October 28, 2014

Grain Growers of Canada urge passing of Bill C-18

OTTAWA, October 28, 2014 – Appearing before the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food this morning, Grain Growers of Canada strongly encouraged the passing of Bill C-18 the Agricultural Growth Act.

The bill’s proposed amendments to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act (PBR) will align Canadian legislation with the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties (UPOV’91). This is important for ensuring Canadian farmers have access to the newest seed varieties and will create a regulatory environment that will encourage investment in innovation.

“Canada is one of only a handful of countries not covered under UPOV’91,” said Grain Growers President Gary Stanford. “This has put our farmers at a competitive disadvantage to their international counterparts. Aligning our regulations will not only level the playing field for our producers, but it is also expected to encourage foreign breeders to release their varieties in Canada. This would give our farmers access to new varieties their competitors are already using.”

Both private and public investors require intellectual property protection tools allowing them to capture their investment. Amending the PBR Act to comply with UPOV’91 will help pave the way for much greater investment in the development of new seed varieties that will deliver higher yields and better agronomics for Canadian farmers.

The proposals contained in Bill C-18 also enshrine into law the right of farmers to save, store and clean seed – something which is missing from the current regulatory framework.

Also important are key amendments to the Agriculture Marketing Programs Act. These changes bring more flexible terms for growers when using the cash advance program. Citing a need to keep up with increases in farm size, Grain Growers took this opportunity to push for more improvements to cash advances by requesting consideration of an increase in the limit that farmers can apply for under the Advance Payments Program.

Canada’s grain growers strongly urge the swift passing and implementation of the Bill.

The Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 50,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 14 provincial and regional grower groups, representing wheat, durum, barley, canola, oat, corn, soybean, pea, lentil, rye, and triticale farmers from across Canada. Our mission and mandate is to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

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