Plant Breeding Innovation

Agriculture is among Canada’s most innovative industries. Canadian crops and food are known for their safety, quality and reliability. Natural advantages, including fresh water and arable land, enhance our reputation. But we know that we can do even more.

Our trading partners and competitors have been racing ahead while the Government of Canada has failed to keep up. Canada is a leader in agriculture production, and as we look to expand our productivity and sustainability, the need for a flexible and transparent regulatory system grows.

Removing regulatory impediments and uncertainty to advance plant breeding innovation will level the playing field for global trade and open up benefits from the full range of new breeding techniques. Innovation must be available to plant breeders who work in large and small organizations and those who work in the private or public sector and academia. High regulatory costs restrict the use of innovations to only the largest crops and companies, meaning that farmers’ access is limited.

The Grain Growers of Canada are proud signatories of the Global Farmer Statement, which farmer organizations all over the world support for plant breeding innovation as a necessary tool to sustainably produce more food.

GGC’s Position

Grain Growers of Canada welcomes the updated guidance on plant breeding innovation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This guidance was developed following a consultation process that began in 2021, which includes robust transparency tools. These tools enable farmers to verify if their seed incorporates gene editing, ensuring choice in seed so farmers can make informed planting decisions.

The updated guidance positions the Canadian agriculture sector more competitively on the global stage, aligning with science-based policies embraced by other leading nations. Gene editing holds the promise of yielding crops that are resilient to pests and diseases while demanding less water and fertilizer. This advancement aims to enhance Canadian farmers’ productivity and reduce their environmental impact.

Supplemental Information


May 3, 2023 – Following Health Canada’s updated guidance, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) released its own guidance on plant breeding innovation, aligning with Health Canada’s findings. This guidance ensures the environmental safety of gene-edited plants, mirroring the science underpinning last year’s food safety guidelines. These steps streamline access to enhanced plant varieties for Canadian farmers.

Grain farmers are awaiting guidance on requirements for feed pre-market assessments.

September 27, 2023 – The CFIA initiated consultations on determining when a plant-derived ingredient necessitates a feed pre-market assessment. The consultation period concluded on November 27, 2023.