Procedures for the Registration of Crop Varieties in Canada

July 1, 2012

This updated document will provide information on recent policy and procedural changes required to implemented the amendments to the Seeds Regulstions published in Canada Gazette Part II on June 1, 2009.

As this is an interpretive document to the Seeds Regulations Part III, the wording in this document may not be identical to the wording of the Regulations. Please refer to the Seeds Regulations Part III if you require information on the actual wording.

This document replaces the one published on February 6, 2012

Table of Contents

Section A - General Information

Section B - Application Procedures

Appendices


Section A - General Information

1. Legislation

The Seeds Act and Regulations is the federal legislation governing the testing, inspection, quality and sale of seeds in Canada.

Section 3(1)(b) of the Seeds Act states that:

"no person shall sell or advertise for sale in Canada or import into Canada seed of a variety that is not registered in the prescribed manner."

This document clarifies and explains the legislation specified in Part III of the Seeds Regulations (sections 63 to 77) concerning the application process and the variety registration system. Companion documents include the Variety Registration Application Form, and the appropriate objective description form available for most crop kinds.

Copies of the Seeds Act and Regulations and accompanying Schedules, Procedures, etc. are available on the CFIA web site at: www.inspection.gc.ca./english/plaveg/seesem/seeseme.shtml

2. False or Misleading Statements

It is an offence under the Seeds Act to make a false or misleading statement either verbally or in writing to an official engaged in carrying out his/her duties under this Act. In addition, such statements could result in the refusal or suspension of a registration.

3. Registration

a.

The Seeds Regulations now partitions the list of crop types requiring registration of varieties (Schedule III) into three parts with differing requirements for each part:

  • Part I will continue to require pre-registration testing and merit assessment (see Glossary Section B.7 for a definition of merit), as well as the basic requirements for applications for variety registration,
  • Part II will require pre-registration testing as well as the basic requirements for applications for variety registration,
  • Part III will require basic registration requirements only.

b.

Unless otherwise specified in the certificate of registration, the registration is valid for all provinces and territories of Canada, until such time as the registration is cancelled or suspended, and without any restrictions on the production of seed or commodity.

Regional tests normally provide the basis for national registration. A variety is to be entered into official tests in the area(s) of anticipated adaptation. If it is supported by a recommending committee (see Section A.9) and granted a registration, it may be imported or sold in all of Canada, except where regional restrictions apply.

c.
When a variety is registered, the Registrar issues a certificate of registration to the applicant. Only one certificate is granted per variety.
d.
The List of Varieties which are Registered in Canada is updated and posted on our website quarterly. The list includes varieties that have been granted national, interim, regional, and contract registrations. As part of a commitment to make synonyms publicly available, all known synonyms are listed.
e.
Where a registration is granted that is limited in duration or geographic scope, or is made subject to a documented quality system (see Section A.4), the registrant will receive a notice from the Registrar by registered mail, giving the reasons for the restriction(s) to the registration.

4. Restricted Registrations

4.1 Interim Registration

a.

An interim registration is normally granted for either of two reasons:

  • production of grain or other commodity for market acceptability tests; or
  • emergency/crisis reasons (e.g. disease).
b.
An interim registration gives all the rights/privileges of full registration, but for a specified period of time only.
c.
An interim registration may be granted initially for a period of up to three years, if requested by the recommending committee, provided the appropriate fees are submitted. Otherwise, a variety will be granted a one year registration.
d.
An interim registration may be renewed for additional periods, to a maximum total life of five years.
e.
An interim registration may be granted on a regional basis, or where the registration restricts the manner in which seed or commodity crop is produced (contract registration).
f.
There is no provision for an interim registration to be granted for undefined periods of time such as from planting date to harvest date. In the case of a winter wheat variety, if the applicant wishes to have the issuance of the registration deferred until fall, this must be indicated on the application. This would prevent the registrant from selling any seed of the variety until the variety is registered.
g.
A minimum of one year of evaluation in variety registration trials is required for an interim registration.
h.
Interim registration provides an avenue to proceed with registration of varieties on an interim basis for the reasons stated above (Section B.4a) while the testing and/or merit of the variety is being confirmed. Since varieties of crop kinds listed in Schedule III, Part III do not require testing or merit assessment, varieties of crop kinds listed in Part III are not eligible for interim registration.

4.2 Regional Registration

a.
In certain cases, some varieties may be desirable in one region, but could cause serious problems in other regions. Regional registration may be granted for crop varieties in those instances where the variety poses a potential threat to agriculture in specific regions for reasons such as seed/grain distinguishability, quality, disease or where the variety or its progeny may be detrimental to human or animal health and safety, or the environment.
b.
For regional variety registration purposes, adverse effects are defined as harm to the industry (e.g. feed wheat in milling wheat). Characteristics related to regional adaptation such as lack of winter hardiness does not constitute an adverse effect. It does not include when a variety has not received all of its approvals in potential foreign markets.

4.3 Contract Registration

a.
This category is used for those varieties where the biochemical or biophysical characteristics distinguish it from the majority of registered varieties and where delivery of the resulting commodity into traditional commodity channels may cause an adverse effect on those channels. Thus, a variety must demonstrate the possibility of causing adverse effects if granted an unrestricted registration in order to qualify for this type of registration. Examples of this include high erucic acid rapeseed and canola quality Brassica juncea, or crops modified to produce cosmetic, pharmaceutical or industrial substances. In addition, a quality control system must be developed to address any regulatory concerns under the Canada Grain Act.
b.
The applicant must make available to the Registrar a quality control system that describes fully how any and all potentially adverse effects of the variety will be managed. Appendix X provides further information. In the case of wheat and barley, the Variety Registration Office will share the quality control system with the Canadian Grain Commission to determine its acceptability. Applicants are advised to consult with The Canada Grain Commission (CGC) on their quality control system, as part of the process of developing their quality assurance manual. This should be done prior to the variety being presented to the registration recommending committee.
c.
The applicant must agree in writing to provide information on the distribution, use and disposition of any seed of the variety or any progeny thereof to the Registrar, upon request. This declaration can be found in the application form.
d.
In some circumstances, the production of crops from the variety will be required to be conducted using sufficient isolation distances for the species. This will be required in cases where cross pollination to grain of a traditional commodity type would have a negative effect on the latter crop, or for physical separation to avoid inadvertent mixing of crops.

5. Eligibility Requirements for Registration

Varieties are only eligible for variety registration if:

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

Where a variety is not eligible for registration, the Registrar will send the applicant a notice by registered mail, stating that the registration has been refused and the reasons for the refusal.

6. Suspension and Cancellation (Deregistration) of Registration

The registration of a variety may be suspended or cancelled if requested by the registrant. Prior to requesting the cancellation of a registration, the registrant is required to check the variety's pedigreed seed availability, and/or develop a disposal plan acceptable to seed growers in possession of pedigreed seed of the variety. The Variety Registration Office will publish a list of varieties whose registrations are proposed for cancellation. If our office is notified in writing that pedigreed seed of a specific variety is still available, and there is still commercial interest in the variety, the cancellation of registration will be deferred pending resolution among the interested parties.

Where the registration of a variety has been suspended or cancelled, the Registrar will send the registrant a notice by registered mail stating that the registration has been suspended or cancelled and the reason(s) for the action.

6.1 Suspension

The Registrar will suspend the registration of a variety for up to two years where:

  1. the variety has an adverse effect on Canadian agriculture and the food system due to disease susceptibility or inferior quality;
  2. seed of the variety has demonstrated significant levels of contamination such that the varietal purity of the variety has been jeopardized;
  3. the variety has been altered in such a manner that it differs from the representative legal reference sample;
  4. the variety or its progeny may be detrimental to human or animal health and safety, or the environment;
  5. false or misleading information was submitted as part of the application; or
  6. the variety name was trademarked after registration.

6.2 Cancellation/Deregistration

The Registrar will cancel the registration of a variety where the variety:

  1. has been altered in such a manner as to convert it to a variety that is registered under a different name;
  2. has been found to be indistinguishable from another variety already registered or known to exist;
  3. is of a crop kind or species no longer subject to the variety registration requirements; or
  4. upon the request of the registrant, with the written permission of the breeder of the variety (see Section B.5.14).

The Registrar may also cancel the registration of any variety whose registration has been suspended for two years and where the reasons for the suspension are still valid.

7. Reinstatement of Registration

The Registrar may, upon written request and the submission of appropriate fees, reinstate the registration of a variety. However, there must be just cause for any reinstatement. In the case of reinstatement of permanent registrations cancelled at the request of the registrant, where a considerable period of time has elapsed since the cancellation, the Variety Registration Office may require the involvement of a recommending committee(s) to determine if the variety in question still has merit. In the case of reinstatement of interim registrations, a recommendation for registration from a recognized committee must accompany the request.

Where more than one year has elapsed since the cancellation, a new legal reference sample and an application form will be required to be submitted.

8. Review of Registration Decisions

8.1 Process

Where the Registrar refuses to register a variety, or grants the variety a registration that is restricted regionally or in duration, or where the registration restricts the manner in which seed or commodity crop is produced (contract registration), the applicant may request that the Registrar review the decision. Similar procedures may be used for the review of the suspension or cancellation of registration.

If there is a valid objection to a registration decision, the Registrar may consult with an expert or group of experts knowledgeable in the area of concern who have no interest in the outcome of the review.

The selected expert(s) will recommend a course of action to the Registrar. The recommendations are not binding on the Registrar.

8.2 Procedures for Application for Appeal of a Registration Decision

a.
The appellant must make a written request to the Registrar within 30 days of receipt of notice that the decision was made.
b.
The appellant must include the reasons for requesting the review along with substantiating information or documentation.

9. Recommending Committees

All committees that recommend varieties for registration must be officially recognized by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for this purpose. Appendix XI lists the currently recognized committees. The names and addresses of the contact persons for each recommending committee is available on the CFIA website at: www.inspection.gc.ca/english/plaveg/variet/vartoce.shtml.

The roles and responsibilities of recommending committees to make recommendations for crop kinds in Parts I and II are now clearly defined in the Seeds Regulations.

The recommending committees are responsible for:

For crop kinds listed in Part I:

  • Ensuring members of the committee have the knowledge and expertise required to establish and administer testing protocols and determine the merit for varieties of that species, kind or type of crop;
  • Formulating testing procedures that are appropriate for their crop(s);
  • Making recommendations to the CFIA respecting the merit of the variety;
  • Regularly reviewing the testing procedures to ensure that they reflect acceptable scientific practices;
  • Ensuring that reference varieties are current and fairly represent the requirements of Canadian agriculture; and
  • Establishing operating procedures to ensure that its functioning is transparent and that varieties are dealt with in a fair and consistent manner.

For crop kinds listed in Part II:

  • Ensuring 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;
  • Formulating testing procedures that are appropriate for their crop(s);
  • Making recommendations to the CFIA respecting whether the variety has been tested according to established testing procedures;
  • Regularly reviewing the testing procedures to ensure that they reflect acceptable scientific practices;
  • Ensuring that reference varieties are current and fairly represent the requirements of Canadian agriculture; and
  • Establishing operating procedures to ensure that its functioning is transparent and that varieties are dealt with in a fair and consistent manner.

10. Descriptions of Varieties

As of April 1, 1994, the Variety Registration Office ceased publishing descriptions of registered varieties. Requests for information on specific varieties are referred to the Canadian representative/distributor or breeder.

Detailed information describing the variety is still required as part of the application for crop inspection and variety verification purposes.

11. Confidential Business Information (CBI)

Although pedigree information is required as part of the registration review process, it is not released for hybrid crops as it is considered confidential business information (CBI). Other legitimate forms of CBI may be withheld upon written request of the registrant, and consent of the Registrar. The dissemination of potential CBI is subject to the Access to Information legislation. The withholding of information from dissemination (other than pedigrees of hybrid crops) will require review by Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) officials. The registrant may be required to show just cause under ATIP legislation as to how dissemination would breach confidentiality.

Information on variants/off-types, variety name synonyms, or changes in variety name are considered to be public information and will not be considered CBI.

12. Advertising a Variety Prior to Registration or while under Suspension

a.

Prior to Registration: A company may advertise a variety prior to registration provided all of the following conditions are met:

  • the variety has been supported for registration by a recognized recommending committee (not applicable to varieties of crop kinds in Part III);
  • an application for registration with the appropriate fee has been received by the Variety Registration Office; and
  • the variety advertisement clearly states "registration pending".

Sales may not occur until registration is granted.

b.
While under Suspension: A variety whose registration is suspended may not be advertised.

Section B - Application Procedures

1. General

a.
Applications and supporting documents submitted must be in one of Canada's official languages (English or French). Translations must accompany all documents that are in a language other than English or French.
b.
Appendix I lists the crop kinds for which variety registration applies.
c.
All required fees must accompany applications.

2. How to Apply

a.

Applications for the registration of varieties should be submitted on the Variety Registration Application Form available from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's web site at: www.inspection.gc.ca/english/plaveg/variet/proced/procede.shtml or from the Variety Registration Office. The most recent version of the application form includes a Fee Submission form which should accompany fees. If the applicant chooses to not use the most recent form, the applicant must submit a clear indication of fee submission with the application. These, along with other required supporting documentation and legal reference samples, must be sent to:

Variety Registration Office
Field Crops Division
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A OY9

Tel: 1-800-442-2342
Tel: 613-773-7146
Fax:: 613-773-7144
E-mail: VRO-BEV@inspection.gc.ca

b.
Applications for variety registration must be submitted separately from applications for Plant Breeders' Rights.
c.
Applications are processed on a first come, first served basis.

d.

In the event two applications are received by the Variety Registration Office that, based on all available information, appear to be identical varieties, preference will be given to registering the variety with the first complete application, and having an acceptable legal reference seed sample submitted (see also Section B. 5.1).

Where the two applications are submitted by the same applicant, the applicant will be given the option to select one variety for registration. The registration of the second variety will be held pending resolution of the varietal distinguishability issue.

In the event that two applications are received for two different varieties of the same crop kind with the identical or very similar proposed variety name, preference will be given to the variety with the first complete application (including fees and legal reference sample).

e.

In order to facilitate the evaluation process, applications should be submitted as far as possible in advance of the desired period of sale or importation for sale. The time required to process complete and accurate applications varies depending on the extent of review required, how complete the applications are and the number of applications pending at any one time. Please allow two weeks for the completion of the preliminary review, when a check is done on the acceptability of the legal reference seed sample and required documentation. (A more rapid response may be possible if a facsimile number and/or email address is provided). Allow up to an additional four weeks for the detailed review of applications. (Crop kinds included in Part III may have reduced review time.) After receipt of all required information, a registration decision can normally be made and registration documentation completed within two weeks.

For plants with novel traits, an assessment of the food, feed and environmental safety of the variety by the Food Directorate of Health Canada and the Feed Section and the Plant Biosafety Office (PBO) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency may be required. Also, additional reviews by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) may be required to substantiate claims made with respect to pesticidal tolerances or properties. Such reviews may require up to 120 days. Please see Appendix VII for more details.

3. Incomplete Applications

If an application for registration is incomplete with respect to the submission of fees, the application will not be returned. However, the application will not be considered accepted until fees are submitted and no review will be initiated. If the application is not considered to be received due to lack of fee submission, no advertising of the variety may be undertaken. The order of the review of applications will take into account the day the fees are submitted.

If an application for registration is incomplete with respect to other requirements such as a description of variety, recommendation for registration from a recommending committee, acceptable legal reference sample or photographic slides/ digital images, the application for registration will be retained pending this information.

4. Recognized Applicants

Applications for registration shall be made by a permanent resident of Canada to whom any notice or correspondence under the Seeds Act and Regulations may be sent. This may be a Canadian representative, or in the case of varieties developed in Canada, by the breeder.

Upon registration, the applicant automatically becomes the registrant, unless otherwise specified in the application. For restricted registrations, the registrant must ensure that the terms and conditions of the restrictions are met. As such, the registrant need not be the breeder or owner of the variety.

5. Required Information

Basic Registration Requirements FOR ALL APPLICATIONS for Variety Registration: (i.e. for crop kinds in Parts I, II and III of Schedule III)

A complete application package, which must be supplied and signed by the applicant, contains the following information:

  1. a proposed variety name (see Section B. 5.2). As of January 1, 1996, a Canadian trademark search is not required to be submitted as part of the application for registration. Applicants are required to sign a declaration that they have not applied for or trademarked the name, or any part of the name, of that variety. The declaration is found in the Variety Registration Application Form (page 1). However, the Trademarks Office of Industry Canada strongly suggests that applicants have a trademark search conducted in order to identify potential trademark infringements.
  2. the scientific and/or common names of the species.
  3. a complete description of pedigree, origin, history and methods of development of the variety including the experimental test number(s) and the name and location of the breeding organization (see Section B.5.3). The breeding organizations are those parties involved in parental selection, crossing, progeny selection, etc. and may be different from the owner of the variety. If the breeding organization is different from the owner, please provide the name and location of both the owner and breeder.
  4. a detailed description of the variety respecting morphological, pathologic, agronomic, physiologic, and biochemical characteristics (where applicable). For triticale and wheat varieties, an eligibility statement developed by the Canadian Grain Commission must be submitted in order for the Variety Registration Office to accurately determine the geographic scope/appropriate restriction for variety registration (see Section B.5.4).
  5. a statement as to whether the variety is sold in other countries and if so, by what name(s).
  6. particulars of the provisions for the maintenance of seed stocks. Authorization is required from the breeder of a foreign variety for the Canadian representative to maintain breeder seed in Canada. If there is intent to maintain breeder seed in Canada, this must be done under the supervision of a plant breeder recognized by the CSGA.
  7. the name and address of the Canadian representative and/or distributor as well as the names and addresses of the breeder and owner, if different from the Canadian representative. Telephone and facsimile numbers facilitate rapid communication, as do electronic mail addresses. Unless otherwise indicated by the applicant, all correspondence with respect to the registration or cancellation of a variety will be addressed to the Canadian representative listed on the application form.
  8. where the applicant is a person, company or organization other than the breeder or owner of the variety, the application must be accompanied by a signed statement from the breeder or owner of the variety indicating that the applicant has been authorized to apply for registration in Canada. If, at any time, there is a change in the Canadian representative of a variety, it is the responsibility of the breeder or owner to inform the Variety Registration Office of the change.
  9. for all species except potatoes, a representative legal reference sample of seed (see Appendix II) must be submitted. In the case of hybrid/composite canola, hybrid alfalfa and hybrid tobacco variety, a sample of each parental line is also required. Unacceptable samples may only be returned upon submission of an acceptable legal reference sample or upon withdrawal of the application. Unacceptable samples however, are typically returned after registration of the variety
  10. for hybrid/composite canola, hybrid alfalfa and hybrid tobacco varieties, descriptions of each inbred parental line and a reproducible hybridity test methodology (see Appendix IV) are required for the purposes of variety verification and seed certification (see Appendix III).
  11. for potato varieties, a set of photographic slides or digital images detailing plant morphology, the results of total glycoalkaloid (TGA) testing and a description of the TGA test methodology employed are required (see Appendix V).

    It is also recommended that the application package include molecular data identifying the variety and two potato leaf triplet samples.

  12. the applicant will be asked if the variety is to be added to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) List of Cultivars Eligible for Certification. This information is not required for variety registration, nor is there any obligation to add a variety to the list. In most cases, CFIA will not add to the list varieties for which breeder seed is maintained outside of Canada. These varieties should be added by the National Designated Authority of the country in which breeder seed is maintained. Exceptions may be made for varieties from countries not participating in the OECD Seed Schemes. For addition of hybrid canola and sunflower varieties, the applicant must supply a statement confirming that the variety consistently meets the OECD minimum hybridity standard of 90%. Applicants should note that only seed lots of the variety that actually meet the standard can be certified under the OECD Seed Schemes. Transgenic varieties may be added to the list, but must meet the regulatory requirements of each importing country. Varieties with interim registrations are eligible for addition to the OECD List of Cultivars. Note that "composite" canola and potato varieties will not be added to the OECD list of cultivars.
  13. the appropriate fees must be submitted along with a "Fee Submission Form" (last page of the application form). Review of an application package will not be initiated until appropriate fees have been received.
  14. the Registrar may require that the applicant supply further information that will allow the determination of the merit and identity of the variety (see Section B. 5.1).

Additional Requirements for Crop Kinds in Part I:

  1. results of valid experimental trials comparing the agronomic and/or quality characteristics of the variety to the performance of the appropriate reference varieties designated by the recommending committees (see Section B.5.5).
  2. a recommendation that is not more than two years old or, in the case of a forage variety, not more than four years old, from a recommending committee stating whether the variety has been tested according to recommending committee protocols and whether the variety has merit. Where support for registration is conditional upon submission of additional information, please ensure that the latter information is supplied.

Additional Requirements for Crop Kinds in Part II:

  1. results of valid experimental trials comparing the agronomic and/or quality characteristics of the variety to the performance of the appropriate reference varieties designated by the recommending committees (see Section B.5.5).
  2. a recommendation that is not more than two years old or, in the case of a forage variety, not more than four years old, from a recommending committee stating whether the variety has been tested according to recommending committee protocols. Where support for registration is conditional upon submission of additional information, please ensure that the latter information is supplied.

5.1 Definition of a Variety

A variety is considered to be a cultivar, and denotes an assemblage of cultivated plants, including hybrids constituted by controlled cross-pollination, that:

  • are distinguished by common morphological, physiological, cytological, chemical or other characteristics; and
  • retain their distinguishing characteristics when reproduced.

Where a variety has a similar genetic background to a previously registered variety, it may be eligible for registration provided it has merit and is distinguishable from the previously registered variety. The Registrar must be assured that he/she is not registering a previously registered variety under another name. There is also an obligation on the part of the Variety Registration Office to ensure that the registration of a variety will not compromise the varietal identity principles upon which seed and crop certification is based. The onus is on the applicant to show distinguishability for non-hybrid crops and for hybrid crops where the two varieties in question are developed by the same breeding organization. In determining the distinguishability of two varieties, the applicant should consider the magnitude and consistency of the differences as well as the heritability of the traits involved.

Currently, varieties will not be registered if distinguished solely on DNA analysis.

5.2 Variety Name Guidelines

a.
The proposed variety name indicated on the Variety Registration Application Form will be the name used for all official records including the certificate of registration. This includes spaces, hyphens and capitalization. Any proposed changes to variety names prior to registration must be submitted in writing.
b.
A variety shall be known by only one name in Canada. The name used in the country of origin is the name that should be applied for in Canada. If this name is not acceptable to the Registrar, the Registrar may request that a synonym be used in Canada. An applicant may also choose a synonym for a variety bred outside of Canada.
c.
A variety may not bear the identical name to a different variety of the same crop kind marketed outside Canada.

d.

If a synonym is used the following conditions would apply:

  • only one name will be used for the variety in Canada;
  • the owner of the variety agrees to the use of the synonym;
  • all known names and synonyms must be indicated on the application form;
  • all synonyms will be made publicly available by CFIA; and
  • it is understood that the use of a synonym in Canada may make the variety name unacceptable for Plant Breeders' Rights in Canada.
e.
Names with similar spelling must be phonetically different.
f.
A variety name that is acceptable for variety registration may not be acceptable for Plant Breeders' Rights purposes if the rights have not been granted when the variety is registered.
g.
The name under which a variety is registered must be identical to the name under which a variety is granted Plant Breeders' Rights. Plant Breeders' Rights legislation is more restrictive as to the conditions under which a variety name may be changed.

h.

Classes:

Variety names shall be unique, i.e. not the same as, or very similar to the name of other varieties of the same genus. If they fall within one of the following International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) classes, they must be different from all the genera or species in the Class.

Class 201: Secale, Triticale, Triticum
Class 203: Agrostis, Dactylis, Festuca, Festulolium, Lolium, Phalaris, Phleum and Poa
Class 204: Lotus, Medicago, Ornithopus, Onobrychis, Trifolium

For all crop genera/species subject to registration and not listed in the above classes, each species is considered to be an individual class.

i.

A variety name is a generic term and neither the name nor any part of the name shall be trademarked in Canada for use on seed of the variety.

Once a variety is registered, trademarking the variety name will result in the suspension or cancellation of registration.

j.
The name of a variety that has been deregistered may not be reused for another variety of the same or similar genus or class.
k.
Species names, common crop names or names of botanical types shall not be used as variety names.

l.

Variety names which vary from another variety by the addition of number(s), letter(s), word(s) or symbol(s), are acceptable providing their pedigree indicates direct descendence from the variety to which the suffix or prefix is added.

The proportion of germplasm contributed by another variety should be at least 50% when giving the new variety a name very similar to that of another variety.

m.
Any explicit or implicit claims incorporated as part of a variety name may only be used if they are accurate and verifiable.
n.
A variety name shall not be such as to be considered offensive.
o.
When selecting a variety name, consideration should be given to the limitations of seed tags and the equipment used to generate them. Seed tags must bear the variety name exactly as registered.
p.
The Variety Registration Office will not approve variety names prior to the receipt of appropriate fees and an application for registration, or an application for variety name amendment.
q.
In order to avoid disappointments over variety name acceptability, applicants may wish to review the OECD List of varieties eligible for certification. Other sources include the Crop Science Registrations in GRIN, Plant Variety Protection registration and the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) list of varieties, available on CD-ROM. While these sources will not provide a definitive answer on variety name acceptability, they are a good source of information to determine if the proposed name is already in use.

5.3 Description of Pedigree/Breeding

a.
The origin of the variety should include the name and location of the institution(s) involved in the variety's development, the pedigree of the variety, breeding methodology and history, including dates, selection criteria and experimental designations. The derivation and maintenance of breeder seed stocks should be fully described.
b.
In the case of hybrid or composite varieties, an uncoded pedigree and derivation of the inbred (parental) lines must be submitted. This information is considered confidential and will be treated as such.

c.

Pedigree:
The genetic background of at least the two previous generations should be provided. Where the parentage of a variety includes experimental lines, please give the genetic background of these lines. This information is valuable in distinguishing variants and off-types found in seed fields subsequent to variety registration as well as determining the uniqueness of the variety. The pedigree of PNT varieties should trace back to the approved event.

The use of common pedigree notation is encouraged. (See Appendix XII: Guide to commonly used pedigree nomenclature systems.)

d.

Varieties will only be considered for registration if:

  • developed or maintained by a plant breeder recognized by the Canadian Seed Growers' Association, or
  • seed of the variety has been accepted for certification in the country of origin by an official certifying agency.
e.
In the case of varieties resulting from recombinant gene technology, information on the gene(s) inserted, its source and gene products must be provided. Exact DNA sequence information must be provided to facilitate the generation of gene probes for variety verification purposes.

f.

If the applicant has previously supplied this information as part of an application for environmental release through the Plant Biosafety Office, this information will be accessed directly and supplied to Variety Verification unit staff at the time of registration.

If the applicant is using constructs for which another organization has been granted environmental release, the applicant must submit a letter of permission from this organization to allow access to the DNA sequence information (Confidential Business Information).

5.4 Varietal Characteristics

a.
The description should include as much relevant morphological information as possible to ensure that seed and crop inspection as well as variety verification, can be properly conducted. For certain crops (alfalfa, barley, beans (field), bird's foot trefoil, bromegrass, buckwheat, canola/rape, clover (red), fababean, fescue, flax, lentils, lupin, mustard, oat, orchardgrass, pea, potato, safflower, soybeans, timothy and wheat), objective description forms have been developed and are available from the Variety Registration Office. These forms list the traits that must be provided for variety registration as well as supplemental traits. For other crops, standard forms are not available but information on relevant characteristics may be obtained from the Variety Registration Office. Where a variety description is supplied in two formats, e.g. on an ODF, and as a summary page, the onus is on the applicant to ensure that the two descriptions are consistent.
b.
Where the description of variety is developed outside of Canada, the onus is on the applicant to ensure that the description is representative of the variety under Canadian growing conditions. Copies of official variety descriptions, including accepted variants as provided to foreign seed certification agencies should be included with the application.
c.
If there is known variability in the variety, details of this must be provided. If information is available on possible off-types that should be rogued, this should be included, as well as those variants that are considered acceptable and the maximum acceptable frequency of occurrence in each class of pedigreed seed. In cases where doubt exists, the applicant may also be asked to provide genetic information on the origin of these variants.

d.

Disease reaction information should include resistance and susceptibility to the diseases that are economically important to the specific crop in Canada. Disease information should be supplied directly by the recommending committee where possible. Data should be submitted to substantiate all claims of insect or disease resistance.

As of July 1, 1990, alfalfa varieties must be resistant to bacterial wilt (Corynebacterium insidiosum) in order to qualify for registration.

In order to receive registration in eastern Canada, a wheat variety must have a minimum level of resistance to fusarium head blight (see Appendix IX). Provincial guidelines within eastern Canada vary as to the exact requirements.

e.
Claims that are made by the applicant, such as quality, insect tolerance, herbicide tolerance, maturity, seedling vigour, etc., of a variety should be substantiated by Canadian scientific data. It may be appropriate, in certain cases, to include US data. See Appendix VIII for more information regarding herbicide tolerance trial data requirements.
f.
If a variety possesses characteristics that would indicate it has a particular use or market, the variety description should include a statement as to its potential utilization. Claims of specific strengths e.g. tolerance to herbicides, must be supported by valid scientific data. This information may also be required by Industry Canada under the authority of the Competition Act. All claims to be used in advertising must be submitted at the time of application for registration.

g.

Photocopies of objective description forms completed for the variety for Plant Breeders' Rights purposes may be submitted if:

  • it is clearly marked on the photocopy that the submission is for Variety Registration Office use, and
  • information has been provided for the traits required for variety registration purposes.

The submission of information for "non-mandatory" traits is useful to the variety registration office in determining rapidly if the variety can be distinguished from a previously registered variety or if a subsequent candidate variety is distinguishable.

h.
If an application is made for both Plant Breeders' Rights and variety registration, the onus is on the applicant to ensure that descriptive information submitted for variety registration purposes does not contradict descriptive information submitted for Plant Breeders' Rights purposes. The applicant must also ensure that both offices are individually informed of changes to the applications or to descriptions of variety.
i.
Other than the addition of supplementary information, variety descriptions will not be amended more than two weeks after the CSGA deadline for applications for crop inspection for the crop kind in question. After crop inspections are completed, variety descriptions may be amended as required.

j.

The breeder may require additional certification standards for a variety provided that the additional standards are defined in the variety description and the following CSGA requirements are met:

  • the additional certification standards have been communicated by the responsible Plant Breeder or agent to all parties involved with regulation and production of the variety; and
  • when required to verify varietal identity, the CSGA has been authorized by the responsible Plant Breeder or agent to require varietal purity verification testing before a Crop Certificate is issued by the CSGA.

Examples of additional certification standards include previous land use or isolation distance requirements that exceed the standards in Circular 6, border row removals or requirements for laboratory tests for varietal identity verification.

5.5 Experimental Data

a.
The applicant must submit the experimental data used by the recommending committee in supporting the variety for registration directly to the Variety Registration Office.
b.
Unless recommending committee protocols indicate otherwise, only data considered by the recommending committee in supporting the variety for registration should be included in the application. The complete package of information (data, notes, etc.) that the committee used to make the recommendation decision should be submitted to the Variety Registration Office. This would include decisions to object to, or to not support the registration of a variety. Other data to support claims of variety performance (see Section B.5.4(e), (f) and (g)) should also be submitted.
c.
Data used by a recognized recommending committee in making a recommendation decision, when quoted to support a variety for registration must be used in its entirety without "selection" and are subject to approval by the appropriate recommending committee.
d.
Actual experimental data including a summary of the agronomic performance must be included. Summarized merit scores are not acceptable in lieu of actual data.

5.6 Signed and Dated Declaration for Plants with Novel Traits (PNTs) and for Varieties derived from PNTs

For plants with novel traits developed by genetic engineering or by traditional plant breeding using transgenic parents, the applicant must:

  1. submit a signed, dated declaration on the letterhead of the applicant organization with the variety registration application (one declaration per variety), indicating that molecular tests conducted on seed of the variety entered in variety registration trials and also the seed contained in the legal reference sample confirm the specific genetic makeup of the variety (i.e. that they contain the appropriate construct and insertion or mutation event and only that event); and
  2. provide the detailed CFIA reviewed and approved* laboratory detection protocols used to conduct these trait detection tests. If the protocols have been previously submitted to the CFIA-Variety Registration Office (VRO), it is acceptable to indicate that the samples were analysed using the specific approved protocol. The protocol reference number (including version number) must be cited in the declaration.

In the case of potatoes, the declaration should indicate that tests were conducted on seed potatoes entering the variety registration trials and the seed certification system.

* Applicants are encouraged to submit new PNT detection protocols (see Appendix VI) well in advance of variety application, to allow time for CFIA review and approval prior to a variety registration application. Any revisions to an approved protocol should be sent in to the CFIA-VRO for review and approval as soon as possible to avoid delays in a variety registration application.

Note: The signed declaration statement requirement is effective February 6, 2012. This is a replacement of the previous-notarized affidavit requirement. Applicants are advised to use the same format as used on the previous notarized affidavit (please contact the variety registration office for clarification if required).

5.7 Support for Registration

Recommending committee recommendations for varieties of crop kinds in Part I are based on pre-registration testing and determination of merit.

Recommending committee recommendations for varieties of crop kinds in Part II are based on pre-registration testing only.

To speed the processing of all registration applications, a copy of a letter or motion of support from the registration recommending committee must be submitted directly by the applicant. The recommendation may not be more than two years old, or in the case of a forage variety, not more than four years old.

Please note that no recommendation support is required for varieties of crop kinds in Part III.

5.8 Fees

As of December 1, 1997, fees came into effect for the evaluation of variety registration applications, and related services. Please ensure that a separate Fee Submission Form is included in each application package along with the appropriate fee (see Appendix XIII). Once an application review has been initiated, no refund will be issued.

5.9 Legal Reference Samples

a.
The reference samples are legal samples for use in monitoring varietal purity of seedlots offered for sale in Canada and may be used as evidence in a court of law. The submission of an improper or non-representative sample for a variety could result in a variety not being registered, seed lots being rejected for pedigreed status and/or the suspension of a registration.

b.

Requirements for Breeder seed sample (see Checklist in Appendix II).

Sample bags must bear an outer tag.

It is recommended that a CSGA breeder seed tag is used. These tags can be obtained from the CSGA at no cost. For breeders using tags other than those provided by the CSGA, the following information must be included on the tag:

  • variety name (experimental number is acceptable if the name is not finalized);
  • crop kind;
  • lot number (if applicable);
  • crop certificate number;
  • pedigreed status; and
  • signature of the CSGA recognized plant breeder.

Although the CSGA breeder tag indicates it may be signed by a Canadian agent, this is not acceptable for variety registration purposes.

Foreign produced samples

The sample must bear a tag that states the year of production and:

  • is from an official seed certification agency; or
  • that contains the equivalent information required for a CSGA breeder seed tag (see above) including the signature of the plant breeder who developed the variety.

Where samples are submitted with tags from a European seed certification agency, information must be provided on:

  • the generation of the seed expressed as the number of generations prior to certified seed; and
  • the number of generations from breeder seed that are allowed in total.

Failure to provide all of the above information will result in a sample being rejected.

c.

Where breeder seed is not available, select or foundation seed may be acceptable provided that it is:

  • tagged with an official tag issued by a seed certification agency; and
  • accompanied by a letter from the breeder explaining why breeder seed is not provided.

d.

Requirements for hybrid or composite seed samples.

Seed samples of all hybrid or "composite" varieties of Brassica spp, hybrid alfalfa, hybrid tobacco or hybrid sunflower varieties shall be of the first generation of pedigreed seed to be offered for sale. (i.e. Certified seed.) Samples must be tagged with tags issued by an official seed certification authority.

If such seed is not available, hand-pollinated seed or seed produced in isolation cages under the breeder's supervision may be submitted as a legal reference sample provided the following conditions are met:

  • the seed is produced under the direct supervision of a plant breeder recognized by the CSGA;
  • the sample is accompanied by a declaration signed by the breeder indicating the manner in which the seed was produced and indicating that the seed is representative of the variety;
  • the seed is properly sealed and tagged with the variety name/experimental number, lot number and signature of the plant breeder; and
  • the breeder commits in writing to provide a certified seed sample within one year of registration.

Seed produced by hand pollination or in isolation cages is not eligible for sale by variety name.

e.

Inbred or composite parental line samples.

For varieties of hybrid or composite canola, hybrid alfalfa and hybrid tobacco, the inbred or composite parental lines must be submitted in a seed envelope which has been well taped shut and labelled with the following information:

  • variety name;
  • lot number;
  • crop certificate number (where applicable);
  • name of parental line; and
  • indication of whether it is the female or male parent of the variety.

f.

Samples and tags must either be sewn or tied and fastened with a tamper-proof seal. When samples are submitted in seed envelopes, they should be well taped shut and the tag well taped to the outside. The container should be of one of the following types of material:

  • Cotton or polyjute bags (most desirable)
  • Manilla seed envelopes
  • Heavy paper bags (double bagged)

Samples submitted in sealed plastic bags will not be accepted as this packaging affects the longevity of the seed. Seed must be submitted in new containers and must be shipped in a manner to ensure the intact arrival.

g.
Sample sizes must conform to the requirements listed in Appendix II.
h.
The sample should not be treated with any pesticide, as seed treatments may cause problems with certain types of laboratory analysis. In addition, some delivery agents will not transport seed treated with pesticides unless specially packaged.
i.
Samples submitted from a crop harvested more than one year prior to application must be accompanied by a germination analysis conducted by a recognized laboratory no more than six months prior to sample submission conducted.
j.
Legal reference samples must be at least Foundation No. 1 grade for purity and minimum Foundation No. 2 for germination.
k.
All legal reference samples originating from outside of Canada must be sent via the Canadian representative.
l.
Unacceptable samples may only be returned upon submission of an acceptable legal reference sample or upon withdrawal of the application.

5.10 Interim Registration Renewals/Reinstatements:

The registrant must submit:

  1. a letter requesting the renewal/reinstatement of registration;
  2. a recommendation from a recommending committee supporting renewal/reinstatement for the variety; and
  3. the appropriate fees along with the fee submission form.

The onus is on the registrant to ensure interim registrations are not allowed to expire. If the interim registration of a variety has been allowed to lapse for a period greater than one year, for crops other than potatoes, a new legal reference sample must be submitted.

If an application for renewal (with applicable fees) is received prior to the expiry date, the application will be considered to be a renewal. If the application is received after the expiry date, the application will be considered to be a reinstatement and appropriate fees will apply.

5.11 Extension of Regions of Registration

The registrant must submit:

  1. a letter requesting the extension of regions of registration; and
  2. a letter from the appropriate registration recommending committee indicating they do not object to the registration of the variety in the region of its jurisdiction.

5.12 Changing a Variety Name After Registration

A variety name may be changed following registration with receipt of the following:

  1. a written request by the Canadian representative indicating an acceptable alternative name;
  2. written permission by the breeder or owner of the variety (where applicable);
  3. a completed page one of the Application Form indicating if Plant Breeders' Rights have been applied for or granted and whether the variety is sold by any other name(s) in other countries, as well as an original signed declaration that a Canadian trademark has not been applied for or received for use of the name or any part of the name on seed;
  4. the applicable fee along with a Fee Submission form for variety registration; and
  5. the original certificate of registration, so that an amended certificate can be issued.

The name under which a variety is granted Plant Breeders' Rights must be identical to that under which the variety is registered. A separate application and appropriate fees must be submitted to the Plant Breeders' Rights Office. Under Plant Breeders' Rights legislation, there are limited circumstances under which a name change may be accepted.

5.13 Inactive Applications

Applications are considered inactive when no correspondence has been received from the applicant within one year of written notification that an application is incomplete. Inactive applications will be closed.

An application may be withdrawn or closed at any time upon the written request of the applicant.

Prior to closing an inactive application, the Variety Registration Office will contact the applicant in writing to notify them that their application is inactive and will be closed if no response is received within 60 days. Applicants may request, within the 60 days, to re-activate the application and gather the required information. Re-activation of an application may require the submission of a new legal reference sample.

The Variety Registration Office will notify the applicant in writing once an application is closed. Submitted reference samples will then be returned to the applicant.

Note: Once an application is withdrawn or closed, a new evaluation fee must be paid if the applicant wishes to re-apply for registration (see Appendix XIII).

5.14 Deregistration/Cancellation of Registration

A variety may be deregistered at any time upon the written request of the registrant with written permission of the breeder or owner of the variety (where applicable). Prior to requesting deregistration of a variety the registrant is required to check the availability of pedigreed seed and/or develop a disposal plan acceptable to seed growers in possession of pedigreed seed of the variety.

6. Obligations of the Registrant Following Registration

a.
Publicly generated co-operative tests or other data quoted in advertising a registered variety for sale must be used in its entirety and are subject to approval by the appropriate recommending committee.
b.
The registrant must notify the Variety Registration Office of any proposed changes to the descriptive information of a variety including the designation of variants and off-types, as well as changes of Canadian representative and distributor. This information must be provided separately from information submitted to the Plant Breeders' Rights Office. Any changes to descriptions of variety submitted to the Variety Registration Office will only be made after consultation with area CFIA inspection staff, variety verification personnel and other affected parties. Changes to official descriptions will not be made during the growing season (see Section B.5.4 (j)).
c.
For those varieties added to OECD Seed Schemes List of Varieties Eligible for Certification, the registrant must provide the description of the variety and legal reference samples to OECD seed certification authorities upon request.
d.
The registrant must not trademark the variety name, or any part of the name, following registration.
e.
Registrants are responsible for ensuring that all terms and conditions of restricted registration are complied with.
f.
Registrants are responsible for submitting legal reference samples that are properly tagged and sealed, to the Variety Verification Unit, upon request.
g.
The registrant must notify the Variety Registration Office if a variety registered for sale in Canada is granted a synonym in another country after its Canadian registration is granted.
h.
For varieties with novel traits, registrants are responsible for providing updated molecular testing protocols (see Appendix VI) for the detection of transgenes when updated by the laboratory conducting the analysis.
i.
For varieties with contract registration, registrants are responsible for providing updated quality control system manuals. Where the Canadian representative or registrant of a variety with contract registration changes, a new quality management system manual will be required to reflect any relevant variation in handling along with the commitment of the new representative to the quality management system. (See appendix X)
j.
For hybrid and composite canola varieties, registrants are responsible for providing updates to hybridity testing protocols (see Appendix IV). Crop certificates may not be issued for crops tested using unapproved protocols.

k.

Brand names may be used in advertising in association with registered variety name if the brand name is conspicuous and legible, for example: if a company has a brand called "DMX" and a variety registered as "1234", then the company can advertise the variety using one of the following methods:

DMX™ 1234 or DMX® 1234 or DMX Brand 1234
It is not acceptable to advertise the variety as: DMX1234 or DMX 1234.

Note: Only the name by which variety is registered can be used on an official label, i.e. "1234".

7. Glossary

Canadian Representative: Unless otherwise stated, the Canadian Representative is the official registrant of a variety and is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Seeds Regulations and for all other obligations of the registrant following registration. The Canadian Representative will receive all correspondence regarding the variety and may authorize the voluntary deregistration of the variety (with permission from the breeder). Any correspondence regarding any legal action taken with respect to the variety is directed to the Canadian Representative.

Commodity type field peas: Includes green, yellow or winter peas, but does not include forage peas, pigeon peas, marrowfat peas or maple type peas.

Composite Canola variety: A plant population in which a specified minimum percentage of the progeny result from the crossing of parental lines (are hybrid). For Brassica napus composite varieties at least 70% of the progeny must be hybrid and for Brassica rapa at least 50% of the progeny must be hybrid. For both species the rest of the progeny are from sib mating and/or selfing of the parental lines. The seed sown to produce a composite canola is an interim seed class (Select Synthetic) and is the result of a controlled, specific blending of either Breeder Seed class and/or Foundation Seed class seed of the parental lines of the variety.

Note: at this time only two component (two parental line) composite varieties will be considered for variety registration.

Distributor: A distributor generally handles the marketing and sale of seed of a variety.

Forage type oats, triticale and peas: Varieties that are sold as being for herbage or whole plant harvest for livestock feed. Does not include varieties marketed for production of grain for livestock feed.

Home garden potato variety: A potato variety that is not being sold for the table stock or processing market; seed acreage is restricted to a maximum of one (1) hectare.

Merit: Equal or superior to appropriate reference varieties with regard to any single characteristic or combination of characteristics that renders the variety beneficial for a particular use in a specific area of Canada.

Off-type: Plant that deviates in one or more characteristics from the official description of the variety.

Official certifying agency: An organization in a foreign state that is empowered by the government of that state to certify seed crops and seed as to the varietal purity thereof where that state is

  1. a participating member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's schemes for the varietal certification of seed moving in international trade for that kind or species, or
  2. a member of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies.

Plants with Novel Traits (PNTs): A plant variety possessing a characteristic that is intentionally selected or created through a specific genetic change and is either not previously associated with a distinct and stable population of the plant species in Canada or expressed outside the normal range of a similar existing characteristic in the plant species.

Plants derived from PNTs: A variety that results from traditional plant breeding using a PNT as a parental line.

Registrant: The party who receives the certificate of registration and to whom correspondence is directed regarding any legal action taken with respect to the variety.

Variant: Any seed or plant which:

  1. is distinct within the variety but occurs naturally within the variety;
  2. is stable and predictable with a degree of reliability compared to other varieties of the same kind, within known tolerances;
  3. was originally part of the variety as released; and
  4. is not an off-type.

Next page: Appendices I to XIII