Jennifer Scott
Programs Manager, CSAAC

Summer is a busy time for everyone in the agricultural community, including CSI. It’s a good time to catch our clients up on what CSI has been busy with over the past few months.

We held an in-person training session in Winnipeg on June 5-6 with the CSI auditors. CSI holds annual webinar training sessions, but the opportunity to gather the auditors together and discuss questions and issues related to the audit program for registered seed establishments is rarer. Time was devoted to answering auditor questions pertaining to technical issues around grading, labelling, registration requirements and quality systems. We invited a quality systems expert to our training to provide information to the auditors on adding value to audits. There were presentations from the Canadian Grain Commission on the CIPRS and HACCP programs, and from CFIA. It was a valuable and productive two days for both CSI staff and auditors.

Plans are underway to train two new auditors who have been recruited by CSI. The training will include mentoring the new auditors as they develop their auditing skills. CSI’s goal is to ensure availability and continuity of auditors who operate at a high professional standard across the country.

As part of CSI’s commitment to offering a quality service to our clients, we will be conducting witness audits of our auditors this fall and winter, as part of a rotating monitoring schedule. If you happen to have a CSI observer come along for your audit, remember our job is to assess the work of your auditor, not audit you twice!

Please be aware that CFIA, as the registrar for the seed program in Canada, continues to carry out surveillance and monitoring activities in the seed sector. These monitoring activities may include visits to Registered Seed Establishments (RSEs), monitoring seed that is graded and labelled with a grade name, or reviewing records. CFIA receives a list each year from CSI of the RSEs that are due for an audit, and they make reasonable attempts to coordinate their visits with CSI’s audit schedule so that a RSE does not get visited by both CSI and CFIA in the same year.

Another enhancement to our client services is the introduction of the Seed Program Policy Manual. This policy manual was introduced to the auditors in June. They provided valuable feedback which we incorporated into the manual. This document includes descriptions of CSI’s mission statement and programs; our fee structure for the RSE and lab programs; the process for initial accreditation and registration of a new facility; the process for making changes to facility scope; withdrawal from the program and reinstatement; the licensing and accreditation of operators and graders; and an overview of the audit process and the increased interval program. Please keep an eye out for our announcement of when the policy manual is made public this fall.

CSI will be offering grader training in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba through the fall and winter. If someone at your RSE needs grader training, contact our Ottawa office to get your name on the waiting list, and you will have first dibs on a spot. The sessions fill up quickly!

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