Seed Synergy 44 | Advancing Seed in Alberta IF the seed regulatory system were an ocean, the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project can be thought of as a ship built to navigate that vast and sometimes perilous sea. Aboard that ship are members of all six associations that make up the seed industry — the Canadian Seed Institute (CSI), Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA), CropLife Canada, Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC), Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA), and the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA). The project is currently developing a proposal for an industry-led and government enabled “Next Generation Seed System” in which competition encourages choice for producers and supports seed quality, while maintaining the commitment to safety that has always been inherent to the seed system in Canada. For CSGA executive director Glyn Chancey, the Government of Canada’s decision to support the creation of the CSGA in 1904 laid the foundation for the “industry led, government-enabled seed system” vision underpinning Seed Synergy, which seeks to develop a next-generation seed system for the country. “The problem was we didn’t update our vision back then for how the seed regulatory system was going to evolve. While CSGA, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and CSI have managed well to sustain and improve the current system, the seed industry has long needed a new vision, new investment and possibly new institutions to support its goals.” That vision is taking form, and discussions on what industry would like a next-generation seed regulatory system to look like are ongoing. In this regard, some important conversations took place at the CSGA’s annual meeting in Halifax, N.S., back in July, where a broad cross-section of industry stakeholders met to hear a progress report and provide feedback on work to that point. “As it broadens its basis of support, the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project is showing its potential to build consensus across industry and government for a more market-driven and industry-led seed regulatory system,” Chancey says. “In this context, CSGA sees an opportunity to contribute more fully and do so in partnership with others. We’re changing, but in a way that will remind people of the importance of what it is we do.” The Seed Synergy project kicked into full gear after a series of annual meetings in 2016, at which the boards of all six associations gathered to discuss the project and how to move forward. It will culminate in a series of recommendations that will be provided to the CFIA for the end of 2018, a tentative date set in March when the CFIA announced it is opening up Canada’s Seeds Regulations for review in order to “reduce overlap and redundancy, increase responsiveness to industry changes, address gaps, weaknesses and inconsistencies, and provide The CSGA and CSTA are two of six associations working to revamp how the industry functions. THE NEXT-GENERATION SEED SYSTEM Glyn Chancey, CSGA executive director Dave Carey, CSTA executive director