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Bill C-353

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2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
57-58 Elizabeth II, 2009
house of commons of canada
BILL C-353
An Act to prohibit the release, sale, importation and use of seeds incorporating or altered by variety-genetic use restriction technologies (V-GURTs), also called “terminator technologies”, and to make a consequential amendment to another Act
Whereas Canada is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity;
Whereas the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity have (by paragraph 23 of decision V/5, section III, Genetic Use Restriction Technologies) recommended that “in the current absence of reliable data on genetic use restriction technologies, without which there is an inadequate basis on which to assess their potential risks, and in accordance with the precautionary approach, products incorporating such technologies should not be approved by Parties for field testing until appropriate scientific data can justify such testing, and for commercial use until appropriate, authorized and strictly controlled scientific assessments with regard to, inter alia, their ecological and socio-economic impacts and any adverse effects for biological diversity, food security and human health have been carried out in a transparent manner and the conditions for their safe and beneficial use validated”;
And whereas the Government of Canada wishes to prohibit variety-genetic use restriction technologies (V-GURTs) in order to protect the nation’s farmers, national food security and the environment by ensuring that “terminator seeds” cannot be released, sold, imported or used within Canada;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
Short title
1. This Act may be cited as the Terminator Seeds Ban Act.
2. The following definitions apply in this Act.
« contravention »
“contravention” means any contravention of this Act or the regulations that may be proceeded with in accordance with the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act.
« environne- ment »
“environment” means
(a) air, land and water;
(b) all layers of the atmosphere;
(c) all organic and inorganic matter and living organisms; and
(d) the interacting natural systems that include components referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c).
« importation »
“import” means to import into Canada.
« ministre »
“Minister” means the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
« dissémination »
“release” means any discharge or emission of terminator seeds into the environment or exposure of the environment to the terminator seeds, and includes the growing and field-testing of plants containing V-GURTs as part of their genetic structure.
« semences »
“seed” means any plant part of any species belonging to the plant kingdom, represented, sold or used to grow a plant.
« vente »
“sell” includes agree to sell, or offer, keep, expose, transmit, send, convey or deliver for sale, or agree to exchange or to dispose of to any person in any manner for consideration.
“terminator seed”
« semence Terminator »
“terminator seed” means any seed or plant containing V-GURTs as part of its genetic structure.
« utilisation »
“use” means the planting or cultivation of terminator seeds resulting in a release.
“variety-genetic use restriction technologies”, “V-GURTs” or “terminator technologies”
« technologies de restriction de l’utilisation des ressources génétiques affectant les variétés », « V-GURT » ou « technologies Terminator »
“variety-genetic use restriction technologies”, “V-GURTs” or “terminator technologies”, means molecular technologies
(a) that use tools such as recombinant DNA technologies and genetic engineering intended or designed to result in a seed or plant whose ability to reproduce — including the ability to germinate or mature to the reproductive stage — is blocked or otherwise compromised; and
(b) that involve the utilization or insertion of molecular mechanisms, including genetic sequences, capable of acting as switches aimed at activating or deactivating, through external inducers such as environmental or chemical inducers or through inducer lines — that is, the activation or establishment of the V-GURTs mechanism by crossing two transgenic plant lines — genes involved in the seed’s or plant’s ability to reproduce, including the ability to germinate or mature to the reproductive stage.
Binding on Her Majesty
3. This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.
Prohibited products
4. Notwithstanding any other Act of Parliament or a regulation made thereunder, no person shall release, sell, import or use any terminator seed.
5. The Governor in Council may make regulations generally for carrying the purposes or provisions of this Act into effect, and in particular, but without limiting the generality of the foregoing, may make regulations
(a) for classifying V-GURT components and for prescribing the composition, quality and character of V-GURTs;
(b) prescribing any thing that is to be included or not to be included in the definition “V-GURTs” in section 2;
(c) prohibiting the release, sale, importation or use of V-GURTs; and
(d) prescribing procedures for the destruction or disposal of seeds modified by V-GURTs.
Contravention of Act or regulations
6. (1) Every person who, or whose employee or agent, contravenes any provision of this Act or any regulation made under Section 5
(a) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding $1,000,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both; or
(b) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a fine not exceeding $5,000,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both.
Offence by director or officer of corporation
(2) Where a corporation commits an offence under this Act or the regulations, any director or officer of the corporation who authorizes or acquiesces in the offence or fails to exercise due diligence to prevent its commission is guilty of an offence and liable to the punishment provided for in subsection (1).
Proof of the offence
(3) In a prosecution for an offence under this Act, it is sufficient proof of the offence to establish that it was committed by an employee or agent of the accused, whether or not the employee or agent is identified or has been prosecuted for the offence.
Limitation period
(4) Proceedings by way of summary conviction in respect of an offence under this Act may be instituted at any time within two years after the time when the subject-matter of the proceedings becomes known to the Minister.
Minister's certificate
(5) A document purporting to have been issued by the Minister, certifying the day on which the subject-matter of any proceedings became known to the Minister, is admissible in evidence without proof of the signature or official character of the person appearing to have signed the document and is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof of the matters asserted in it.
R.S., c. P-4
Patent Act
7. Subsection 27(8) of the Patent Act is replaced by the following:
What may not be patented
(8) No patent shall be granted for
(a) any mere scientific principle or abstract theorem; or
(b) any modified DNA sequence or construct, or any plant or other organism containing such a DNA sequence or construct, where that DNA sequence or construct is the variety-genetic (i.e., DNA) basis for a GURT (genetic use restriction technology) or GURT application, including one designed to
result in an organism whose ability to reproduce, including the ability to germinate from seed or mature to the reproductive stage or develop to produce viable seeds, is blocked or otherwise compromised.
Published under authority of the Speaker of the House of Commons
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