MCA issues formal position on regarding regulatory requirements for gene edited crops in Canada

At our AGM earlier this year, a resolution was brought forward regarding regulatory requirements for gene edited crops in Canada.

Specifically, our governance committee requested that MCA clarify its position on how gene editing should be regulated by, and communicated about, by Health Canada, and whether gene edited seed and genetically engineered seeds should follow the same regulations.

Following this resolution, our board got to work on becoming informed on the issue. We consulted with national experts on the issue, including the Canada Grains Council, CropLife Canada, Cereals Canada, Health Canada, and more, and reviewed information available to us. Following this, we developed our own formal position on the topic, which centres around the following core beliefs:

  • Seeds produced using any plant breeding technique, including gene editing, should be subject to science-based regulations and policies related to health and safety.
  • All value chain participants must abide by the appropriate science-based regulations and policies/best management practices when launching products of plant breeding innovations in Canada to our export and domestic markets.
  • All value chain participants, including federal regulatory agencies and seed developers, are fully transparent in implementing regulations around plant breeding technologies, in order to maintain trust and reputation in domestic and global markets.

Furthermore, within our formal position, our board re-iterates that:

  • We recognize the importance of research and innovation to the success of Manitoba farmers, including the area of seed development.
  • We believe variety development and plant breeding innovations will help unlock yield potential for Canadian crops, remove production barriers and help farmers meet sustainability goals
  • We support that all food in Canada – novel or not – should be regulated by the appropriate government agencies in order to ensure its ongoing safety for consumers.

This formal position, approved in April 2022, will be used to guide MCA’s participation in the conversation around the topic going forward, as well as our involvement in any related initiatives.

If you have questions or feedback on this issue, please contact us.