Res #: 12-14A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
WHEREAS the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada plans to pass Bill C-18 allowing Canada to sign on to UPOV ’91 by August 2014 which will increase plant seed developers’ rights (making them similar to having patents on seed); and
WHEREAS passage of this Bill will prohibit farmers from growing, saving and cleaning their own seed for replanting without the express permission from the Plant Breeder; and
WHEREAS companies will have a “cascading right” which will allow them to demand payment of “end-point royalties” on the whole crop, including each cut of hay, instead of just on newly purchased seed; and
WHEREAS adoption of UPOV’91 will reduce the freedom and rights of Canadian farmers, increase production costs, lower income margins and hurt farmer independence;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Provincial Government to use their influence with the Federal
Government to remove this section from the Agriculture Growth Act.
RESPONSE FROM HONORABLE LYLE STEWART, MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE
Bill C-18 signals Canada's intent to amend the Plant Breeders' Rights Act (Act) to align with International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV '91). There are number of points under UPOV '91 that have created confusion.
Under UPOV '91, Plant Breeders' Rights (PBR) and patents remain different tools for protection of intellectual property, with different associated rights and limitations. UPOV '91 balances the interests of breeders and farmers.
Farmers will not be prohibited from growing, saving and cleaning seed for their own use. The "Farmer's Privilege" (UPOV '91 terminology) clause in UPOV '91 explicitly allows for these activities.
There is no "cascading right." Breeders will have the opportunity to collect a royalty once. They can only collect on harvested material ifthere was no reasonable opportunity to collect a royalty on seed sales.
UPOV '91 will not reduce freedoms and rights of Canadian farmers who legitimately purchase seed. Farmers who legitimately purchase seed will have no negative impact from the adoption of UPOV '91 standards.
Bill C-18 does not introduce end point royalties on farm saved seed. However, the Act has been structured so that restrictions or conditions affecting Farmer's Privilege can be included in future regulatory changes.
Adopting UPOV '91 allows breeders to gain increased protection. Farmers will gain access to new and improved varieties because of better intellectual property protection.