GMO-free news from Canada

08.11.2023 |

Expert Panel Commissioned by Health Canada Urges Caution on Gene-Edited Insects for Pest Control

Environmental groups call for a ban on releasing GMOs into the wild

Halifax, Ottawa, Sutton, November 8, 2023 – Today, the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) released an Expert Panel report commissioned by the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada on the regulation of genetically engineering (genetically modified or GM) insects for pest control. The report focuses on the question of releasing gene-edited insects and “gene drive” organisms in particular, designed for release into the environment with the purpose of replacing or changing whole insect populations in the wild. The Expert Panel concludes that the complexity and uncertainties of using such genetically engineered insects (genetically modified organisms or GMOs) raise profound questions and require serious attention from the federal government.

27.05.2023 |

Young Canadians are willing to pay more for organic food

A new survey conducted by Research Co. has found that young Canadians aged 18 to 34 are more likely to be willing to pay a premium for food that is organic or free-from genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Of the 1,000 people involved in the survey, 41 per cent said they would not pay a higher price for organic food. The proportion increases to 57 per cent among people aged 55 and over, but decreases to 41 per cent among those aged 35 to 54. Only about one-quarter (23 per cent) of younger Canadians aged 18 to 34 said they wouldn’t pay more for organic food, according to the survey.

The survey found similar results regarding non-GMO food, with 31 per cent of people expressing their unwillingness to pay a premium for free-from GMO food. The proportion is higher (38 per cent) among those aged 55 and over and similar (31 per cent) among those aged 35 to 54 and lower (22 per cent) for those aged 18 to 34.

16.02.2023 |

CEPA (Bill S-5): Enviro Committee reverses Senate decisions on genetic pollution

Unceded Algonquin Territory – Ottawa, ON – February 16, 2023

Today Liberal and Conservative members of the House of Commons Environment Committee voted to remove Senate amendments requiring meaningful public participation in assessments of genetically engineered (GE) animals and an evaluation of whether there is a ‘demonstrable need’ for such an organism.

“We are dismayed that the government and official opposition have blocked strong, clear guidelines for meaningful public participation, which is a foundational part of any review and approval process in a democracy,” says Mark Butler, Senior Advisor with Nature Canada. “We are concerned at the overly pro-industry stance being taken by government MPs, which is not coherent with strong government commitments to protect Nature and the public interest.”

08.02.2023 |

Aquaculture company AquaBounty ditching genetically modified fish in favour of salmon eggs at P.E.I. facility

After just two harvests of genetically modified (GM) salmon from its facility in Prince Edward Island, U.S.-based company AquaBounty is changing up the business model for that location.

While it will continue to raise GM salmon at its Rollo Bay facility, it will focus on salmon broodstock and egg production, the company told SaltWire Network in an email.

07.02.2023 |

AquaBounty to stop producing GM salmon in Canada, as world’s first GM food animal struggles to find a market

February 7, 2023, Charlottetown. In a major turn-around, the US company AquaBounty says it will stop producing its controversial genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) Atlantic salmon in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada.

“This is a huge victory for everyone in PEI and across Canada who protested against this dangerous technology,” said Sharon Labchuk of the coalition GMO Free PEI. “Genetically modified fish are unnecessary and risky.”

AquaBounty has decided it will no longer produce GM fish in Canada, after rasing just two “cohorts” of its GM salmon at their only Canadian production site, on land at Rollo Bay, PEI. This facility was the world’s first purpose-built GM fish factory. The decision was reported in the seafood industry media SeafoodSource, quoting the company’s CEO, Sylvia Wulf.

18.05.2022 |

No Regulatory Exemptions

Despite the objections of over 105 groups and thousands of Canadians like you, Health Canada announced that it will allow companies to sell some new gene-edited foods without any government safety checks. Companies can now also sell these GM foods without telling the government about them. These regulatory exemptions apply to foods from gene-edited plants that have no foreign DNA (there is no DNA from other species incorporated). This decision to allow corporate self-regulation of these GM foods was approved by the Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos.

28.04.2022 |

Federal ministers urged to reject proposals to remove government safety checks of some GMOs as new polling confirms most Canadians want public regulation

The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) is renewing its call for the federal Ministers of Health and of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Jean-Yves Duclos and Marie-Claude Bibeau, to reject proposals to remove government oversight of some genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) foods and seeds, as new polling data confirms most Canadians want independent government regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). CBAN, a coalition of 15 environmental, farmer and social justice groups, also released a report “New Proposals Would Eliminate Transparency on GMOs in Canada” that describes how the changes would also remove the ability of the federal government to get information about these unregulated GMOs for Canadians, if the Ministers accept the proposals from Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

06.04.2022 |

No Regulatory Exemptions - Demand mandatory GMO safety assessments

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are proposing to exempt many new genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) foods and seeds from regulation. If approved, the proposals would remove government oversight of many new genetically modified organisms (GMOs) produced through the new genetic engineering techniques of genome editing (also called gene editing), with no foreign DNA. Corporations would determine the safety of their own products. Take action to stop the release of unregulated, unidentified GMOs.

24.03.2022 |

Unintended effects caused by techniques of new genetic engineering create a new quality of hazards and risks

New report from CBAN (Canada) and Testbiotech (Germany)

In the European Union and Canada, there are ongoing debates about deregulating organisms derived from methods of new genetic engineering (New GE, also called genome editing or new genomic techniques). Proposals to exempt genome editing from government regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) largely rest on assumptions about similarities between genome editing and conventional plant breeding that are not supported by scientific findings. These assumptions have led to the impression that there are no new and specific risks caused by New GE as compared to conventional breeding.

03.03.2022 |

Patents on Genome Editing in Canada

This factsheet provides an overview of the intellectual property issues surrounding the new genetic engineering (genetic modification or GM) techniques of genome editing (commonly called gene editing), with a focus on CRISPR-Cas9.