Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 150, Number 5: Weed Seeds Order

January 30, 2016

Statutory authority

Seeds Act

Sponsoring agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency


(This statement is not part of the Order.)


The current Weed Seeds Order, 2005 (WSO) does not accurately reflect the potential risks posed by weed species in Canada, results in undue burden on industry stemming from the outdated regulation of weed species, and is not aligned with current international best practices. Also, as a result of amendments to the Seeds Act in February of 2015, there is a lack of consistency in wording in the WSO that could result in misinterpretation.


The Seeds Act (Act), and the Seeds Regulations (Regulations), made pursuant to the Act, govern the import, export and sale of seed to facilitate the availability of pure and effective seed for Canadian consumers and export markets. The WSO, a ministerial order made pursuant to subsection 4(2) of the Act, plays a critical role in the prevention of the introduction of new weed species into Canada by preventing or limiting the presence of weed species in seed sold in, or imported into, Canada.

The WSO includes six classifications of weed seeds that are differentiated by level of risk. The most restrictive class, Class 1 prohibited noxious weed seeds, prohibits any level of the listed species. For species listed in classes 2 to 6, the number of weed seeds that are permitted in a seed sample of a crop kind are specified in various tables of Schedule I of the Regulations. Each class identifies which tables of Schedule I are applicable. The determination of risk posed by various weed species is based upon considerations such as geographic distribution of weed species and potential harm posed by a weed species.

The geographic distribution of weed species changes over time as a result of weed management practices and as weed species adapt to new growing conditions. From a seed quality and plant protection perspective, it is important that the WSO remains current to ensure that it is an effective tool for prohibiting or restricting weed species of concern, and to control the spread of weed species through seed. The WSO must also address the threat of the introduction of weed species through the importation of seed for all purposes, including conventional agricultural products, home-based or residential products such as wildflower mixtures, and land reclamation mixtures composed of multiple crop species used to restore vegetation on unmanaged land. Periodic reviews of the WSO are therefore required to add or remove certain weed species and to review the classifications of all currently listed weed species against the established class risks.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) identifies potential weed species of concern through scientific scanning and a thorough review of the regulated weed lists of Canada's trading partners. The CFIA conducts risk assessments on these identified weed species to gather information on their geographic distribution both in Canada and abroad, as well as on their potential harm, and whether their seeds can be visually identified. These risk assessments are used to determine which WSO class is applicable and if any of the existing WSO weed species should be reclassified or removed.


The objectives of this regulatory amendment are to revise the WSO to


This regulatory amendment proposes to revise the current WSO to reclassify existing weed species based on the most recent information about their distribution and to regulate new and emerging weed species of potential concern.

Proposed changes to the WSO include Class 2 primary noxious weed seeds applying to all grade tables in Schedule I of the Regulations (Tables XIV and XV are currently exempt), the reclassification of 11 species from Class 1 (prohibited noxious weed seeds) to Class 2 (primary noxious weed seeds), moving two species from Class 2 (primary noxious weed seeds) to Class 3 (secondary noxious weed seeds), and the addition of 16 species to Class 1, 16 species to Class 2 and 5 species to Class 3.

An amendment to subsection 4(2) of the Act resulting from the promulgation of the Agricultural Growth Act (Bill C-18) on February 25, 2015, necessitates a revision to section 1 of the WSO to align the regulatory text with the Act to ensure consistency in language and to clarify the authority of the Minister. Therefore, these amendments to the WSO propose to replace the word “species” with the word “kinds”, and to remove the words “for the purpose of establishing grades” to improve consistency in language.

“One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply as there would be no change in administrative costs to business as a result of these proposed amendments to the WSO.

Small business lens

The small business lens does not apply to this proposal as costs to small businesses are insignificant as the nationwide cost impacts are less than $1 million annually.


The CFIA has conducted extensive consultations with the Canadian seed industry and stakeholders on the proposed amendments to the WSO. The Canadian seed industry is composed of seed producers, seed exporters, seed importers, seed vendors, seed graders/samplers, seed establishments, and accredited seed testing laboratories.

Consultation began with two CFIA-led workshops; the first on October 29, 2008, and the second on June 17, 2011. Attendees at the workshops represented the Canadian Seed Trade Association, the Canadian Seed Growers' Association, the Commercial Seed Analysts' Association of Canada, the Canadian Weed Science Society, and provincial weed specialists. All consultation documents were distributed by email to the CFIA Seed Section's general stakeholder list that included approximately 2 000 recipients.

Two consultative proposals were distributed to stakeholders for comment. The initial consultation began October 23, 2009, and closed February 15, 2010. Responses received during the initial consultation were reviewed and integrated into a revised proposal that was subsequently used for a secondary consultation. The second consultation was conducted between June 17, 2011, and September 15, 2011. In addition, the CFIA took into consideration any further comments received to date regarding the proposed amendments to the WSO that were submitted by stakeholders outside of the formal consultations.

The CFIA invited provincial weed specialists to WSO workshops and included these specialists in all consultation sessions. The CFIA maintains regular communication with all provincial weed specialists in order to facilitate the coordination of provincial weed seed lists and the WSO.

CFIA representatives attended annual Canadian Weed Science Society meetings and provided poster presentations on the proposed new weed seed classifications. The CFIA also addressed proposed revisions to the WSO at various meetings with the Canadian Seed Trade Association, the Commercial Seed Analysts' Association of Canada and the Canadian Seed Growers' Association.

The proposed amendments to the WSO are well supported by key stakeholders and are expected to cause little to no controversy. The stakeholders affected by each weed species can vary as the impact of a weed species is dependent on the region of Canada, the type of crop grown, and the production methods used.

The proposed modified application of Class 2 weeds to all the tables of Schedule I of the Regulations was supported by the majority of stakeholders. While there were some stakeholders that indicated that the status quo would be preferred, the rationale for the proposed modifications was clearly communicated to all stakeholders. As weed species are re-classified from Class 1 to Class 2, it remains critical that the risk of further introductions of these weed species is minimized. By exempting Tables XIV and XV from Class 2 species, there is the risk that these species would be introduced through seed lots. Tables XIV and XV are specific to lawn or turf mixtures and ground cover mixtures containing two or more kinds of seeds. Currently, Class 2 applies to single species lots of these crop kinds, so there would be no added burden to regulate Class 2 weed species within mixtures of these crop kinds.

The proposed placement of species on the amended WSO was well supported by all key stakeholders. Weed species placement was determined by level of risk for each class within the WSO as established in consultation with stakeholders. A few stakeholders challenged the classification and placement of a few weed species. However, further review by the CFIA determined that the species in question did indeed meet the class level of risk. While some stakeholders have claimed that some weed species believed to be absent from Canada by the CFIA are in fact present in Canada, they have yet to provide evidence to that effect.

The CFIA received a stakeholder comment concerning the proposal to list four brome species as Class 3. The comment received questioned the ability of these four brome species to establish in Canada, and their potential to cause harm. Concern was expressed about the costs to produce seed lots that meet the standards of the proposed amendments to the WSO. In light of this comment, the CFIA conducted additional scientific reviews, which confirmed that the brome species meet all criteria for classification as secondary noxious weed seeds or higher. This scientific review and evaluation supports the CFIA's decision to include the four brome weed species in the WSO as Class 3.

To fulfil its international obligations, the CFIA will provide notification of its intent to amend the WSO to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to provide members with an opportunity to comment on the proposal.

As part of assessing the economic impact that this proposal may have, the CFIA also conducted an economic impact survey in October 2014 to facilitate the collection of data and information from businesses potentially affected by these proposed amendments. The survey focused on the potential economic impact on affected businesses and any potential incremental administrative burden that would be imposed on affected businesses in the industry.

The majority (approximately 98% based on North American Industry Classification System [NAICS] codes 418320 — Seed Wholesaler-Distributors, 493190 — Other Warehousing and Storage, 111422 — Floriculture Production and 541990 — All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services) of the sector is comprised of small businesses. Only a small portion of businesses in the seed industry would be affected by these amendments based on the economic impact survey responses.


An amended WSO would contribute to a reduction in the number of introduced and established weeds in Canada, thereby preserving biodiversity, and to maintaining the effective delivery of the CFIA's Invasive Plant Policy. The proposed amendments would ensure that species will be listed under the correct class and would include emerging weed species of concern. The proposed amendments to the policy and regulatory frameworks would improve the efficiency of agricultural production by reducing undue burden on industry resulting from the outdated regulation of weed species.

The current WSO does not accurately reflect the potential risks posed by weed species in Canada. This proposal would satisfy the fundamental objective of revising the WSO to enhance its effectiveness by reflecting the current distribution of weed species in Canada, ensuring that weed species are listed under the correct class and that emerging weed species of concern are included. In addition, a revised WSO would improve Canada's application of current international best practices and conformity with current scientific nomenclature.

This proposed regulatory amendment would revise the current WSO to reclassify existing species based on the most recent information about their distribution and to introduce new weed species of potential concern. These proposed amendments to the WSO also include the addition of some species not yet present in Canada, which would prevent or slow the spread of these weeds and the potential negative impact of their introduction.

Agricultural producers have established weed management regimes that align with their production methods and the weed species of concern present on their land. The establishment of a new weed species would require producers to review and revise their weed management plans, which could increase their production costs.

Preventing the introduction of a weed species not yet present in Canada also eliminates a potential export issue that would require additional inspection services. An amended WSO would assist in maintaining market access for Canadian products, as most countries have increasing restrictions on the presence of particular weed seeds in seed and grain import shipments. If Canada can remain free of prohibited noxious weeds, the reputation and value of its agricultural products in world markets would be at minimum maintained.

Only a small portion of businesses in the seed industry would be affected by these amendments according to the economic impact survey responses. Based on the survey results, it is estimated that approximately 11% of seed companies that develop, produce and sell seed, 22% of seed producers, 28% of accredited seed testing laboratories and 39% of businesses such as seed establishments and authorized importers would be affected. The majority of affected businesses (approximately 98%) are small businesses. These small businesses could expect to assume incremental compliance costs to purchase additional screens (a component of a seed cleaning machine) for additional seed cleaning, and costs to train seed analysts in identifying all added WSO species.

In contrast, some affected businesses would benefit from cost savings due to the reduced seed cleaning costs resulting from the proposed reclassification of some species.

With respect to training costs, CFIA staff, accredited laboratories, and seed industry personnel, including seed graders, would need to be trained on the amended WSO and on the identification of new weed seed species. Government and the seed industry would need to invest one to several days per person in training for personnel to become familiar with the new species listed on the revised WSO. In completing the analysis, it was assumed that the training cost for the industry (e.g. seed industry personnel, including seed graders) would be the same as the training cost for seed analysts.

Additional industry costs may also include improved quality management systems to reduce risks associated with new species listed on the WSO, as well as the potential costs of cleaning or destroying seed that cannot be sold in Canada if it does not meet the minimum standard set out in Schedule I of the Regulations.

Market and export value losses were also identified by some of the stakeholders as a potential impact of these amendments. In order to avoid or to minimize a potential market loss caused by a delay in identifying the weed species in the amended WSO, affected businesses would need to train their seed analysts immediately.

It is anticipated that export and domestic value losses would impact a small portion of seed exporters of grasses mainly in Alberta and Saskatchewan as a result of the addition of the brome species to Class 3 of the WSO due to the discount on these seed lots. The impact is not considered significant, as only a few businesses (about 10) would be affected.

The standard cost model was used to conduct the quantitative cost analysis as per Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat guidance. The data used in the analysis was gathered through the economic impact survey.

Based on the above information, standard cost model methodology and assumptions regarding training, the annualized value of the estimated incremental compliance costs for all businesses resulting from these proposed amendments would be $213,214, which equates to $49 per affected business. As most of the affected businesses are small businesses, almost all of these costs would be carried by small businesses. The results are based on a regulatory coming into force year of 2016 and use 2012 constant prices.

Implementation and enforcement

The proposed amendments to the WSO would come into force on November 1, 2016.

There would be no new enforcement provisions associated with the proposed amendments to the WSO.

The CFIA would take a proactive approach to educating and informing industry and stakeholders on the proposed amendments to the WSO.

The CFIA would provide notification of the proposed amendments to the WSO to industry and stakeholders, CFIA staff, and to federal and provincial government departments and agencies as appropriate and would post the proposed amendments on the CFIA's Web site.

The CFIA Saskatoon Laboratory's Seed Science and Technology Section (SSTS) houses Canada's National Seed Herbarium (NSH). The NSH's staff expertise and specimen collections were used to develop seed identification fact sheets for most of the species proposed for addition to the WSO. These fact sheets have been published on the CFIA's Web site. The SSTS is working with stakeholders to develop training resources to prepare for the coming into force of a revised WSO.


Michael Scheffel
National Manager
Seed Section
Plant Production Division
Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0Y9
Telephone: 613-773-7142
Fax: 613-773-7261


Notice is given that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, pursuant to subsection 4(2) (see footnote a) of the Seeds Act (see footnote b), proposes to make the annexed Weed Seeds Order.

Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Order within 75 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Michael Scheffel, National Manager, Seed Section, Plant Production Division, Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 59 Camelot Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0Y9 (tel.: 613-773-7142; fax: 613-773-7261; email:

Ottawa, January 15, 2016

Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Weed Seeds Order

1 The seeds of the kinds of plants set out in the schedule are specified to be weed seeds for the purposes of the Seeds Act.


2 The Weed Seeds Order, 2005 (see footnote 1) is repealed.

Coming into Force

3 These Regulations come into force on November 1, 2016.

(Section 1)

Prohibited Noxious Weed Seeds

(Applicable to all tables of Schedule I to the Seeds Regulations)

Column 1

Latin Name

Column 2

Common Name

1 Aegilops cylindrica Host Jointed goatgrass
2 Alopecurus myosuroides Huds. Slender foxtail
3 Bothriochloa ischaemum (L.) Keng Yellow bluestem
4 Bothriochloa laguroides (DC.) Herter Silver beardgrass
5 Centaurea diffusa Lam. Diffuse knapweed
6 Centaurea iberica Trevir. ex Spreng. Iberian starthistle
7 Centaurea solstitialis L. Yellow starthistle
8 Centaurea stoebe L. (=Centaurea maculosa Lam.) Spotted knapweed
9 Centaurea virgata Lam. subsp. squarrosa (Boiss.) Gugler Squarrose knapweed
10 Crupina vulgaris Cass. Common crupina
11 Cuscuta. spp Dodder
12 Echium plantagineum L. Paterson's curse
13 Eriochloa villosa (Thunb.) Kunth Woolly cup grass
14 Halogeton glomeratus (M. Bieb.) Ledeb. Halogeton
15 Inula britannica L. British Yellowhead
16 Milium vernale M. Bieb. Spring Millet grass
17 Nassella trichotoma (Nees) Hack. ex Arechav. Serrated tussock
18 Paspalum dilatatum Poir. Dallis grass
19 Peganum harmala L. African-rue
20 Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H. Gross Devil's-tail tearthumb
21 Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr. Kudzu
22 Senecio inaequidens DC. South African ragwort
23 Senecio madagascariensis Poir. Madagascar ragwort
24 Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav. Silverleaf nightshade
25 Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski Medusahead rye
26 Zygophyllum fabago L. Syrian bean-caper

Primary Noxious Weed Seeds

(Applicable to all tables of Schedule I to the Seeds Regulations)

Column 1

Latin Name

Column 2

Common Name

1 Abutilon theophrasti Medik. Velvetleaf
2 Amaranthus tuberculatus (Moq.) J.D.Sauer Tall water-hemp
3 Ambrosia trifida L. Giant ragweed
4 Anthriscus sylvestris (L.) Hoffm. Cow parsley
5 Berteroa incana (L.) DC. Hoary alyssum
6 Carduus acanthoides L. Spiny plumeless thistle
7 Carduus nutans L. Nodding thistle
8 Cenchrus longispinus (Hack.) Fernald Long-spined sandbur
9 Chondrilla juncea L. Rush skeletonweed
10 Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. Canada thistle
11 Conium maculatum L. Poison hemlock
12 Convolvulus arvensis L. Field bindweed
13 Datura stramonium L. Jimsonweed
14 Elymus repens (L.) Gould Couchgrass
15 Euphorbia esula L. Leafy spurge
16 Galega officinalis L. Goat's-rue
17 Heracleum mantegazzianum Sommier & Levier Giant hogweed
18 Heracleum sosnowskyi Manden. Hogweed
19 Jacobaea vulgaris Gaertn. Tansy ragwort
20 Lepidium appelianum Al-Shehbaz (=Cardaria pubescens (C.A. Mey.) Jarm.) Globe-pod hoary cress
21 Lepidium chalepense L. (= Cardaria chalepensis (L.) Hand.-Mazz.) Lens-pod hoary cress
22 Lepidium draba L. subsp. draba (=Cardaria draba (L.) Desv.) Heart-pod hoary cress
23 Linaria dalmatica (L.) Mill. Dalmatian toadflax
24 Linaria genistifolia (L.) Mill. Broomleaf toadflax
25 Linaria repens (L.) Mill. Striped toadflax
26 Linaria vulgaris Mill. Yellow toadflax
27 Lythrum salicaria L. Purple loosestrife
28 Nicandra physalodes (L.) Gaertn. Apple of Peru
29 Odontites vernus (Bellardi) Dumort. subsp. serotinus (Dumort.) Corb. (=Odontites serotina Dumort.) Red Bartsia
30 Raphanus raphanistrum L. Wild radish
31 Rhaponticum repens (L.) Hidalgo Russian knapweed
32 Setaria faberi R.A.W. Herrm. Giant foxtail
33 Solanum carolinense L. Horse nettle (Ball nettle)
34 Sonchus arvensis L. Perennial sow thistle
35 Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers. Johnson grass
36 Tribulus terrestris L. Puncture vine

Secondary Noxious Weed Seeds

(Applicable to all tables of Schedule I to the Seeds Regulations except Tables XIV and XV)

Column 1

Latin Name

Column 2

Common Name

1 Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. Common ragweed
2 Anthemis cotula L. Mayweed
3 Avena fatua L. Wild oat
4 Avena sterilis L. Sterile oat
5 Barbarea spp. Yellow rocket or winter cress
6 Bromus arvensis L. Field brome
7 Bromus japonicus Houtt. Japanese brome
8 Bromus secalinus L. Cheat
9 Bromus tectorum L. Downy brome
10 Daucus carota L. subsp. carota Wild carrot
11 Erucastrum gallicum (Willd.) O.E. Schulz Dog mustard
12 Galium aparine L. Cleavers
13 Galium mollugo L. False baby's breath
14 Galium spurium L. False cleavers
15 Galium verrucosum Huds. Warty bedstraw
16 Lepidium campestre (L.) W.T.Aiton Field peppergrass
17 Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. (=Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L.) Ox-eye daisy
18 Lolium persicum Boiss. & Hohen. Persian darnel
19 Pastinaca sativa L. Wild parsnip
20 Plantago lanceolata L. Ribgrass
21 All Rumex species (except R. maritimus L. & R. acetosella L.) Dock
22 Silene latifolia Poir. subsp. alba (Mill.) Greuter & Burdet (=Silene pratensis (Rafn) Gord. & Gren.) White cockle
23 Silene noctiflora L. Night-flowering catchfly
24 Silene vulgaris (Moench) Garcke Bladder campion
25 Sinapis arvensis L. Wild Mustard
26 Sisymbrium loeselii L. Tall Hedge mustard
27 Thlaspi arvense L. Stinkweed
28 Tripleurospermum inodorum (L.) Sch.Bip. Scentless chamomile
29 Vaccaria hispanica (Mill.) Rauschert (=Saponaria vaccaria L.) Cow cockle

Secondary Noxious Weed Seeds

(Applicable to Table XII of Schedule I to the Seeds Regulations)

The weed species named in Class 3 and in addition:

Column 1

Latin Name

Column 2

Common Name

1 Cerastium spp. Chickweed
2 Digitaria spp. Crabgrass
3 Panicum spp. Panic grass
4 Prunella vulgaris L. Heal-all
5 Stellaria media (L.) Vill. Chickweed, common

Noxious Weed Seeds

(Applicable to Tables XIV and XV of Schedule I to the Seeds Regulations)

The weed species named in Class 2 and in addition:

Column 1

Latin Name

Column 2

Common Name

1 Cerastium spp. Chickweed
2 Digitaria spp. Crabgrass
3 Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. (=Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L.) Ox-eye daisy
4 Panicum spp. Panic grass
5 Prunella vulgaris L. Heal-all
6 Stellaria media (L.) Vill. Chickweed, common
7 Tripleurospermum inodorum (L.) Sch.Bip. Scentless chamomile

Other Weed Seeds

Seeds of all other kinds or species of plants not listed as kinds or species in Schedule I to the Seeds Regulations.