Model Operating Procedures
Conflict Resolution

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In the event that a stakeholder identifies a situation where the RC has failed to live up to the spirit or the letter of the MOPs guidance document, they have recourse to present the issue with a detailed explanation to the Chief, VRO or the Registrar. The VRO has oversight in this area and the Registrar with delegated authority from the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will address any shortcomings, oversight or failure to act in accordance with the MOPs directly with the RC in question. The purpose will be to bring the committee into compliance as soon as possible and to correct any wrongs that may have been committed.

One of the roles of the VRO is to monitor RC meetings and avoid this type of situation from the beginning. If the VRO observes actions or governance out of compliance with the letter and spirit of the MOPs, the office will work directly with the committee to find a solution to bring the committee back into compliance in a timely manner. This is part of the oversight role of the CFIA in the variety registration system.

Glossary of Terms

A proponent is the person responsible for coordinating all of the pre-registration activity required (including providing recommending committees with all that they require) to meet the requirements of variety registration. This term is used pre-registration at the recommending committee level. It refers to the entities the committees deal with (e.g., typically public breeding or private breeding entities or their agents submitting varieties or test data of varieties to the committee(s) seeking evaluation and recommendation for registration).

An applicant is clearly defined in the Seeds Regulations (Part III, section 63) and is synonymous with what we refer to as the "Canadian Representative" in our application forms. The applicant may be the same person the committee dealt with as the "proponent" but it is not a requirement. It is the designated Canadian Representative who upon registration becomes the registrant that is important to the VRO. The applicant (syn Canadian Representative) must be a resident of Canada. They are the party held accountable by the CFIA for the registration of a given variety in Canada and they are the sole point of contact except where the Breeder and the Canadian Representative are not the same. In this instance, the VRO deals with both parties on issues of registration and cancellation of registration.

Variety registration is a condition for import and/or sale of seed of a variety in Canada under the Seeds Act (for crop kinds listed in Schedule III of the Seeds Regulations). The eligibility requirements for variety registration are clearly identified in the Seeds Regulations 67.1 (a) to (m) and the actual process of registration is defined in 68. (1), (2), (3). In short, the act of registration is the entering of the variety into the Register of Varieties by the Registrar and the issuance of a registration certificate with a registration number to the registrant. To get to this stage, the VRO verifies the variety meets the definition of a variety (distinguishable, uniform, stable), that the variety name is suitable, that the variety exhibits merit (where this applies), that all of the information required for eligibility is met and provided, that there is a reference seed sample of the variety that will define it for its commercial life, and that there is a recommending committee recommendation (where applicable). In practice, registration occurs at the point at which VRO issues a registration number for a given variety, notifying the Canadian Representative the same day. The registration certificate, signed by the Registrar follows at a later date.

Appendix I: Authority provided under section 65.1 in the Seeds Regulations
(To be included in all operating procedures documents)

Recommending Committees

65.1 (1) The Minister shall approve, for Canada or a region of Canada, a committee to establish and administer protocols for testing the varieties of a species, kind or type of crop listed in Part I of Schedule III, to determine the merit of the varieties and to make recommendations respecting their registration if

  1. the members of the committee have the knowledge and expertise required to establish and administer testing protocols for varieties of that species, kind or type of crop;
  2. the members of the committee have the knowledge and expertise required to determine the merit of the varieties of that species, kind or type of crop;
  3. the testing protocols established by the committee are appropriate for that species, kind or type of crop, are practical and are based on scientific principles;
  4. the procedures established by the committee for determining the merit of varieties of that species, kind or type of crop are appropriate for that purpose and are based on scientific principles;
  5. the operating procedures established by the committee will ensure that its functioning is transparent and that varieties are dealt with in a fair and consistent manner; and
  6. no other committee is approved as a recommending committee for that species, kind or type of crop for Canada or the region.

(2) The Minister shall approve, for Canada or a region of Canada, a committee to establish and administer protocols for testing the varieties of a species, kind or type of crop listed in Part II of Schedule III and to make recommendations respecting their registration if

  1. the members of the committee have the knowledge and expertise required to establish and administer testing protocols for varieties of that species, kind or type of crop;
  2. the testing protocols established by the committee are appropriate for that species, kind or type of crop, are practical and are based on scientific principles;
  3. the operating procedures established by the committee will ensure that its functioning is transparent and that varieties are dealt with in a fair and consistent manner; and
  4. no other committee is approved as a recommending committee for that species, kind or type of crop for Canada or the region.

(3) In carrying out its functions, a recommending committee must apply the testing protocols it has established, act in accordance with its operating procedures and, in the case of a committee approved under subsection (1), apply the procedures it has established to determine the merit of varieties.

(4) For the purposes of subsections 67(1) and 67.1(1), the recommendation of a recommending committee must be based on the following:

  1. in the case of a species, kind or type of crop that is listed in Part I of Schedule III, the results of testing the variety in accordance with the relevant testing protocols and a determination of whether the variety has merit; and
  2. in the case of a species, kind or type of crop that is listed in Part II of Schedule III, the results of testing the variety in accordance with the relevant testing protocols.

SOR/2009-186, s. 2.

Appendix II: Eligibility Requirements for Variety Registration
(To be included in all operating procedures documents)

67.1 (1) A variety of a species, kind or type of crop that is listed in Part I of Schedule III is eligible for registration if

  1. the variety has merit;
  2. the variety has been tested in accordance with the testing protocols of a recommending committee;
  3. the recommending committee has made a recommendation respecting registration of the variety;
  4. the variety or its progeny is not detrimental to human or animal health and safety or the environment when grown and used as intended;
  5. the representative reference sample of the variety does not contain off-types or impurities in excess of the Association's standards for varietal purity;
  6. the variety meets the standards for varietal purity established by the Association or these Regulations for a variety of that species, kind or type;
  7. the variety is distinguishable from all other varieties that were or currently are registered in Canada;
  8. the variety name is not a registered trademark in respect of the variety;
  9. the variety name is not likely to mislead a purchaser with respect to the composition, genetic origin or utility of the variety;
  10. the variety name is not likely to be confused with the name of a variety that was or currently is registered;
  11. the variety name is not likely to offend the public;
  12. no false statement or falsified document and no misleading or incorrect information have been submitted in support of the application for registration; and
  13. the information provided to the Registrar is sufficient to enable the variety to be evaluated.

(2) A variety of a species, kind or type of crop that is listed in Part II of Schedule III is eligible for registration if the requirements for eligibility set out in paragraphs (1) (b) to (m) are met.

(3) A variety of a species, kind or type of crop that is listed in Part III of Schedule III is eligible for registration if the requirements for eligibility set out in paragraphs (1) (d) to (m) are met.

Other Items to address in procedures document appendices:

  • History and Background of the committee (optional)
    • Date of creation
    • Committee name changed over the period
    • Change in the administrative process, membership etc.
    • Major change in the procedures document
  • Code of Conduct
  • Terms of Reference
  • Membership of < name of the committee >
  • List of trial locations
  • List of check varieties
  • Application form for entry
  • Assessment criteria, including official test methods, where applicable
  • Formula for data analysis
  • Glossaries
    • Registration
    • Variety
    • Variety registration
    • Merit
    • Proponent/ applicant
    • Coordinator
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