On December 9, 2020 the National Farmers Union sent the following letter to Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Minister responsible for Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
Dear Minister Bains
RE: Objection to business name “Seeds Canada”
The National Farmers Union (NFU) would like to register a formal objection to the planned use of “Seeds Canada” as the business name, corporate name and/or trademark for the organization that will be formed through the dissolution of four organizations: Canadian Seed Trade Association, the Canadian Plant Technology Agency, the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada and the Canadian Seed Institute; and their reconfiguration by amalgamation into a new entity, following the outcome of a vote by each of the respective organizations. Results were announced on December 2, 2020 in a joint news release: Four Seed Organizations Vote to Proceed with Seeds Canada Amalgamation .
The NFU objects to the use of “Seeds Canada” as this entity’s business name on the grounds that it is contrary to the Canada Business Corporations Act Regulations, Section 26, which states:
26 For the purpose of paragraph 12(1)(a) of the Act, a corporate name is prohibited if it connotes that the corporation …
(b) is sponsored or controlled by or is connected with the Government of Canada, the government of a province, the government of a country other than Canada or a political subdivision or agency of any such government, unless the appropriate government, political subdivision or agency consents in writing to the use of the name;
We believe that “Seeds Canada” connotes a department or agency of the Government of Canada because the construction of the name is parallel to the names of several government departments and agencies, such as Revenue Canada, Health Canada, Elections Canada, Service Canada, Transport Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; the fact that, as laid out in its published business plan, this organization seeks to become empowered to engage in regulatory activities; and it plans to locate its headquarters in Ottawa. Thus, it would be easy for members of the public, including farmers and others whose activities are regulated under the Seeds Act, to mistakenly believe that “Seeds Canada” is a government agency.
This new corporation’s voting members will be restricted to companies that derive revenue from seed business. Using “Seeds Canada” as a business name would improperly and unduly enhance this corporation’s authority when interacting with clients. It would also lead to confusion about its proper role in public communications regarding seed issues, since this new entity also plans to lobby government for changes to the various seed-related laws, regulations, and authorities in the interests of its members, which include the world’s largest multinational seed corporations. By planning to use the name “Seeds Canada” the corporation appears ready to appropriate the reputation of the Government of Canada. Using the name “Seeds Canada” while advancing its members’ private interests through both lobbying and regulatory activities has a high risk of harming the reputation of the government.
We are therefore calling upon you to ensure that this business name, which, in our view has the connotation that it is a government department or agency, is deemed illegal and disallowed.
Katie Ward, President
National Farmers Union
CC Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude.Bibeau@parl.gc.ca
James Cumming, MP Conservative Industry Critic James.Cumming@parl.gc.ca
Brian Masse, MP NDP Industry Critic email@example.com
Louise Charbonneau, MP Bloc Quebecois Industry Critic Louise.Charbonneau@parl.gc.ca
Lianne Rood, MP Conservative Agriculture Critic Lianne.Rood@parl.gc.ca
Alistair MacGregor, MP NDP Agriculture Critic Alistair.MacGregor@parl.gc.ca
Yves Perron, MP Bloc Quebecois Agriculture Critic Yves.Perron@parl.gc.ca
Paul Manly, MP Green Party Agriculture Critic Paul.Manly@parl.gc.ca