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Requirements for Sales of Common Seed

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All non-pedigreed (common) seed that has been advertised for sale must be tested for purity and germination prior to labelling with a grade name for sale in Canada.

If requested by a purchaser, every vendor of seed must supply purity and germination test results, in writing, within 30 days of the request. Seed must be tested using recognized standard procedures such as the "Canadian Methods and Procedures for Testing Seed".


  1. Required labelling for Common cereal, oilseed and pulse seed is as follows (Seeds Regulations sections 19, 20 and 23):
    • 1. Name and Address of the seller, packager or labeller of the seed;
    • 2. Name of the Kind or species of seed (common oilseed rape/canola must be labelled to indicate "type" - Argentine or Polish - or "type not known");
    • 3. Name of the Grade (Common No. 1, Common No. 2 or Common);
    • 4. Net Weight (metric measurement is mandatory, imperial measurement is optional);
    • 5. Precautionary symbol, signal word and statement, if treated with a pesticide, i.e. "Do not use for food or feed. This seed has been treated with ... (common or chemical name of pest control product)"; and
    • 6. Lot Number.
  2. Required labelling for Common cereal mixtures (Seeds Regulations section 24): In addition to items 1, 3, 4, 6 and, where applicable, 5 (above),
    • 7. The name and percentage by weight of each kind or species of seed in the mixture;
  3. Required labelling for Common forage seed (Seeds Regulations section 25): In addition to items 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and, where applicable, 5 (above),
    • 8. In the case of alfalfa and red clover seed that is imported, the country of origin of production and, if from the United States, the state of origin of production; and
    • 9. In the case of seed that is red clover or of a mixture containing 5% or more of red clover, the words "double-cut" or "single-cut", the letters "DC" or "SC" or the words "type not known" as appropriate.
  4. Required labelling for Common forage mixtures (Seeds Regulations section 26): In addition to items 1, 3, 4, 6 and, where appropriate, items 5, 8 and 9 (above).
    • 10. The name and percentage of each kind or species that singly constitutes 3% or more by weight, or, in the case of sweet clover, 1% or more by weight of the mixture;
    • 11. The percentage by weight of the kinds or species of seed of the mixture not stated on the label (according to item 10) preceded by the words "other kinds"; and
    • 12. Where it is appropriate to use item 8, the percentage of red clover and/or alfalfa of each origin is to be included.


Items 4, 5 and 6 must appear on each package in the lot. In the case of cereals, cereal mixtures and single species forage seed, all other items may accompany the seed (e.g., on an invoice). If seed is sold in bulk, all the information must be provided at the time of sale.

In the case of forage seed mixtures, in spite of item 10, the label may show the name and percentage of each kind or species of seed in a package that singly constitutes 1% or more by weight in the mixture. In addition, all required information must be on the principal display panel of the package if the labelling information is on the package or on one side of the tag or invoice if the labelling information is on the tag or invoice, and all information must be presented using a consistent size of type.


In cases of the sale of non-pedigreed (common) seed, the seed is exempt from the labelling requirements listed in points 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10 and 11 provided the original producer (seller) has not advertised the seed for sale and the purchaser takes possession of the seed at the location where the seed was grown.

In the case of species not listed in Schedule I to the Seeds Regulations, there is no germination standard. Therefore, there is no requirement for germination testing for these species and no requirement to provide information on germination rate to the purchaser of the seed.

Variety names

The use of variety names (or modified or qualified variety names) on any label or package of Common seed is Prohibited for crop kinds listed in Schedule II of the Seeds Regulations. The use of variety names (or modified or qualified variety names) is also Prohibited on any invoice, circular or advertising related to Common seed for crop kinds list in Schedule II of the Seeds Regulations (e.g., an advertisement for "Seed Oats, Common No. 1, Lot # Rodknee" illegally uses part of the variety name Rodney).

These requirements also apply where the variety has been protected under Plant Breeders' Rights in Canada. However, this does not limit the holder of the right from taking appropriate enforcement action against anyone advertising and/or selling seed of the variety which may be used for propagation purposes.

Originally issued November 13, 2008 (Information Letter To Industry)

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