Intellectual Property Rights and Canadian Wheat Breeding for the 21st Century

Richard S. Gray, Ross Stephen Kingwell, Viktoriya Galushko, Katarzyna Bolek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Web of Science)


Although wheat is the largest field crop in Canada, the intellectual property rights for the self-pollinated, nongenetically modified crop have been too weak to allow significant royalty flow to plant breeders. The sector heavily relies on resource-constrained public breeding programs for new variety development. This long-standing situation could change with the 2015 Agricultural Growth Act, which strengthens Canadian plant breeders’ rights to be consistent with the UPOV 91 convention. We explore the potential implications for Canada by examining the experience with UPOV 91 implementation in the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. Using the royalty structures in these countries as potential pathways for Canada, an ex ante benefit–cost framework is used to illustrate the choice of pathway is important. Over a 40-year period, the Australian, French, and U.K. implementation pathways generate 4.8, 4.0, and 1.5 $CDN billion in net benefit (respectively) over the status quo. Over shorter time horizons of 20 and 30 years, France is quicker to establish uniform endpoint royalties that provide the highest net benefits. Proactive industry engagement to develop a more robust royalty collection system is required to realize these potential benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-691
Number of pages25
JournalCanadian Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


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