Seed World

In 2023, Canada Made a Huge Decision Regarding Gene Editing

The Canadian seed sector celebrated May 3 as an historic day for Canadian agriculture, after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued its updated guidance concerning the use of new breeding techniques like gene editing.

According to the updated guidance, announced by Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, new plant varieties and products developed through gene editing will not face additional regulatory hurdles so long as they don’t contain foreign DNA and don’t express a commercially viable herbicide tolerance trait.

It’s what the seed industry has waited for for the past several years as seed developers are eager to utilize gene editing to develop new varieties of crops.

“Any time governments make science-based and evidence-based policy decisions, that supports Canada’s innovation strategy. If we’re not supporting innovation based on the science, then we’re setting ourselves up to fail. What this announcement says is that all of these new technologies are just simply an advancement of existing mutagenic technologies,” said Stuart Smyth, agri-food innovation expert at the University of Saskatchewan.