Weed Seeds Order Review Secondary Consultation Document
5.0 CFIA Responses to the WSO Consultation

This page has been archived

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or record-keeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

A1 – Prohibited Noxious Definition

  • 28 of 29 respondents support the Prohibited Noxious definition, or support it with minor modifications.
  • Suggested modifications and comments include:

Stakeholder Comments: It is difficult to say that the species will have an impact when it is not present.

CFIA response: Understood. The Pest Risk Assessment (PRA) process is the best method to try to determine this. The CFIA does PRAs to accepted international standards.

Stakeholder Comments: Dodder may be an exception because it is common, but still a major trade problem for the seed industry.

CFIA response: Understood. Dodder is an exception as it is widespread, yet such a major international trade issue, that an exception is warranted.

Stakeholder Comments: Would like to see a clearer reference to ease of control.

CFIA response: Species considered easily controlled by some growers may be a serious problem for others. Crop type and choice of production system effects ability to control.

Stakeholder Comments: Clarification is required from CFIA, perhaps by expanding the existing footnote or by adding an introductory explanation, about the economic impact of the 'official control' measures required by this definition, and the consequential liabilities of landowners, where Prohibited Noxious weeds are detected.

CFIA response: Legislative power of the WSO and the Seeds Act is not changing.

Prohibited Noxious species that may in the future be listed on the Plant Protection Act List of Plants Regulated by Canada, may be affected by that legislation.

Stakeholder Comments: Would like to have environment listed within the definition.

CFIA response: Rather than include the environment in the definition, the economy is referenced. The IPPC's includes environment and social considerations within their interpretation of potential economic importance.

Stakeholder Comments: Add 'plant health' to include plants that are hosts for insects and disease.

CFIA response: This is not the mandate of the Seeds Act. The CFIA addresses this under the Plant Protection Act.

Stakeholder Comments: Define "visually" - observable by eye or with the help of a microscope.

CFIA response: Seed Graders are not required to have a microscope; however it would not be unreasonable to have this expectation.

Stakeholder Comments: If the definition of Prohibited Noxious in the Weed Seeds Order (WSO) is to be brought in line with the definition of a quarantine pest under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), why not use the IPPC's wording in the WSO definition?

E.g., the species is a pest of potential economic importance to Canada, and not yet present there or present but not widely distributed and being officially controlled [from IPPC's, with footnotes to clarify IPPC's terminology]. The species must be a weed whose presence in seed could affect the value and/or intended use of the seed lot [directly relevant to the WSO]. The species must have identifiable seeds that can be visually distinguished from those of other species, or in rare instances, from entire genera [directly relevant to the WSO].

or (closer to the current version)

E.g., the species is not yet present in Canada or present but not widely distributed and being officially controlled. The species must be a weed whose presence in seed could affect the value and/or intended use of the seed lot, and must be a pest of potential economic importance to Canada [footnote/reference IPPC's definition of economic importance]. The species must have identifiable seeds that can be visually distinguished from those of other species, or in rare instances, from entire genera.
Either way, we propose the following changes to the current definition:

  • Remove sentence 2: "Official control is used to prevent further spread of the species and with the goal of eradicating the species". If official control needs to be defined, this should be included as a footnote, to avoid using definitions inside definitions. It should also follow the IPPC's wording.
  • Remove second half of sentence 3: "and/or could have potential impact on the economy, human health and/or animal health" and instead refer to the IPPC's definition of economic impact.
  • Remove sentence 4: "This determination would be based on a Pest Risk Assessment type process". It is possible that reference to PRA could be made elsewhere in the document, but it does not seem appropriate as part of the definition.

Question: Does "presence" in Canada refer to naturalized populations only, or would presence in trade (e.g., availability in garden centers) count as present? This is particularly important to decide for species moving in the horticultural trade, as it may determine what WSO class they should be included in.

CFIA response: The definition of Prohibited Noxious is not part of the Seeds Regulations. The CFIA is obligated to align with IPPC's principles; however the prohibited noxious definition would not need to mimic IPPC's definitions.

Stakeholder Comments: We feel the requirement that the seeds be visually (morphologically) identifiable is critical for enforcement and should remain part of the official definition.

CFIA response: Agreed.

Stakeholder Comments: Prohibited Noxious list needs to be a controlled and manageable list. Not everything meets the criteria to be Prohibited Noxious even though it may meet the requirements to be invasive.Footnote 1

CFIA response: Agreed. The prohibited noxious list and the regulated plant list do not have to be identical. The WSO refers only to the seed pathway; however, the Least Wanted Plants List includes other pathways.

Stakeholder Comments: Seeds that are already quite common in Canada cannot now be listed as Prohibited or even any type of noxious.Footnote 1

CFIA response: Agreed. The WSO review will result in the removal of species that are common in Canada from prohibited and all noxious classes. The WSO class definitions are not in regulation.

A2 – Primary Noxious Definition

  • 28 of 29 agreed, or agreed with minor modifications.
  • Suggested modifications and comments include:

Stakeholder Comments: Weeds listed must meet the definition.

CFIA response: Understood. A PRA-type process is the best method to try to determine this.

Stakeholder Comments: Would like to see a clearer reference to ease of control.

CFIA response: Species considered easily controlled by some growers may be a serious problem for others. Crop type and choice of production system effects ability to control.

Stakeholder Comments: Would like to have environment listed within the definition.

CFIA response: Rather than include the environment in the definition, the economy is referenced. The IPPC's includes the effects on the environment within their interpretation of potential economic importance.

Stakeholder Comments: Add 'plant health' to include plants that are hosts for insects and disease.

CFIA response: This is not the mandate of the Seeds Act. The CFIA addresses this under the Plant Protection Act.

Stakeholder Comments: Define "visually" - observable by eye or with the help of a microscope.

CFIA response: Seed Graders are not required to have a microscope; however it would not be unreasonable to have this expectation.

Stakeholder Comments: Add Pest Risk Assessment 'if necessary'.

CFIA response: Add a Pest Risk Assessment type process when deemed to be necessary.

Stakeholder Comments: We suggest removing the phrase "and has not reached its full ecological range" and shifting the emphasis to the weed's potential to affect the value of the product. Determining whether a species is widely distributed, or has reached the limits of its full ecological range is difficult and subjective, and raises further questions about how to define ecological range, etc. We feel this is an artificial distinction between Class 2 (Primary Noxious) and Class 3 (Secondary Noxious) and that the true difference between the two classes is the extent to which the weed impacts trade. Current lists of species in the two classes support this, as there are species in Class 2 that are very widespread (e.g., Abutilon theophrasti, Acroptilon repens, Convolvulus arvensis, Raphanus raphanistrum, Silene vulgaris, Sinapis arvensis, Cirsium arvense) and species in Class 3 that are not (e.g., Avena sterilis, Pastinaca sativa).

The IPPC's definition of a regulated non-quarantine pest may help here.

I.e., the species is present in Canada. The species must be a weed whose presence in seed could affect the value and/or intended use of the seed lot ["with an economically unacceptable impact" - IPPC's]. The species must have identifiable seeds that can be visually distinguished from those of other species, or in rare instances, from entire genera.

Either way, we propose the following changes to the current definition:

  • Remove second half of sentence 3: "and/or could have potential impact on the economy, human health and/or animal health" and instead refer to the IPPC's definition of economic impact.
  • Remove sentence 4: "This determination would be based on a Pest Risk Assessment type process".

CFIA response: Distribution of the species is a more objective and science-based approach than value or effect on trade.

Stakeholder Comments: Requirement that the seeds be visually (morphologically) identifiable is critical for enforcement and should remain part of the official definition.

CFIA response: Agreed.

A3 – Secondary Noxious and Noxious Definition

  • 26 of 29 agreed, or agreed with minor modifications.
  • Suggested modifications and comments include:

Stakeholder Comments: There are many invasive species that are not problems in crops but are significant problems in natural areas, including in some cases crop species themselves. Many of these species would be considered in this category so care must be taken to ensure that these species are not allowed. Seed is commonly used for reclamation of disturbed sites in non-crop situations so species in this category must not be invasive.

CFIA response: The PRA process is the best method to determine this.

Stakeholder Comments: Concerned that the proposed definition should be more clearly defined, and should include some of the provisions of the current definition of secondary noxious. Proposes that Secondary Noxious be defined as: "The species is relatively common and widespread in Canada. The species must be a weed whose presence in seed could affect the value and/or intended use of the seed lot. The species must have the potential to be a serious weed in certain crops, but be relatively easy to eradicate with current crop and seed plant management practices.The species must have identifiable seeds that can be visually distinguished from those of other species, or in rare instances, from entire genera."

CFIA response: Species that may be considered easily controlled in one management system or in one environment may be a serious problem elsewhere.

Stakeholder Comments: "The species is [proposed delete text: relatively common] and widespread in Canada".

CFIA response: This will be considered.

Stakeholder Comments: Would like to see a clearer reference to ease of control.

CFIA response: Species considered easily controlled by some growers may be a serious problem for others. Crop type and choice of production system effects ability to control.

Stakeholder Comments: Define "visually" - observable by eye or with the help of a microscope.

CFIA response: Seed Graders are not required to have a microscope; however it would not be unreasonable to have this expectation.

Stakeholder Comments: One problem is that any weed could "affect the value and/or intended use of the seed lot".

Another problem is that, although a certain weed could be considered serious in one area of the country, it is of no consequence in some of its major growing areas.

CFIA response: Yes, it is agreed that any weed could affect the value of the seed lot. The Grade tables address this by listing the number of "total weeds".

Yes, it is agreed that Canada's diversity and various ecological zones creates challenges when controlling weeds, however federal legislation applies to all of Canada.

Stakeholder Comments: Should be re-worded to reflect the true distinction between them (i.e., impact on trade) rather than retaining the current focus on ecological range. The reference to "common" could be retained, if it is used in the sense of being common in seed lots (i.e., would cause too many lots to be downgraded) rather than common/widespread on the landscape, in an ecological sense.

CFIA response: Impact on trade is subjective and subject to change. Environmental distribution is science based.

Stakeholder Comments: The requirement that the seeds be visually (morphologically) identifiable is critical for enforcement and should remain part of the official definition. We also feel it would be beneficial to define "Other Weeds".

CFIA response: Agreed. "Other Weeds" are defined within the Weed Seeds Order 2005 as: "Seeds of all other plants not listed as crop kinds in Schedule I to the Seeds Regulations".

Proposed Definitions:

Prohibited Noxious:

The species is not yet present in Canada, or is present and is under official control as it has not yet reached its full ecological range. Official control is used to prevent further spread of the species and with the goal of eradicating the species. The species must be a weed whose presence in seed could affect the value and/or intended use of the seed lot; and/or could have potential impact on the economy, human health and/or animal health. This determination would be based on a Pest Risk Assessment type process. The species must have identifiable seeds that can be visually distinguished from those of other species, or in rare instances, from entire genera.

Primary Noxious:

The species is present in Canada and has not reached its full ecological range. The species must be a weed whose presence in seed could affect the value and/or intended use of that seed lot; and/or could have a potential impact on the economy, human health or animal health. This determination would be based on a Pest Risk Assessment type process, when deemed to be necessary. The species must have identifiable seeds that can be visually distinguished from those of other species, or in rare instances, from entire genera.

Secondary Noxious:

The species is relatively common and widespread in Canada. The species must be a weed whose presence in seed could affect the value and/or intended use of the seed lot. The species must have identifiable seeds that can be visually distinguished from those of other species, or in rare instances, from entire genera.

B1 – Structure of the WSO

  • Responses were split 50% status quo (14 respondents), 50% some reduction in number of classes (14 respondents)
  • Note that half of the respondents were interested in reducing the number of classes, indicating that there is interest in moving in this direction.
  • The CFIA does not recommend changes to the WSO structure at this time.

B2 – Primary Noxious Applies to all Tables

  • Respondents supported the application of Primary noxious to all tables at a level of 23 of 25 respondents.
  • The CSGA and the Quebec Weed Seeds Order working group supported this proposed change. The Canadian Seed Trade Association objects to this proposed change.
  • Currently, Primary noxious standards do not apply to Grade Table XIV (Lawn or turf mixtures of two or more kinds of seeds) and Table XV (Ground cover mixtures composed of seed of two or more kinds other than cereal mixtures, forage mixtures, and lawn or turf mixtures).
  • Conversely, Class 5 applies to Tables XIV and XV.
  • Several species proposed for reclassification from Prohibited Noxious to Primary Noxious are too harmful to be permitted in Table XIV and Table XV crop types. In addition, seed mixtures planted on un-managed lands often fall under these two tables.
  • As lawn or turf mixtures (Table XIV) are often mowed, the spread of these weed seeds is decreased. However, it can not be assured that Table XIV or Table XV crops will be mowed or managed for weed control. The presence of Primary noxious weeds in these mixtures presents a significant risk for spread of harmful weedy species.
  • Current Primary noxious weeds found most often in CFIA monitoring samples are Couchgrass (Elytrigia repens), Cleavers (Galium aparine), and Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense). These three primary noxious species occur significantly more frequently than other Primary noxious species.
  • CFIA proposes Primary Noxious applies to all Grade Tables.
Date modified: