Attention Canadian Farmers: Have your voice heard – write now to support innovation for Canadian farmers!

March 25, 2021 (Ottawa, ON) –  Today, Health Canada launched a public consultation on new guidelines for plant breeding innovation. This will determine the speed at which Canadian farmers gain access to new crop innovations, the amount of crop R&D activity that will happen in our country, and ultimately Canada’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Over the last three years exciting new plant breeding techniques have been advancing throughout the world, but the Canadian regulatory guidance has not kept pace. Health Canada’s proposal is a very positive step forward to show Canada can be both a centre of crop innovation and a leader in food safety.

“I urge my fellow grain and crop farmers from coast to coast to let Health Canada know that we care about – and need access to – new plant breeding innovation,” says D’Arcy Hilgartner, farmer from central Alberta. “We cannot afford to let a vocal minority drown out the overwhelming support that I know is out there from farmers and the agriculture sector.”

Canada’s grain associations have come together to provide a straightforward way for farmers and anyone else who works in the grain value chain to send their own letter to Health Canada in support of the government using these new guidelines. It’s one simple click away.

“Many of Canada’s global competitors have moved towards clear and predictable science-based approaches to the regulation of plant breeding, including gene edited crops, and Canada needs to do the same so that farmers here are not left behind,” says Saskatchewan grower Gerry Hertz.

“We are encouraging the Canadian government to stand firmly behind the science of plant breeding innovation. Scientists around the world have acknowledged that using gene editing in plant breeding is just as safe as conventional breeding and our regulatory system needs to recognize this to ensure the Canadian agriculture industry can remain competitive,” says Rick White, Canadian Canola Growers Association.

“As we collectively face significant global challenges around food security and climate change, innovations like gene edited crops can help farmers adapt to changing climate conditions and pest pressures while continuing to grow safe, high quality food for Canadians and consumers around the world,” says Brendan Byrne, farmer from Ontario.

“We are standing at a critical juncture in Canadian agriculture. As an industry, we know what it will take for farmers to be successful, and that clearly includes continuous adoption of new crop innovation,” says Erin Gowriluk, Grain Growers of Canada. “Now is the time for growers and our colleagues in the agriculture industry to collectively speak up to encourage good government policy.”

Write now! Click here and send your own letter to Health Canada in support of fair and reasonable rules for plant breeding innovation in Canada.

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Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 14 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.