Canada Organic Standards & Regulations

Any agricultural product that is labelled organic (including food for human consumption, livestock feed and seeds) is regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Producers of these products must be prepared demonstrate that organic claims are truthful and not misleading, and that all commodity-specific requirements have been met. All food sold in Canada must comply with the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations,the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations, and any commodity-specific requirements, such as those for dairy, eggs and meat.

Compliance with the Organic Products Regulations, 2009 is also required if the product:

  • has an organic claim on the label and is sold between provinces or territories or imported; or
  • displays the Canada Organic Logo on the label and is sold within or outside of Canada.

What are the Canadian Organic Standards?

Under the Organic Products Regulations, 2009, products must be certified organic according to the Canadian Organic Standards. This includes two national standards:

  • CAN/CGSB 32.310 – Organic Production Systems – General Principles and Management Standards
  • CAN/CGSB 32.311 – Organic Production Systems – Permitted Substances Lists

What is the Canada Organic Regime?

The Canada Organic Regime refers to the organic certification system outlined in the Organic Products Regulations, 2009. The purpose of the Canada Organic Regime is to regulate all parties involved in the certification of agricultural organic products and to verify all applicable regulatory requirements, standards and guidance documents are being met.

Who is responsible for the Canada Organic Regime?

The CFIA oversees, monitors and enforces the requirements of the Canada Organic Regime using a third-party service delivery model that includes conformity verification bodies, certification bodies and organic operators.

  • 1) CFIA
    • Sets the federal rules for the Canada Organic Regime
    • Designates and audits conformity verification bodies
    • Accredits certification bodies
    • Establishes organic equivalency arrangements with other countries
  • 2) Conformity verification bodies
    • Assess applications from certification bodies and submit recommendations for accreditation of certification bodies to the CFIA
    • Monitor the accredited certification bodies
  • 3) Certification bodies
    • Verify that operators produce organic products in compliance with the Canadian Organic Standards
    • Issue certificates for organic products as well as for the activities of packaging and labelling when meeting the Canadian Organic Standards
  • 4) Operators producing organic products
    • Comply with the Canadian Organic Standards
    • Comply with any relevant Canadian legislation

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