The Canadian Ornamental Plant Foundation was established in the 1960s, as a collaborative initiative between plant breeders and growers of nursery and greenhouse floriculture plants. Their mission was to create an organized approach for the voluntary collection and redistribution of royalties on new plant varieties introduced to the Canadian marketplace. In the absence of Plant Breeders’ Rights protection, this undertaking was seen as crucial to support the plant breeding industry and to ensure a steady stream of new and improved plants that are a necessary contributor to a vibrant marketplace. By supporting the plant breeder industry, both domestic and international, the entire value chain of growers, landscapers and retailers, were assured of ongoing access to new plant varieties.
The advent of Plant Breeders’ Rights regulations in Canada in the early 1990s helped to strengthen the marketplace, by giving breeders access to an important regulatory tool for the collection of plant royalties. Due to the scope and diversity of the Canadian marketplace, the role of COPF as a third-party collection agency was more important than ever.
The ornamental plant sector has undergone a large transformation since then, with branding companies retaining control over their consumer marketing programs and commercialization and licensing systems. With overhead costs no longer able to keep up with the shrinking membership base and royalty collection revenues, the COPF board felt they had no alternative but to cease operations, a move originally scheduled for March 31, 2018.
In consideration of the needs of their very diverse membership, CNLA saw the need to continue with the COPF model and especially on behalf of their smaller and medium-sized growers. At a special meeting of CNLA and the Board of COPF in February of 2018, it was agreed that CNLA would take over the management of the COPF business model. The immediate objective was to restructure administrative processes to make them more in keeping with the reduced quantity of both membership and registered plants. COPF has retained its name and legal status, but will operate with assistance from and under the CNLA umbrella.
It is the goal of the new COPF that the streamlining of royalty collection and disbursement procedures will realize some small profits which would be reinvested by CNLA to address important industry research priorities.