Seed World

Ontario Seed Growers Leave the Door Open to Seeds Canada Membership

You might say the Ontario Seed Growers’ Association (OSGA) is taking a wait-and-see approach.

At its virtual annual meeting this week, OSGA members passed a resolution calling on the organization to “continue its collaborative work with all of our industry partners and monitor the organizational establishment of Seeds Canada to join as an affiliate member of the organization.”

Shannon Bieman, OSGA president, says the resolution is intended to keep communication open between the OSGA and Seeds Canada, which went live on Monday and was formed through the amalgamation of the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA), Canadian Seed Institute (CSI), Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC) and Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA).

“What we were trying to get across with that resolution was to offer the opportunity to encourage open communication and transparency, and work with Seeds Canada as much as we can. Ontario seed growers recognize the importance of working together to make a better industry,” Bieman said.

“We want to do what’s best for our membership, and if that means ultimately becoming a Seeds Canada member down the road, then that’s what we will pursue. But at this time, we’ve decided to simply leave the door open and keep that communication going.”

Provincial seed grower groups are currently deciding how to approach the issue of participation in Seeds Canada, after the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) voted down a proposal last year to be a part of the Seeds Canada amalgamation effort.

“Ontario seed growers recognize the importance of working together to make a better industry.”

At its virtual annual meeting last month, Saskatchewan Seed Growers’ Association (SSGA) members voted down a resolution that called for the SSGA to become an affiliate member of Seeds Canada, with some SSGA members expressing concern that joining Seeds Canada could be viewed as an endorsement of the new national seed organization.

Other SSGA members said that Seeds Canada should be given time to organize itself before SSGA considers joining, with some members recommending revisiting the issue in a year’s time.

Bieman said the resolution put forth this week at the OSGA meeting serves as a sort of middle ground.

“Ontario seed growers know they have to have open ears and be willing to look at new ideas and new opportunities in order to be progressive. There’s still concern about the affiliate membership and the fact that the OSGA wouldn’t have a vote,” Bieman said.

Under Seeds Canada’s bylaws, affiliate members have no voting rights except in exceptional circumstances, but candidates for governance positions may be drawn from this class.

Bieman added that a presentation given by Seeds Canada board members Ellen Sparry and Quentin Martin did a good job in making clear the potential benefits of the OSGA possibly becoming a Seeds Canada member down the road.

“We did encourage our members to make sure that they are reaching out to Seeds Canada, the executive as well as the rest of the Seeds Canada board, to ask questions if they have any and to stay at the forefront of these changes and pay attention to what is happening in the industry,” Bieman added.