Seeds Canada Amalgamation - Correcting Misinformation

Thursday, November 19, 2020

On November 4th, the CSI Board voted to endorse the new Seeds Canada business plan and ratification package and enter into an agreement to amalgamate with three seed associations, the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC), the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA), and the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA).  The decision to support the package is the culmination of six years of discussions that started with an idea and that grew into a shared vision for the next generation seed system in Canada as described in the Seed Synergy White Paper.  Although the amalgamating partners were hoping that CSGA would be a part of this amalgamation, the seed association partners respect CSGA and its members' decision not to amalgamate and to reevaluate their priorities and work to determine their path forward.  In spite of CSGA's decision, the amalgamating partners have left the door wide open for CSGA and for seed growers to participate in Seeds Canada and for CSGA to consider joining Seeds Canada in the future if it a good fit for them.  

Unfortunately, as the members of CSI and its amalgamating partners prepare to vote on the amalgamation resolution later this month, there is a campaign of misinformation circulating about Seeds Canada. So along with our amalgamating partners, I would like to take this opportunity to set the records straight with some key points worth noting:  

  1. 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 revenue from membership and client services forecasted in the Business Plan are the result of a projected growth in membership and client services, not from increased service fees.
  2. Seeds Canada will be in a strong financial position with four amalgamating partners. The Seeds Canada business plan starts with and maintains a financial forecast with a strong, appropriate reserve and more diversified revenue sources. 
  3. Membership fees 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 offered and operated on a cost recovery basis.
  4. All members, including RSEs, will have an equal voice in policy development, industry issues, and advocacy. By design, a small seed business, for example, will have 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 stakeholders.   
  5. And finally, the amalgamation will not impact seed crop certification. That role will continue to be the purview of the Canadian Seed Growers' Association.

The nature of CSI's services requires careful management of biases, impartiality and conflicts of interest.  CSI has a long established, robust ISO quality management system to act as a firewall.  This firewall is a key element of CSI's ISO 17065 accreditation, and a requirement for CSI's ongoing accreditations with CFIA for delivering the RSE program, and with the Canadian Grain Commission for CSI's work as a CGC inspection body. This robust ISO accreditation will be maintained in Seeds Canada so that we can continue isolate the delivery of client services from external influences.  

I hope these facts will help clear up any misinformation you may be hearing around the upcoming amalgamation vote.  Our hope is for Seeds Canada to be a progressive, collaborative, vibrant industry association committed to helping its members and clients succeed and grow their businesses in Canada and around the world.  

For more information on the Seeds Canada amalgamation plans, please visit
Roy van Wyk, Executive Director
Canadian Seed Institute