Seed World

Heading into a New Decade of Seed Innovation

Liz Lumsden
Liz Lumsden
Communication & Members Services Manager, Canadian Seed Trade Association

2019 was a big year for the CSTA and the seed industry at large. We have moved forward on some key issues for our members, and are excited to provide an update on what we’ve done so far as well as outlining what we are hoping to do next. We are looking forward to another great decade of seed industry innovation!

Our association made great progress in 2019 in a number of areas:

  • Seed Synergy: Together with our five other industry associations, we have forged ahead on this complex and challenging file to make real change for the entire industry. In the summer, the Synergy partners brought in a dedicated team from StrategyCorp to guide and manage the transition to the new organization. With many details still to be worked out, we know that new organization will be based on principles of transparency, accountability and equitable representation of clearly defined stakeholders. We are targeting member votes on the new organization in 2020. Stay tuned for more information and an opportunity to add your voice to the design process.
  • Value Creation: Last year, we achieved what many thought was impossible: consensus on a preferred value creation model, the Seed Variety Use Agreement or SVUA. Understanding of and support for this model continues to grow, and you can visit to find out more.
  • Plant Breeding Innovation: We are working closely with our Seed Synergy partners and the Canada Grains Council to address the uncertainty that products of plant breeding innovation will face with the Canadian Plants with Novel Traits (PNT) system. The minister of agriculture agreed, in 2018, to improve the system and requested that an industry-government dialogue begin, and since then key industry and government representatives have been engaged in finding a way forward for innovation in Canada.
  • Government Relations: CSTA has been telling our stories, raising awareness and lobbying on behalf of our members throughout the past year including a federal lobby day on Parliament Hill and progress with provincial governments in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

Now, we must look ahead to 2020. A busy agenda begins and I’m happy to report we are making significant inroads in these major areas:

  • Building Public Trust: CSTA’s Better Seed, Better Life public awareness campaign is ramping up in 2020. CSTA has developed a presentation about the essential role of seed in people’s daily lives, and we are challenging our members to give this presentation to their organization, industry partners and the public to help spread the message. It’s a great opportunity for you to get involved and help make a difference.
  • Seed Regulatory Modernization: The federal government plans to modernize the Seed Regulations in the fall of 2021, as they apply to seeds imported, conditioned, stored, tested, labelled, exported and sold in Canada. These amendments would aim to reduce overlap and redundancy, increase responsiveness to industry changes, address gaps, and provide clarity and flexibility. These changes have an important impact on the functions and services delivered by the new national seed organization (NSO).

Stay tuned in the weeks and months ahead as we forge ahead in making a better industry for our members and for all Canadians!