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Celebrating a site blessing and ground breaking at the Centre for Plant Health

Federal investments in science infrastructure are protecting and enhancing Canada's agriculture, trade and economy. A site blessing performed by Elders from local First Nations and a ground breaking ceremony marked the start of construction for a new plant health diagnostic and research facility at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) Centre for Plant Health in North Saanich, British Columbia. A modern, built-for-purpose greenhouse and header house will improve efficiencies, increase capacity and support a stronger plant science network in Canada.

The Centre for Plant Health, also known as the Sidney Laboratory, is located on the traditional territory of the BOḰEĆEN (Pauquachin) and the MÁLEXEȽ (Malahat) First Nations, and of the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, which include the W̱JOŁEŁP (Tsartlip), the W̱SĺḴEM (Tseycum) and the SȾÁUTW̱ (Tsawout) First Nations. Representatives from these First Nations were in attendance at the ceremony. May Sam, a W̱JOŁEŁP (Tsartlip) Elder, gave a prayer and blessing in SENĆOŦEN, the regional dialect of a Coast Salish language. The event also included a celebration song by W̱SÁNEĆ drummers.

The Centre for Plant Health is Canada's only post-entry quarantine, research and diagnostic facility dedicated to the protection of tree fruit, grapevines and small fruit. The scientific work at the Centre for Plant Health is of national importance. By ensuring that imported plant material is free from diseases, developing new DNA-based testing, and keeping a repository of confirmed virus-free vines, the Centre for Plant Health protects plant resources and the natural environment from pathogens, viruses and other plant diseases. These services are essential to Canada's agricultural and agri-food sector.

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