Crop Biotech Update

Canada Updates Guidance To Promote Transparency of Gene Editing Regulatory Process

May 24, 2023

On May 3, 2023, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Marie Claude-Bibeau announced that Canada updated its guidance for seed regulations to strengthen the country's transparency measures for plant breeding innovation. Plant breeders now have better access to new seed varieties that can aid agricultural food security and climate change resiliency.

The updated measures can be found in Part V of the Seeds Regulations, which states that Canada will create a Government-Industry Steering Committee on Plant Breeding Innovations Transparency whose objective is to facilitate discussions about gene-edited products that are projected to enter the market. The measures will also help execute the expansion of Seeds Canada's Canadian Variety Transparency Database to promote the transparency of information on individual seed varieties. This will be overseen by the Canadian Variety Transparency Database to ensure the completeness and robustness of the database.

Agriculture supporters welcomed the move from the Ministry. "The Canadian Federation of Agriculture supports the release of CFIA's new guidance on plant breeding innovation and ongoing commitment to transparency for producers. This will ultimately help Canadian farmers access new plant varieties that are more resilient to pests and extreme weather events and support our food security and sustainability objectives," said Keith Currie, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. CFIA stands for Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The new measures also direct the Canadian government to provide funds for the review of the country's organic standards to protect the integrity of the organic sector. Both initiatives are advantageous to farmers when making informed decisions about their produce.

Read the announcement from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for more details.

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