CSI / CFIA Roles and Responsibilities with respect to the Seed Program

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Glossary of Abbreviations and Terms

AC (Approved Conditioner)
An establishment that prepares seed of pedigreed status and in respect of which a registration as an approved conditioner is in force
AI (Authorized Importer)
An establishment that prepares imported seed and in respect of which a registration as an authorized importer is in force
BSF (Bulk Strorage Facility)
An establishment that stores, in bulk, seed graded with a Canada pedigreed grade name and in respect of which a registration as a bulk storage facility is in force
CFIA
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
CSI
Canadian Seed Institute
GB grader
A grader accredited to examine seed and to review analytical information on Certificates of Analysis to assign a Canada pedigreed grade name to all crop kinds set out in Tables I to VI. The candidate also may choose to review the analytical information on Certificates of Analysis and assign a Canada pedigreed grade name to all crop kinds set out in one or more of the following grouping of Grade Tables: Grade Table VII, and/or Grade Tables VIII-X, and/or Grade Tables XI-XII, and/or Grade Tables XIII-XV, and/or Grade Tables XVI-XX of Schedule I; or an accredited seed analyst accredited to assign the grade to any crop kinds for which they have been accredited to test for purity, germination and where applicable, disease.
GD grader
A grader accredited to review the analytical information on Certificates of Analysis and assign a Canada pedigreed grade name to all crop kinds set out in one or more of the following grouping of Grade Tables: Grade Tables I to VI, and/or Grade Table VII, and/or Grade Tables VIII-X, and/or Grade Tables XI-XII, and/or Grade Tables XIII-XV and/or Grade Tables XVI-XX of Schedule I.
GI grader
A grader accredited to review the analytical information presented on Certificates of Analysis to verify that minimum import standards are met for the release of seed lots into Canada for all crop kinds set out in one or more of the following grouping of Grade Tables: Grade Tables I to VI, and/or Grade Table VII, and/or Grade Tables VIII-X, and/or Grade Tables XI-XII, and/or Grade Tables XIII-XV and/or Grade Tables XVI-XX of Schedule I.
ISTA
International Seed Testing Association
QA
Quality Assurance
SLAAP
Seed Laboratory Accreditation and Audit Protocol

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

The CFIA is responsible for the:

  • accreditation of laboratories, analysts and graders,
  • licensing of operators and samplers,
  • registration of approved conditioners, bulk storage facilities and authorized importers, and
  • administering and enforcing the Seeds Act and Regulations

CFIA Roles and Responsibilities:

  • audit the CSI to verify that the CSI does and can continue to meet its responsibilities with respect to the Seed Program;
  • maintain and update, as required, the Seed Laboratory Accreditation and Audit Protocol (SLAAP)
  • receive and review applications for laboratory accreditation for conformity with the SLAAP, including the initial laboratory audit;
  • administer seed analyst evaluations;
  • conduct pre-accreditation proficiency sample testing for scope of testing requested by new laboratory;
  • provide assistance in the development of proficiency testing programs delivered by the CSI;
  • provide CSI and accredited laboratories with the test results/reports on all proficiency testing programs for the laboratories;
  • conduct inspections at a registered seed establishment at any time but must be done when:
    • the CSI issues a corrective action request pertaining to a critical non-conformance,
    • a review of the CSI annual report triggers an inspection as part of the annual directed inspection plan,
    • a complaint or other evidence of non-compliance is received, or
    • a registered seed establishment is suspended or cancelled;
  • during an inspection, the inspector may take samples, verify that product meets the required standard, verify labels and records and conduct any other activity to verify compliance with the Seeds Act and Regulations;
  • administer practical assessments for all graders and administer theory assessments for GI graders;
  • Seed Section staff respond to requests from CSI for interpretation of regulations, policies and procedures;
  • approve and validate the use of automatic seed samplers for use in the taking of samples drawn for the issuance of an ISTA certificate by CFIA;
  • maintain records of Registered Seed Establishments and their personnel;
  • collect fees for renewal of graders and operators not located at registered seed establishments

The Canadian Seed Institute (CSI)

The CSI is accredited by the CFIA as a Conformity Verification Body for the:

  • assessment, recommendation for approval and audit of Approved Conditioners (AC), Bulk Storage Facilities (BSF) and Authorized Importers (AI);
  • recommendation for accreditation/licensing of graders and operators who have successfully completed written evaluations as referred to in the Seeds Regulations, and
  • recommendation for annual renewal of laboratories that have successfully completed an audit in the current or preceding calendar year and successfully participated in check sample programs approved by the CFIA.

CSI Roles and Responsibilities:

  • accept and review applications for registration of establishments, licensing of operators, and accreditation of graders;
  • provide or accredit, in accordance with the CSI standards, technical auditors who will assess/audit an establishment's ability to meet the CSI standards according to an established frequency;
  • provide or accredit, in accordance with the CSI standards, technical auditors who will audit a laboratory's ability to meet the SLAAP according to an established frequency;
  • assess the applicants who wish to be licensed as operators for competence in complying with CFIA requirements specifically the Candidate's Guide- Licensed Operator- Registered Seed Establishment;
  • administer theory assessments for GB and GD graders in compliance with the Candidates Guide to the Seed Grader Evaluations;
  • develops/maintains quality system standards for the accreditation of AC, BSF and AI facilities;
  • develops/maintains technical manuals to provide industry guidance on the AC, BSF and AI programs;
  • develops/maintains audit protocols and procedures to assess/audit facilities to verify facility compliance with CSI quality system standards and the Seeds Regulations;
  • recommend to CFIA for registration, licensing, recognition or accreditation and renewal thereof, as the case may be, establishments, facilities, and individuals, as the case may be, that meet the CFIA requirements;
  • draw monitoring samples and arrange for testing at a monitoring laboratory;
  • during an establishment assessment, obtain and document objective evidence to determine whether
    • the establishment's QA documentation is accessible, current and available to all staff
    • the procedures described in the client's QA manual are being adhered to
    • the processes are being performed by competent personnel (accredited/licensed as necessary) according to specifications stipulated in the relevant procedures
    • the seed meets the required standard
  • identify and classify non-conformances and issue Corrective Action Requests to establishments;
  • maintain the database on seed establishments which includes information on assessments/audits and may include information on recognition programs other than those under the authority of the Seeds Regulations;
  • report annually to the CFIA on the results of audits conducted in the prior seed year.

Note that CSI collects annual fees from seed establishments for the renewal of their registration and the renewal of accreditation/licensing for their personnel.

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