Plant breeders’ rights violators reach settlement

Seed industry says enforcement plays an important role in educating farmers about need to follow the rules

Member-owned seed distribution company SeCan has reached out-of-court settlements with seven western Canadian farmers who were illegally selling or attempting to sell seed varieties protected by plant breeders rights. Todd Hyra, SeCan’s business manger for Western Canada, said six commercial grain growers in Saskatchewan and one in Manitoba reached settlements with SeCan after illegal sales […] Read more

Perceived shortages of certified seed may have been a factor in the number of prairie farmers who were caught selling protected seed varieties on the black market last year. | File photo

PBR infringement cases up in 2015

The number of prairie farmers who were caught selling protected seed varieties on the black market last year was up significantly, according to SeCan, one of Canada’s leading seed distribution organizations. In 2015, more than 400 cases involving potential illegal sales of PBR protected seeds and proprietary technologies required investigations and follow-ups. SeCan alone had […] Read more

A farmer from Moose Jaw, Sask., will pay a $150,000 settlement stemming from unauthorized sale of CDC Bethune flax and AC Strongfield durum. | File photo

Seed rights settlements costs farmer $150K

A farmer from Moose Jaw, Sask., who made unauthorized sales of two protected seed varieties has agreed to pay a penalty of $150,000. Harvey Marcil of Pasqua Farms will pay a $150,000 settlement stemming from unauthorized sale of CDC Bethune flax and AC Strongfield durum. Marcil also agreed to refrain from selling the two varieties […] Read more


The National Farmers Union is concerned about the future of farmer’s privilege under Bill C-18, which will enhance plant breeders’ rights.  |  File photo

Bill C-18 will take from farmers’ pockets

One of the most disturbing aspects of the debate or lack of debate on moving Canada’s plant breeder’s rights legislation to comply with UPOV 91 is how most farm groups have complacently accepted that we have to go down this path to access new crop varieties. Many have vigorously endorsed this. They are willing to […] Read more

Proposed amendments to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act will increase investment in research and pose no additional royalty costs for producers, says the author.  |  File photo

Breeders’ rights bill protects producers

As long-time public plant breeders, we were pleased to see the tabling of Bill C-18. It contains desirable amendments to the present Plant Breeders’ Rights Act, which will bring Canada into conformity with UPOV 91. Canada is a signatory to this convention but is just now bringing the amendments into force. Thus, the amendments are […] Read more


Bill C-18 should be rejected because UPOV 91 gives plant breeders more rights while farmers need permission to save seed and may have to pay a royalty, says the author.  |  File photo

Growth Act: growth for whom?

The Omnibus Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act, went to Parliament for first reading Dec. 9. Passing Bill C-18 would make Canada compliant with UPOV 91, a much more restrictive form of plant breeders’ rights than we currently have. The second part of the act will prepare Canada’s regulatory regime for fast track approval of […] Read more

The centuries old system that gave ownership of seeds to farmers worked well and shouldn’t be changed, says the author.  |  File photo

UPOV 91 deal dilutes farmers’ rights

Behind the noise of the Rob Ford controversy in Toronto and the Senate scandal in Ottawa, the Canadian government is angling to legislate the removal of a farmers’ right that should be non-negotiable. The federal government is moving quickly to implement the UPOV 91 plant breeders’ rights convention with first reading in Parliament of the […] Read more