Q: I’ve heard a lot about Seed Synergy over the past number of months. What is it, and does the CPTA play a role?
A: The Seed Synergy Collaboration Project is designed to create a next-generation seed regulatory system for the country. It is being undertaken by our industry’s six associations — the Canadian Seed Trade Association, Canadian Seed Growers’ Association, CropLife Canada, Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada, Canadian Seed Institute, and the Canadian Plant Technology Agency.
CPTA’s input into the project has been crucial to ensure a modernized regulatory system has protection for intellectual property and Plant Breeders’ Rights embedded into its very fabric — especially with regard to farm-saved and common seed. The process used with regard to common/farm-saved seed is not structured with the rigour of the pedigreed seed system. Questions surrounding how common/farm-saved seed is addressed in a next-generation seed system are currently under consideration.
The Seed Synergy project is expected to culminate in the publication of a white paper in 2018, which will be presented to the federal government for consideration. For full information on the project visit SeedSynergy.net.
Q: How is CPTA representing its members’ needs at Seed Synergy?
A: Organizations and regulatory systems need to be responsive to the people.
CPTA represents its members by advocating for a new regulatory system that is responsive to the very people it is impacting. Enhanced access to accurate, relevant information for example. Simple and easy coordination between organizations or departments. CPTA helps ensure that delivery of services is top of mind during Seed Synergy discussions.
Q: How does Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) legislation affect me as a producer/processor/grain handler/retailer?
A: This is a common question and there are many specific variations of it. PBR legislation ensures continued investment in new and improved seed varieties for Canadian farmers. It also puts Canada on equal footing with other countries, keeping Canadian farmers competitive in the global market. At the same time, producers need to be aware of their responsibilities to ensure they’re in full compliance with PBR legislation. For full information visit PBRFacts.ca.
Q: How can I as a plant breeder explain intellectual property to others?
A: Intellectual property is a deal society makes with innovators. It is quite simple: an innovator is granted a limited amount of time to be the sole seller of their technology, so that other people can look at what the innovator did and improve upon it. Our society values innovators and wants them to be rewarded for their work, but we also want to have a system where others who want to innovate can do so and create something better. The concept of intellectual property is what leads to new, better varieties for Canadian producers.
Q: As a producer, I have questions about PBR, but I seem to get a different answer depending who I ask. How do I get good information?
A: PBR has been in place for 25 years and “I did not know” is no longer a suitable excuse. PBRFacts.ca is a great resource for definitive information on Plant Breeders’ Rights, and what you can and cannot do under the legislation. Through the Seed Synergy project, the seed industry is actively working to ensure it provides a consistent message with regard to Plant Breeders’ Rights. You can contact the CPTA as well by calling us toll-free at 1-866-450-4116 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.