b'WHY CANADAS PBR SYSTEM IS A MODEL FOR THE WORLDMany UPOV countries dont have the resources to develop centralized variety testing systems. Canadas Plant Breeders Rights Office is helping.Marc ZienkiewiczWHILE THE GLOBALPlant Breeders Rights (PBR) framework is getting stronger, it also faces challenges. Chief among them is the fact that many countries do not have the resources to develop centralized variety testing systems. True to form for a country known as a valued collabo-rator, Canada is helping change that through the efforts of its Plant Breeders Rights Office based at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in Ottawa.Working at the helm of that system are Rene Cloutier and Ashley Balchin, two key members of the PBR Office. Both work as examiners in the PBR Office to verify the comparative tests and trials and to see whether or not the new candidate variety meets the requirements to obtain intellectual property (IP) protection. Canadas PBR system relies on comparative tests and trials to determine if a variety under consideration for PBR is distinct, uniform and stable, a concept known as DUS. Whereas many countries have a state-run testing system for PBR, Canada has a breeder-run testing system, in which the trials are conducted by the breeder/appli- Ashley Balchin (left) and Rene Cloutier work as examiners at the Plant cant, agent or someone contracted by the applicant.Breeders Rights Office in Ottawa.Balchin and Cloutier are part of a small teamonly six examinersthat reviews the applicants data as well as conducting an independent trial examination to verifythe most similar ones, then youre able to have strong PBR results. Essentially, a PBR examiner reviews an applicationprotection. Theres a nuance there, she says. for IP rights on a plant variety. That understanding of the subtleties of PBR is what Its a system thats of high value to plant breeders nothelps set Canadas PBR Office and its staff apart on the just in Canada, but worldwide. world stage, Taveira says.The Canadian breeder-based variety testing system is aAccording to Taveira, staff of the Canadian PBR Office high-quality and cost-efficient system that can be adoptedare becoming increasingly more important in supporting by prospective new UPOV members. It can remove anUPOV members to accede and implement the latest act of important limiting factor for the global expansion of thethe UPOV Convention, known as UPOV 91. system, says Leontino Taveira, head of technical affairsCloutier is the current chair of the UPOV Technical and regional development for the International Union forWorking Party for Agricultural Crops. Balchin is chair of the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).the Technical Working Party for Ornamental Plants and Forest Trees. Both are actively involved in developing test A Distinct System guidelines for variety examination. Applying for PBR protection on a plant variety in CanadaCanadas PBR Office is also promoting the use of the is a unique process and is not the same as applying foronline application tool UPOV PRISMA to facilitate filing variety registration. Cloutier explains that for variety reg- applications for plant variety protection in Canada and istration, breeders have to compare and show that theirabroad. This is particularly useful for small and medium new variety is equal to or better than industry standards. sized enterprises overcoming language barriers to filing It is different with PBR. Youre taking your new can- applications abroad and having access to all the proce-didate variety and youre comparing it to the most similardures required to protect and make their varieties avail-variety. If you can show that your variety is distinct fromable to more farmers.20GERMINATION.CAMARCH 2023'