The Agricultural Growth Act: What it means for the Canadian agricultural industry

Changes made through Agricultural Growth Act are expected to benefit Canada's agriculture sector through increased access to new crop varieties and expanded trade opportunities with international partners.

Stronger intellectual property rights for plant breeders

Among the key changes in the Agricultural Growth Act are amendments to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act, which are expected to encourage investment in plant breeding in Canada and provide greater access to foreign seed varieties for farmers.

The Agricultural Growth Act allows the Government to move towards ratifying the UPOV '91 Convention. The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is an international body that sets the standards for plant breeders' rights, encouraging the development of new plant varieties for the benefit of society. Plant breeders can apply for protective rights in each country and are granted the level of protection legislated in that country. Many plant breeders only sell their new plant varieties in countries that meet the level of protection provided by UPOV ‘91. Ratification of UPOV '91 by Canada will make Canada more competitive and provide greater access to new plant varieties for Canadian farmers.

Learn more about changes to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act and UPOV '91.

Access to the latest scientific research

The Agricultural Growth Act expands the authorities of the Feeds Act, Fertilizers Act, Health of Animals Act and Seeds Act to include the consideration of international scientific research when assessing new agricultural products. This authority will allow international reviews of scientific research, data and analysis to be considered along with information from Canadian studies.

Less red tape and regulatory burden on producers

Changes to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act will improve accessibility to intellectual property protection for new plant varieties. Changes to the Feeds Act and Fertilizers Act will allow the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), through regulation, to license or register operators and facilities, rather than the lengthier product-by-product approach. This provides an alternative, effective and timely approach to regulating the production of agricultural products that meet Canada's rigorous safety standards.

Consistent regulations

Updates to the statutes under the Agricultural Growth Act mirror provisions in the recently passed Safe Food for Canadians Act. A consistent set of requirements and authorities across all agricultural and agri-food products will allow for more thorough inspection and enforcement. The updates also allow the CFIA to standardize some regulations which could lead to increased regulatory compliance.

Stronger authority for our inspectors

Under the Agricultural Growth Act, CFIA inspectors will now be able to immediately order agricultural products that do not meet CFIA requirements out of Canada. Currently, illegal products are seized pending a negotiated solution or court action by the CFIA. This change will provide the CFIA with stronger tools to fulfil its mandate to protect Canada's plant and animal resource base and to provide additional reassurance to Canadian farmers that imported agricultural products meet our requirements.

Expanded global market opportunities

Plant breeders in other countries already benefit from being part of the UPOV' 91 Convention, and many plant breeders only sell their new varieties in countries that meet the level of protection provided by UPOV '91. Moving to UPOV '91 will put Canada in line with its trading partners, will open Canadian markets to more investment in plant breeding, and will provide Canadian farmers with access to more plant varieties. Other authorities in Bill C-18 will provide for the certification of exports, helping support global opportunities for Canada's agricultural sector.

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