As presidents of the four amalgamating organizations, we are excited about the potential that Seeds Canada holds for the seed sector.
We are convinced that bringing seed growers, developers, distributors, processors, analysts, and other stakeholders together under a single organization will help build a more successful, modern, prosperous, and resilient seed value-chain.
Originally, our vision included a fifth amalgamating partner, and we were all disappointed when Canadian Seed Grower Association (CSGA) members rejected the original proposal with five amalgamating partners. We respect the democratic process and wish CSGA and its members future success. However, the benefits of Seeds Canada remain evident to the remaining partners and that is why we chose to move forward.
Seed growers are a vital part of the seed value-chain, and they are essential to the success of Seeds Canada. We are excited that the Seeds Canada board includes a number of seed growers who are already strong voices for growers across the country. We are also happy that many seed growers have reached out to confirm their support for Seeds Canada and express their interest in becoming members. We are hopeful that seed grower associations across the country, including CSGA, will become Seeds Canada members as well.
Unfortunately, misinformation is circulating about Seeds Canada. As a result, we want to set the record straight:
- Seeds Canada is about finding smarter, more strategic, ways to deliver services to members and clients. The amalgamation is not about increasing fees or cutting services. Increases in membership and service fees in the business plan result from a projected growth in membership and client services, not from increased fees. Members and clients can remain confident that amalgamation will not cause fees to go up.
- Seeds Canada will be in a strong financial position with four amalgamating partners. The revised proposal includes an improved financial forecast, with stronger reserve ratios and more diversified revenue sources.
- Memberships will not pay for the cost of delivering client services and vice-versa. Member services will be paid for by membership fees and will be exclusive to Seeds Canada members. Client services will be operated on a cost-recovery basis.
- All members will have an equal voice. The current business plan ensures all members will have a voice in policy development, industry issues and advocacy. That means that a small seed business has the same influence as a large multinational seed developer. Collectively, our members will guide all of the work Seeds Canada does through the sharing of diverse expertise and open debate on issues that affect all seed players.
- The amalgamation will not impact the seed regulatory system. One of the major changes to the amalgamation package has been to remove everything related to seed crop certification from the package. That role will continue to be the purview of the Canadian Seed Growers Association. Seeds Canada will not change seed crop certification.
It is essential to underscore that the operations of Seeds Canada, including audits currently performed by the Canadian Seed Institute (CSI) and intellectual property protection currently managed by the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA) will be isolated by a firewall as it is today with CSI and CPTA. However, Seeds Canada’s membership will have the opportunity to provide input on all client and membership services via the business development committee.
We hope that these facts will clear up misinformation that may surround the ongoing amalgamation vote. Our hope is for Seeds Canada to be a progressive, co-operative industry association committed to helping our members succeed and grow in Canada and around the world.
Our organizations are committed to full transparency with our members. If members have questions, they can contact directors and staff.
Ellen Sparry is president of the Canadian Seed Trade Association, Chris Churko is chair of the Canadian Plant Technology Association, Chantal Lecavalier is president of the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada and Terry McIntee is president of the Canadian Seed Institute.