Canada enjoys a world-wide reputation as a leading producer and exporter of high-quality seed for a wide variety of crops. According to the Seed Sector Value Chain Round Table, Canadian seed exports were valued at approximately $450 million in 2012-2013. Data from the International Seed Federation ranks Canada among the top 10 largest exporters of seed for sowing in 2012-2013. Add in strong import data and these numbers reflect a vibrant global seed industry.

Canada’s updated Plant Breeders’ Rights legislation and ratification of the 1991 Convention of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91) have opened doors to investment, partnership and innovation, and new varieties that never would have come to Canada without these changes. This streamlined regulatory climate at home and a track record of international collaboration sets the stage for the seed industry to benefit from access to open trade of seed.

CSTA advocates on behalf of its 125 members for the unrestricted trade of seed around the world. The board of directors recognizes international collaboration and partnership as vital keys to opening doors to new opportunities and has taken steps to further its goals at the international level. CSTA’s International Committee is fully engaged in monitoring trends and lending CSTA’s voice to  the international dialogue on best practices and innovation.

As part of our international work, CSTA participates in the Seed Association of the Americas (SAA) as a founding member, and is an active member in the International Seed Federation (ISF). These memberships provide additional value to CSTA members, which will only grow as CSTA continues its strong engagement at the international level.

Seed Association of the Americas 

Membership in SAA offers CSTA opportunities to advocate for open borders for the seed trade and to create the best conditions to facilitate the seed industry in the Americas. SAA works to educate and support development,
marketing, and free movement of the seed across North, Central and South America, as well as advocating on seed industry legislation and regulatory issues.

CSTA representatives lend expertise and knowledge to SAA’s Biotechnology, Phytosanitary, Seed Treatment, Intellectual Property, and Membership and Operations working groups. In exchange, CSTA gains knowledge about international best practices and strengthens valuable international relationships. It’s a win-win for both CSTA and our SAA partners.

Learn more about the SAA at CSTA is represented on the SAA Board of Directors by Scott Horner, current CSTA president.

International Seed Federation 

CSTA is linked to the global community through its membership with the International Seed Federation. ISF works to improve the conditions of international seed trade, as well as strengthen international property rights worldwide. CSTA members lend their expertise to ISF through working groups on Low Level Presence, Biotechnology, Phytosanitary and Communications.

CSTA benefits from ISF’s representation at intergovernmental organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and UPOV. With the priority of facilitating the international movement of seed, involvement in ISF opens doors to international opportunities for CSTA members.

Learn more about ISF at  CSTA is represented on the ISF Board of Directors by Ellen Sparry, a current CSTA Board member.

Going Forward

CSTA has begun a strategic planning process that will result in a refreshed strategic plan and goals for the organization. Unrestricted trade of seed will remain a key priority, and the board is already looking at strategies to keep CSTA front and centre in global markets. Your views on how CSTA members can benefit from international participation are welcome and encouraged. Contact Crosby Devitt, executive director, at, or attend the upcoming International Committee meeting Wednesday, Nov. 18, during CSTA’s Semi-Annual Meeting in Saskatoon, Sask.

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