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Plant Breeders’ Rights Act (S.C. 1990, c. 20)

Act current to 2021-04-20 and last amended on 2019-06-17. Previous Versions

Plant Breeders’ Rights Act

S.C. 1990, c. 20

Assented to 1990-06-19

An Act respecting plant breeders’ rights

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act.


Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) In this Act,


    advertise, in relation to a plant variety, means to distribute to members of the public or to bring to their notice, in any manner whatever, any written, illustrated, visual or other descriptive material, oral statement, communication, representation or reference with the intention of promoting the sale of any propagating material of the plant variety, encouraging the use thereof or drawing attention to the nature, properties, advantages or uses thereof or to the manner in which or the conditions on which it may be purchased or otherwise acquired; (publicité)

    advisory committee

    advisory committee means such advisory committee as may be constituted pursuant to subsection 73(1); (comité consultatif)


    agent, in relation to an applicant or a holder of plant breeder’s rights, means a person who is duly authorized by the applicant or holder to act, for the purposes of this Act, on behalf of the applicant or holder and to whom as a person so authorized recognition is, consistent with any requirements prescribed therefor, accorded by the Commissioner; (mandataire)

    agreement country

    agreement country means any of the following entities that is designated by the regulations as an agreement country with a view to the fulfilment of an agreement concerning the rights of plant breeders made between Canada and that entity:

    • (a) a country,

    • (b) a colony, protectorate or territory subject to the authority of another country or under its suzerainty,

    • (c) a territory over which another country exercises a mandate or trusteeship; (pays signataire)


    applicant means a person by or on behalf of whom an application for the grant of plant breeder’s rights is made pursuant to section 7; (requérant)


    breeder, in respect of a plant variety, means

    • (a) any person who originates or who discovers and develops the plant variety, or

    • (b) any person in respect of whom an officer, servant or employee, while acting within the scope of his or her duties as the officer, servant or employee of that person, originates or discovers and develops the plant variety; (obtenteur)


    category means, in relation to a plant, a species, a grouping of species or any class within a species; (catégorie)


    Commissioner means the Commissioner of Plant Breeders’ Rights designated pursuant to subsection 56(2) and, except in section 56, includes any person acting under a written authorization given pursuant to section 58; (directeur)

    country of the Union

    country of the Union means any country or other entity that is a party to the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of December 2, 1961, as amended from time to time, or any WTO Member as defined in subsection 2(1) of the World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation Act; (État de l’Union)


    document means anything on which information that is capable of being understood by a person, or read by a computer or other device, is recorded or marked; (document)

    filing date

    filing date means, in respect of an application, the date specified in the notice given under subsection 10(2); (date de dépôt)


    holder, in relation to plant breeder’s rights, means the person whom the register indicates, with respect to a plant variety, is entitled to the plant breeder’s rights respecting that variety by a grant made under section 27 or is an assignee of, or other successor in title to, the rights granted under that section in respect of that variety; (titulaire)


    index means the index prepared pursuant to section 62; (répertoire)


    infringement, in relation to plant breeder’s rights, means the doing, without authority under this Act, of anything that the holder of those rights has the right to do under any of sections 5 to 5.2; (violation)

    legal representative

    legal representative, in respect of a breeder of a plant variety, includes the breeder’s executor or administrator and any assignee of, or other successor in title to, the rights of the breeder in respect of the plant variety; (représentant légal)


    Minister means the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food; (ministre)

    new variety

    new variety means a plant variety that is described in subsection 4(3); (obtention végétale)


    person has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Criminal Code; (personne)

    plant breeder’s rights

    plant breeder’s rights, in relation to a plant variety, means the rights that are granted under section 27; (certificat d’obtention)

    plant variety

    plant variety means any plant grouping within a single botanical taxon of the lowest known rank that, whether or not the conditions for the grant of plant breeder’s rights are fully met, is capable of being

    • (a) defined by the expression of the characteristics resulting from a given genotype or combination of genotypes,

    • (b) distinguished from any other plant grouping by the expression of at least one of those characteristics, and

    • (c) considered as a unit with regard to its suitability for being reproduced unchanged; (variété végétale)


    prescribed means prescribed by regulation; (Version anglaise seulement)

    propagating material

    propagating material means any reproductive or vegetative material for propagation, whether by sexual or other means, of a plant variety, and includes seeds for sowing and any whole plant or part thereof that may be used for propagation; (matériel de multiplication)

    protective direction

    protective direction[Repealed, 2015, c. 2, s. 2]


    register means the register kept pursuant to section 63; (registre)


    sell includes agree to sell, or offer, advertise, keep, expose, transmit, send, convey or deliver for sale, or agree to exchange or to dispose of to any person in any manner for a consideration. (vente)

  • (2) [Repealed, 2015, c. 2, s. 2]

  • 1990, c. 20, s. 2
  • 1994, c. 38, s. 25
  • 1997, c. 6, s. 75
  • 2015, c. 2, s. 2

Her Majesty

Marginal note:Act binds Crown

 This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.

Conditions for Protection

Marginal note:Eligible plant varieties

  •  (1) Plant breeder’s rights may not be granted except in respect of a plant variety that belongs to a prescribed category and meets all of the conditions set out in subsection (2).

  • Marginal note:Conditions

    (2) Plant breeder’s rights may be granted in respect of a plant variety if it

    • (a) is a new variety;

    • (b) is, by reason of one or more identifiable characteristics, clearly distinguishable from all varieties whose existence is a matter of common knowledge at the filing date of the application for the grant of plant breeder’s rights respecting that plant variety;

    • (c) is stable in its essential characteristics in that after repeated propagation or, if the applicant has defined a particular cycle of propagation, at the end of each cycle it remains true to its description; and

    • (d) is, having regard to the particular features of its sexual reproduction or vegetative propagation, a sufficiently homogeneous variety.

  • Marginal note:New variety

    (3) A plant variety is a new variety if the propagating or harvested material of that variety has not been sold by, or with the concurrence of, the breeder of that variety or the breeder’s legal representative

    • (a) in Canada, before

      • (i) the prescribed period preceding the filing date of the application for the grant of plant breeder’s rights, in the case of a variety belonging to a recently prescribed category, and

      • (ii) the period of one year before the filing date of the application for the grant of plant breeder’s rights, in the case of any other variety; and

    • (b) outside Canada, before

      • (i) the period of six years before the filing date of the application for the grant of plant breeder’s rights, in the case of a tree or vine, and

      • (ii) the period of four years before the filing date of the application for the grant of plant breeder’s rights, in any other case.

  • Definition of sufficiently homogeneous variety

    (4) For the purposes of paragraph (2)(d), sufficiently homogeneous variety means a variety for which, in the event of its sexual reproduction or vegetative propagation in substantial quantity, any variations in characteristics of the plants so reproduced or propagated are predictable, capable of being described and commercially acceptable.

  • Marginal note:Regulations

    (5) The Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing classes of sales that are not to be considered sales for the purposes of subsection (3).

  • 1990, c. 20, s. 4
  • 2015, c. 2, s. 3
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