b'Balchin became a PBR examiner after growing up inmakes things work smoothly for the whole system.Ottawa in a family of public servants mostly involvedMargaret Wallace agrees. As joint head of the in agriculture. She did her undergrad in biology at theAgricultural Crop Characterisation group at the NIAB University of Guelph. Group, she helps deliver all the DUS testing at NIAB and I was near graduating looking for work and got windthe seed certification system for agricultural species in of a job involving plant breeders rights, and honestlyEngland and Wales. She deals with the Canadian PBR didnt know much about it at the time. When I found outOffice regularly.what type of work it was, and what the job would entail,Rene and I met through UPOV. It became clear very it really interested me, she says. quickly that the Canadian system is very different from Cloutier hails from a rural community in northernours. In Europe, everybody has much the same testing Ontario and got her masters in biology at Laurentiansystem, whereas the Canadian system is quite different. University. After moving to the United States, she returnedRene and I kind of formed a bond really quickly, just to Canada where she did her PhD in horticulture at thetalking about our mutual experiences and trying to under-University of Guelph. After joining the CFIA in 2008, shestand each others systems, Wallace says. was eventually steered toward the PBR field and becameWe both started in our current jobs around at about an examiner with the PBR Office in 2013. the same time, so it was nice to have somebody to learn Theres a high threshold to get PBR on a plant variety,with along the way and try and harmonize our PBR so to get to work with breeders in that capacity was reallysystem as much as possible, which is important within fascinating for me, she says. UPOV, to come up with those harmonized guidelines that will work for all UPOV member countries.Supporting Policymakers A good example of enabling that functionality across The recent study IP Canada 2020 Report shows the posi- UPOV member states is Cloutiers work in PBR training in tive impact of Canadas ratification of UPOV and has putSenegal. When the African country was looking for inter-the Canadian PBR Office staff in a unique position tonational assistance with implementing a PBR framework, provide fact-based support for policymakers wanting toit needed input from countries with French-speaking enhance the effectiveness of PVP systems in other UPOVexaminers. As a bilingual examiner, Cloutier was able to member countries, Taveira says. highlight Canadas well-established framework and expe-According to the report, Canada is a major destina- riences to help develop Senegals PBR framework. tion and source of IP rights globally, with almost 160,000In Senegal, PBR protection is available through the applications for patents, trademarks, and industrialregional African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) designs coming to the Canadian Intellectual Propertysystem. OAPI registrations extend automatically to all Office and going out of Canada annually. The same trendmember states.applies to PBR. Applicants can be foreign or domestic,Theres a push to have more African countries private or public, and range in size from individuals tobecome members of UPOV, so they need to look at how large multi-national corporations. they can make that happen. Canada has been a real Cloutier, Balchin and PBR Office staff play a key rolemodel to the world in this regard, Cloutier says.in that. Hilary Papworth, senior technical manager for theBalchin has also represented Canada on the global NIAB Group in the United Kingdom, has 28 years experi- stage to strengthen PBR frameworks in UPOV member ence delivering trials on behalf of commercial clients andstates. She worked with the United States Department of governmental bodies. As the organization has grown (itsAgriculture and is currently working with Trinidad and tripled in size over the past decade), its worked closelyTobago to similarly train and build capacity for PBR in that with the Canadian PBR Office developing guidance for test- country. This has branched into work with Jamaica and ing new crops that are common to the U.K. and Canada. other smaller countries that are looking to structure their The NIAB Group (formerly the National Institute ofPBR system to encourage breeding and new varieties. Agricultural Botany, established over a century ago) pro- Were a very small PBR office and we serve all of vides independent agronomy and science-based technicalCanada. Our closest colleagues are our international ones and commercial services to government, the seed industryin other countries. The best kind of training we can get or and the wider agricultural and horticultural industries innetworking we can do is with other PBR offices around the U.K.the world. Rene and I both relied heavily on the experi-I frequently contact the Canadian office when weence of not only our colleagues here in Canada, but also have queries about varieties that may have been trialedinternationally, when we started out in this, Balchin says.in Canada that we havent seen over here in the U.K., orIts quite a community; theres a lot of information when its difficult for us to get access to materials andshared in terms of testing protocols and decision making. were trying to gather more information to make theRene and I have been given opportunities to give back whole process work smoothly and in a harmonized way,and provide training and share our expertise. After all Papworth says.these years its great to bein a position where we can Its that interaction between our two offices thatstart giving back. MARCH 2023 GERMINATION.CA 21'