Weed Seeds Order Review - Proposal for Change
3.0 Weed Seeds Order Definitions

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The following definitions were used when proposing the placement of species within the classes of the WSO:

3.1 Prohibited Noxious

The species is not yet present in Canada, or is present and is under official control Footnote 1 as it has not yet reached its full ecological range. Offical control is used to prevent further spread of the species and with the goal of eradicating the species. The species must be weed whose presence in seed could affect the value and/or intened use of the seed lot; and/or could have potential impact on the economy, human health and/or animal health. This determination would be based on a Pest Risk Assessment type process. The species must have identifiable seeds that can be visually distinguished from those of other species, or in rare instances, from entire genera.

Rationale:

Suggestions on proposed WSO Class definitions have been made during consultations conducted thus far. All suggestions were given full consideration. Below is the rationale for the inclusion or exclusion of the suggestions made regarding the Prohibited Noxious weed class:

  1. The suggestion was made to further define the term "official control". During consultations to date, the IPPC definition of "official control" Footnote 2 has been included as a footnote to the Prohibited Noxious weed definition. As "official control" is already defined by the IPPC, it was determined that defining the term directly in the definition of the Prohibited Noxious weed class would make the definition too lengthy and confusing. Therefore, the definition remains as a footnote to ensure that it is readily available as a reference.
  2. The suggestion was made to include the environment when describing the potential impact. Rather than include the environment in the definition for Prohibited Noxious weeds, it is being proposed to include a reference to the economy within the definition. The IPPC includes effects on the environment within their interpretation of potential economic importance. Therefore, the definition for Prohibited Noxious weeds will reference that the species "could cause a potential impact to the economy…" The interpretation of economy will include impacts on the environment.
  3. The suggestion was made to change the sentence from "could have potential impact" to "would have potential impact" in order to indicate a higher standard of proof. The reasoning behind this suggestion was understood; however, it was felt that the change in wording would limit the scope of the Weed Seeds Order. For Prohibited Noxious weeds, the impact is usually predicted as the species is not yet present in Canada (or present, but under official control). With some species, the predicted impact of the species may be serious enough to consider regulating the species based on the scientific prediction that the species "could" have an impact. Therefore, it is most appropriate to state that the species "could have potential impact."
  4. The suggestion was made to clarify within the definition that the impact would be a negative impact. Although the intent of the definition is that the impact would be negative, it is felt that this meaning can be understood by the proposed wording for the definition without adding the word negative.
  5. Concern was raised about including the word "visual" when describing that the seed must be "visually distinguishable…" Some stakeholders felt that including this word limits present and future options such as chemical analyses and bar coding. Although many different options are available for identifying seeds to the species level, the CFIA is usually restricted to visual identification in its day-to-day operations. Graders and inspectors may be required to identify weed seeds using only their eyesight and a simple hand lens. In these situations, it would not be feasible to send samples of all seed for laboratory analysis. Another consideration is time, if laboratory testing (i.e. chemical analyses and/or barcoding) is required for all certificates of analysis this would significantly increase the cost and time for industry and for the CFIA. Therefore, it was decided to maintain the requirement that seeds be "visually distinguishable". However, since these definitions are written in policy, and not regulation, the definitions can be revisited should the need arise and/or if circumstances change.
  6. Stakeholders felt that the definition would be improved by changing the order of the sentences in the definition. The CFIA felt this was an excellent suggestion and as a result has re-organized the components of the definition. This organization allows the class specific information to be at the beginning of the definition and requirements that are the same for all classes to be placed at the end.

3.2 Primary Noxious

The species is present in Canada and has not reached its full ecological range. The species must be a weed whose presence in seed could affect the value and/or intended use of that seed lot; and/or could have a potential impact on the economy, human health or animal health. This determination would be based on a Pest Risk Assessment type process. The species must have identifiable seeds that can be visually distinguished from those of other species, or in rare instances, from entire genera.

Rationale:

The main difference between the Prohibited Noxious weed class and the Primary Noxious weed class is the distribution of the weed species. With Primary Noxious weeds, the weed species is present in Canada, has not reached the limits of its ecological range and is not under official control. Prohibited Noxious weeds are either not present in Canada, or are present and under official control with the intent of containing the distribution or eradicating the species.

During the consultations to date, many of the comments and suggestions that were raised regarding the Prohibited Noxious definition were also made regarding the Primary Noxious weed definition. These suggestions included: reorganizing the order of the definition, changing the definition to state "negative impact" and removing the word "visually" from the requirement for the species to have seeds that are visually distinguishable from other species. The rationale for the decisions regarding these comments can be found within the rationale for the definition of Prohibited Noxious weeds. Below is the rationale for the inclusion or exclusion of another comment made regarding the definition for the Primary Noxious weed class:

  1. The suggestion was made to include a statement within the definition that states that the species "Would be difficult to eradicate or control by good cultural practices once established in cultivated fields." As one of the purposes of classifying a species as a Primary Noxious weed is to control the spread of the species through seed, the decision was made to not include this proposed statement regarding ability to control or eradicate. Although some species may be easily controlled or eradicated through certain cultural practices, it is still possible for the species to become a problem. Firstly, not all growers follow the same cultural practices, what may be considered easily controlled for some growers may be a serious problem for others. Secondly, although a species may be managed through cultural practices, it still may be best to minimize spread through seed in order to minimize control costs and spread outside of cultivated fields. The ability to control/manage a weed species may be considered as part of the overall risk of the species; however, it will not be included as a criterion within the Primary Noxious weed definition.

3.3 Secondary Noxious and Noxious

The species is relatively common and widespread in Canada. The species must be a weed whose presence in seed could affect the value and/or intened use of the seed lot. The species must have identifiable seeds that can be visually distinguished from those of other species, or in rare instances, from entire genera.

Rationale:

The proposed definition that was presented for consultation included the requirement that "the species are relatively easy to eradicate or control in cultivated fields." Some stakeholders felt that this requirement within the definition was not appropriate as it was difficult to define the term "easy" and that it was a relative term. Some stakeholders felt that if a species was not easy to control then it would automatically have to be classified as a Primary Noxious weed, which may not be appropriate.

The previous definition that had been proposed during consultations was also felt to be too vague by some stakeholders. Some stakeholders also felt that there should be mention of the distribution of the species in terms of it being widely distributed or widespread. During our consultations, stakeholders proposed a revised definition for the Secondary Noxious and Noxious weed classes. This definition has been further revised and is the version being proposed in this document.

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