Seed World

The CFIA’s Winter SRM Survey Closes Today. We’ve Interviewed Important Thought Leaders but What Matters is YOUR Opinion

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Seed Regulatory Modernization winter survey closes on May 1. There’s still time to fill it out, and you can read the survey responses from the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) and Seeds Canada to get an idea of the two organizations’ approaches to SRM.

Marc Zienkiewicz, Seed World Canada Editor

I’ve interviewed numerous thought leaders on the topic of SRM over the past several years, but what’s most important is what YOU think about the process of regulatory modernization and where it’s going.

The SRM process has been a long one, and is set to wrap up either next year or in 2026. As with any effort to modernize regulations, the process has been controversial but also enlightening. I’ve learned things about our seed system I didn’t know before, and some big ideas have been put forward.

Those big ideas include Seed’s Canada proposal for what it’s now calling the Inclusive Seed Standards Body (ISSB), which it says will be a unified seed policy and standards body providing progressive and continuous improvement will support industry progress and seed development nationwide.

“This initiative is designed to benefit not only Seeds Canada’s members but also a broader spectrum of stakeholders. We wanted to ensure that we engaged with individuals outside of our usual circles, avoiding the trap of an echo chamber. Thus, we sought someone who could reach out to those who might not typically participate in our meetings or calls,” Seeds Canada Policy Director Lauren Comin told me recently.

Seeds Canada’s aim is for the proposed advisory committee process to encompass perspectives from those who might still be affected but aren’t actively engaged with Seeds Canada. This ensures a more comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand, Comin says.

“Additionally, we’re exploring processes beyond the seed regulatory space, recognizing that advisory groups like this have been successfully utilized in agriculture and other sectors.”

Of course, the CSGA has a big vision of its own, with its idea for what it terms the Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

“We envision a lightweight organizational-based advisory committee. Representatives from organizations with vested interests in our seed and certification system would sit on this committee, ensuring diverse perspectives are considered without adding unnecessary bureaucracy,” CSGA Executive Director Doug Miller told me during a recent Seed World Canada webinar on CSGA’s SRM vision.

“However, it’s crucial to identify the problem we’re trying to solve. Our certification system already involves the entire value chain, and our standards undergo regular review for continual improvement. Therefore, we must focus on addressing the real barriers to progress rather than creating solutions for non-existent problems.”

As the SRM process gets closer to its end, it’s crucial that seed industry stakeholders take part in the survey and make their own personal views known. To help you out, check out the following resources and decide for yourself how the seed system of the future should work.

CFIA Winter SRM Survey

Seeds Canada Issues Responses to CFIA Survey, Calls for a More Forward-Thinking Approach to SRM

Can CSGA’s Doug Miller Handle the SRM Heat? Watch Now!

Just the Facts: Our Spicy SRM Webinar Condensed for Quick Reading

Seeds Canada’s Response to the CFIA Survey Questions

Winter 2024 SRM Consultation Survey: CSGA’s Complete Q&A Document