Notice to Registered Seed Establishments, November 2017

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Licensed Operators and Accredited Graders at Registered Seed Establishments (RSEs) are asked to review the following information provided by the Seed Section of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

  • CFIA website recently updated seed images and fact sheets for approximately 100 weed seeds (including the Weed Seeds Order, 2016 and the CFIA regulated pest plants).
  • The interim arrangement for the Authorized Exporter Program was made permanent on Sept 1, 2017. As such, seed exporters continue to have the option to export seed lots (intended for certification pursuant to the OECD Seed Schemes) sampled by CFIA official seed samplers and tested by a private seed laboratory that has been approved by the CFIA for this purpose. To exercise this option a seed exporter should contact his/her local CFIA office.
  • Please be aware that both kernels, fully infected with ergot and those partially infected with ergot, must be classified as ergot bodies and counted towards the standard for ergot bodies in Schedule I to the Seeds Regulations (i.e., the Grade Tables). This may result in a lower than expected grade for hybrid cereals as the presence of partially infected kernels appears to be higher in some of these hybrid crop kinds versus their non-hybrid counterparts.
  • Seeds in small packets, intended for home gardens, and imported by home gardeners or by commercial businesses, must comply with the requirements of the Seeds Act and Seeds Regulations (the Regulations).
  • Several common errors delay the release of imported seed. Please ensure that: the unique lot number identifier appears on all import documents (e.g., invoice, import declaration, Seed Analysis Certificate (SAC)); the information on the SAC meets Canadian standards (e.g., WSO, correct working sample weights); imports of seed of crop types listed in Schedule III of the Regulations are of a variety registered in Canada (unregistered varieties cannot be imported except for limited purposes specified in the Regulations); and the end use of the seed is clearly stated (i.e., sale, research, conditioning or seeding by the importer). Including the importer's fax number or email address is optional, but may help speed the issuance of a Notice of Import Conformity.
  • As per the Regulations, pedigreed graded seed sold in Canada must be in fastened (sealed), tamper-proof containers unless the seed is delivered by an establishment registered as a bulk storage facility (BSF) under Part IV of the Regulations.
  • Only Approved Conditioners can treat pedigreed seed prior to sale. The seed may be graded based on a germination test performed on a treated or untreated seed sample representing the seed lot. In either case, the seed offered for sale must meet the germination standard for the labelled grade of that seed at the time of sale. If the treatment is not applied to the whole lot, the grade must be based on untreated seed.
  • The CFIA is moving forward with amendments to the Regulations that will require treated seed to be labelled with information about the pest control product in both English and French. A two-year coming into force period is anticipated to enable stakeholders to prepare for compliance with the new regulations.
  • In 2017, approximately 96% of seed crop inspections were delivered by Authorized Seed Crop Inspection Services (ASCIS). The CFIA offered training in 2017 for crop kinds listed in Section 2 and 3 (cereals and pulses) of the Canadian Seed Growers' Association (CSGA) Circular 6, hybrid corn, hybrid canola and plots.
  • A searchable downloadable database of varieties registered in Canada, is available.
  • Questions can be directed through the CFIA website or by email at
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