Weed Seeds Order Review Secondary Consultation Document
2.0 Rationale for Change

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The CFIA is proposing a revision of the WSO at this time for several reasons.

Control of the introduction of new weeds is important to Canada's economy and environment. Established weed species increase the cost of crop production. Weedy species introduced into natural areas can reduce biodiversity and habitat. Weeds present as contaminants of seed represent a high risk pathway, as they are placed in an optimum environment for survival.

Prevention of the introduction of new weed species is the most desirable form of control. New species intentionally or unintentionally established in Canada may result in decreased markets for Canadian products. Many of Canada's trading partners are increasing, or in the process of increasing, regulation of weeds as there is an increasing global consideration of plants as pests.

The definition of Class 1 Prohibited Noxious weed species is closely aligned with the International Plant Protection Convention's (IPPC) definition of a quarantine pest in accordance with Canada's international obligations. Each species listed as a Prohibited Noxious weed should, therefore, meet the definition of a quarantine pest or a regulated non-quarantine pest. Stakeholders also have expressed a desire for the clarification of the definitions for all the classes of weed species within the WSO. These definitions are CFIA policy and will remain outside of regulations.

Over time, the biological distributions of species change and new potential species of concern are identified. As a result, it is necessary to review the WSO periodically and make necessary changes in order to ensure that the Order remains effective at prohibiting species of concern and controlling the spread of weed species through seed. The WSO was last updated in 2005; therefore, a review of the WSO was needed in order to remove species that no longer meet the definition of a Prohibited Noxious weed species, add new species of concern to the WSO and review the classifications of all species currently listed in the WSO. Changes are required to the current status of listed species as some have been listed for decades and some are now considered crops in regions of the country.

The WSO may be considered to have primarily an agricultural context; however, the Seeds Act applies to all seeds and non-agricultural products must comply with its regulations. Seed products marketed as wildflower mixtures, wildlife baiting mixtures and land reclamation mixtures, for example, are subject to the Seeds Regulations and the WSO. Species listed in the WSO must continue to address the threat of weeds and invasive plants in these market segments.

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