crops and flaxseed.

Q: When will we know who the Authorized Seed Crop Inspection Service providers are?

A: In early February, CFIA released a revised list of ASCIS providers. Posted on the CSGA website at, the list outlines geographic regions and crops. “Seed growers can use the list to make initial enquiries as to the services that are offered and associated fees,” says Rachael Burdman, CFIA media relations. “When applying to the CSGA for seed crop certification later this year, seed growers will have to identify the ASCIS they have chosen as their service provider.”

“It appears there will be 24 service providers across Canada,” adds Dale Adolphe, CSGA executive director. “It varies from region to region. Twenty-three of the 24 have already been authorized by CFIA and they are now beginning to sign the necessary service contract with CSGA.”

Adolphe encourages seed growers to make contact with service providers operating in their region and confirm which service provider they will use and designate on the application to CSGA. “It is important to note CFIA is still available to perform crop inspections on plots and non-section 2 and 3 crop kinds,” he says.

Each January, a list of providers will be placed on the website along with their regions, crop kinds and pedigree classes their inspectors are qualified to inspect.


Seed growers must now designate an Authorized Seed Crop Inspection Service on their application.

Q: Will the number of providers be sufficient for 2014 and will they be adequately trained?

A: According to Burdman, the number of licensed seed crop inspectors for 2014 will meet the necessary demand to conduct effective crop inspections. “As of February 2014, there are 174 LSC inspectors who were trained and evaluated by CFIA in 2013,” says Burdman.

However, Adolphe explains that training on cereals and pulses — Circular 6 section 2 and 3 crop kinds — was untaken in 2013. “There are now more than 170 inspectors newly trained or previously employed as seasonal/casual CFIA inspectors in past years,” he says. “This appears adequate but the crucial element is the inspectors’ locations and ability to move around the country. The Maritimes, eastern Quebec and eastern Ontario are a little shy on inspector numbers.”

Q: Are the fees changing for 2014?

A: CSGA fees are not changing for 2014, says Adolphe, but inspection fees charged by service providers are certainly up from the 75 cents an acre charged by CFIA in past years. “Inspection fees vary from service provider to service provider,” he says. “Seed growers need to contact service providers to learn the specifics of inspection fees charged by the service provider of choice,” he says. “For CFIA inspection fees, the basic fee of $100 and the inspection fee of 75 cents per acre will change in 2014.”

Adolphe says CSGA will continue to collect assessments for CFIA inspections (plots and non-section 2 and 3 crops). “That assessment will be $300 per account and $3.10 per acre. This reflects a three- to four-fold increase from previous years,” he says.

Q: Do 2014 applications still go through the members’ area of the CSGA member-only site?

A: Yes, and CSGA is encouraging seed growers to apply online. “In 2013, we received about 27 per cent of the applications online,” says Adolphe.

Q: Will CFIA perform inspections on section 2 and 3 crop kinds if a seed grower is unable to receive service from a service provider?

A: In the event that a grower has been refused by all authorized seed crop inspection services in his or her region, then CFIA will, as resources permit, conduct seed crop inspections for Foundation, Registered and Certified fields of section 2 and 3 crop kinds. Growers are being encouraged by CSGA to have legal contracts and/or agreements in place with their service provider. If, for some reason, the service provider is not able to meet the terms of the contract/agreement and is not able to inspect a seed crop, then CFIA will conduct seed crop inspections for Foundation, Registered and Certified fields of section 2 and 3 crop kinds as resources permit. However, the grower must have attempted to get service from all other ASCIS in his or her region before going through a process to request that the CFIA conduct the inspection.

If a grower has a conflict with their licensed seed crop inspector or a problem with a seed crop inspection report they must first attempt to resolve the situation with their ASCIS. ASCIS are required to have a procedure in place for re-inspections. If a grower is still not in agreement with the re-inspection from their ASCIS, and they have not altered the crop since their last inspection, there will be a process through which the grower will be able to request through the CSGA a complaint inspection to be performed by the CFIA as resources permit. CSGA may collect an assessment to cover the costs of the complaint inspection.

Q: What is CFIA’s role for the remainder of 2014 and into 2015?

A: According to Burdman, in 2014 the CFIA will review a minimum of 10 per cent of the fields inspected by LSC inspectors, audit the ASCIS at the end of the season and review and evaluate the program with the Seed Industry-Government Working Group.

“The CFIA will also provide additional training on cereals and pulses this year and, depending on the results of the roll out of alternative service delivery, the agency might provide training in additional crop kinds in 2015,” says Burdman. “The CFIA will also continue to offer seed crop inspection services for certain seed crops including forages and specialty crops as well as high generation plots.”

Q: What has the response from industry been now that the ASD model has been decided on and is firmly laid out?

A: Most seed sector stakeholders are satisfied that the transition to ASD has been well planned and communicated, and are optimistic that the transition will be successful, says Burdman.