Organic Integrity is a strategic priority for SaskOrganics. Organic Integrity is the foundation of our sector. To maintain organic integrity and enhance public trust, over the next five years SaskOrganics will pursue the adoption of Canada Organic Regime (COR) by the provincial government, actively participate in the COR review process facilitated by the Organic Federation of Canada, and work with certification bodies, the CFIA and organic grain buyers on organic integrity initiatives.
COR Review Process
(Source: COTA Parliament Day 2018 Policy Brief – Standards Funding)
The Canadian Organic Standards outline the principles of health, ecology, fairness and care that guide organic agriculture and aquaculture, and specify the methods required to grow and process certified organic products. Comprised of a set of principles and management standards, as well as a permitted substances list, these standards apply to any organic product sales involved in provincial or national import and export, and those using the Canada Organic logo.
The Canada Organic logo is owned by the federal government, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is legally responsible (as the Certification Scheme owner) for the Canada Organic Regime. As such, there is an expectation that the government maintain the integrity behind this scheme and the Canada Organic brand, and protect the equivalency arrangements established for international sales. All three organic standards (CAN/CGSB 32.310, CAN/CBSB 32.311 and CAN/CGSB 32.312) must undergo a technical committee review every five years according to compliance criteria of ISO/IEC 17065 and the compliance criteria of the Standards Council of Canada.
The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) is tasked with the technical review process in conjunction with organic stakeholders to ensure that the standards are kept current. All international organic standards must comply with ISO/IEC 17011 and 17065 in order to be able to trade internationally. Failure to do so would make the standards unenforceable. If the standards were to be withdrawn by the GCSB Canada would be unable to maintain the equivalency arrangements negotiated with our major trading partners, which was the primary reason why industry sought government regulation in the first place. Canada would lose all export sales, estimated at $1 billion in sales in 2017.
SaskOrganics CGSB Technical Committee Membership
- The organization holds the technical committee membership
- There are no membership fees
- Members are volunteers willing to invest the necessary time for effective participation
- SaskOrganics is a voting member in the general interest category (‘have a demonstrated interest and relevant expertise and not associated with the production, distribution, direct use or regulation of the product(s), materials or service(s).
- Current Representation- Voting Member: Allison Squires, Upland Organics; Alternative Voting Member: Marla Carlson, SaskOrganics
Organic Integrity Working Group-Saskatchewan
Since June 2017, stakeholders in the organic sector in Saskatchewan and SaskOrganics have been meeting to identify practical solutions to identify and stop organic fraud in grain trading on the Prairies. While the group believes the instances of fraud are rare, they want to work proactively to prevent non-organic grain entering the organic supply chain. Any organic fraud has the potential to negatively impact organic integrity and public trust.
In January 2018, the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) formed the Organic Integrity Task Force. The mandate for the Task Force is better understand and reduce the instances of intentional or accidental labelling of products as organic which do not adhere to organic standards. SaskOrganics, grain buyers and certification bodies from Saskatchewan are members of the Task Force to ensure that the issues and challenges of organic grain producers are represented.
Recommendations from the COTA Organic Integrity Task Force on improving processes and regulations are shared with the organic sector and the Government of Canada for action. An important outcome of the task force is the partnership developed with the Organic Trade Association on assessing vulnerabilities and mitigating risks within organic supply chains through the Global Organic Supply Chain Integrity (GOSCI) initiative. Saskatchewan members of the Task Force have implemented a pilot project requiring pre-shipment transaction certificates for organic grain purchased on the Prairies. Transaction certificates (TC’s) are lot# specific certificates for certified products. The TC is issued further to a review of supporting compliant documents provided the compliance of the operation with the certification requirements stated in this document are met. The CB can reference the quantity of this lot# against other records such as harvest and bin records as well as previous sales of this lot# to ensure the quantities sold balance with the quantity available. The TC pilot project hopes to prove transaction certificates are a practical solution to tracking organic sales into the system.
Reporting Suspected Organic Fraud
SaskOrganics takes reports of suspected organic fraud very seriously. There is a formal investigation process in place for investigating claims of potential organic fraud. If you suspect organic fraud could be occurring, please download our fact sheet here: