Protect farmers’ rights to save seed in Canada!

September 30, 2019

At SeedChange, we believe that farmers have the right to save seed.

In Canada, many rules and regulations around seeds and what farmers can do with them are governed by the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act. The act lays out what rights plant breeders have over the crops they develop and the criteria for which crop varieties are protected by the plant breeders’ rights.

Currently, the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act contains a provision called “farmers’ privilege” which allows farmers to save seed of protected varieties for their own use, provided they do not sell that seed.

Now, the Government of Canada is considering restricting and/or removing the farmers’ privilege.

The government is reviewing regulatory changes that would restrict the farmers’ privilege for protected varieties of cereals and pulses, and potentially eliminate the farmers’ privilege on protected varieties of fruits, vegetables and ornamental crops.

Advocates for these changes believe that this will create sustainable funding for variety development in the future. We believe that there are better solutions that do not come at the cost of farmers’ rights to save seed.

If you share these values and want to build a just, equitable and sustainable seed system, we encourage you to learn more about the issue:

These proposals are very much in their early stages of development. As we learn more, we will continue to inform you about the issue and provide effective ways to take action to protect farmers’ rights to save seed in Canada.