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Organic Standards Interpretation

The Standards Interpretation Committee

In order to support operators implementing the Canadian Organic Standard and to resolve conflicting interpretations between certification bodies and certified operators, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has established in 2009 the Standards Interpretation Committee (SIC).

C.5.5 If an interpretation of an applicable standard is required by the Certification Body a certificate holder at any point during certification activities, it can be sought from the Standards Interpretation Committee (SIC).
(Source: Canada Organic Regime operating manual)

C.5.11 The CB shall adhere to the interpretations of the Canadian Organic Standards (CAN/CGSB 32.310, CAN/CGSB 32.311, and CAN/CGSB 32.312) provided by the SIC and considered official by the CFIA, to achieve uniform and consistent application of the rules to all operators through various CBs.
(Source: Canada Organic Regime operating manual)

The interpretations from the Standards Interpretation Committee are presented as Final Questions & Answers, categorized under sections corresponding to the numbering of the Canadian Organic Standards.

Quick Links

Final Questions & Answers – Canadian Organic Standards

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Questions & Answers Under Comment Period

Public Comment Period – November 7 to December 7, 2022   Click here
Public Comment Period –  October 11 to November 12,  2022   Click here

 

Click on the links to consult the questions under public comment and read the reworded Final Questions and Answers.

The proposed QAs are subject to a 30-day comment period.

All comments regarding these answers should be sent to cfia.opr-rpb.acia@canada.ca

 

Reports from previous public comment periods

Comment Period (Click on dates for PDF) Report Date (Year – Month)
August 22 to September 22, 2022 2022-05 -October 11, 2022
June 20 to July 20, 2022 2022-04- August 8, 2022
May 5 to June 6, 2022 2022-03 – May 2022
March 9 to April 8, 2022 2022-02
January 11 to February 11, 2022 2022-01
November 2 to December 2, 2021 2021-05
August 23 to September 27, 2021 2021-04
June 15 to June 30, 2021 2021-03
March 24 to April 24, 2021 2021-02
January 21 to February 21, 2021 2021-01
November 2 to December 2, 2020 2020-04
June 30 to July 30, 2020 2020-03
May 1 to May 30, 2020 2020-02
February 17 to March 17, 2020 2020-01
December 2019 to January, 2020 2019-06
September 30 to October 30, 2019 2019-05
June 21 to July 21, 2019 2019-04
April 18 to May 18, 2019 2019-03
March 11 to April 11, 2019 2019-02
January 8 to February 8, 2019 2019-01
October 1st to November 1st, 2018 2018-04
September 5 to October 5, 2018 2018-03
April 25 to May 25, 2018 2018-02
January 25 to February 25, 2018 2018-01

Addressing a question to the SIC

Is there a question that you want to address to the SIC?

Questions about the meaning of a particular point in the Canadian Organic Standard may originate from any source and are directed to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) at cfia.opr-rpb.acia@canada.ca

There is no specific form on which stakeholders should present their questions; but the SIC is suggesting the following guidelines:

  • If you are a certified operator, you should first direct your question to your certifying body. As a professional delivering inspection services, the CB is your first reference.
  • If you could not get a satisfying answer from your CB, you can address your question to the CFIA, at cfia.opr-rpb.acia@canada.ca , that will request guidance of the SIC if needed.
  • Please address your question as clearly as possible, providing sufficient background to have the SIC understanding your issue and issuing the correct answer.
  • If your question is not clear enough, the CFIA officer may contact you to get additional information.
  • The CFIA does not divulgate your identity when requesting guidance of the SIC.

So, feel free to send your questions remembering to:

  • Ask first to your certifying body
  • Issue a clear question with supporting background
  • Send your question at cfia.opr-rpb.acia@canada.ca

SIC Terms of Reference

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in partnership with the Organic Federation of Canada, has developed the Organic Standards Interpretation Committee (SIC). The objective of the Committee is to provide to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) interpretive guidance on issues related to the National Standards for Organic Agriculture (CAN/CGSB 32.310 and CAN/CGSB 32.311).

Click here to read the SIC Terms of Reference.

Proposed answers to questions, raised by organic stakeholders, regarding the National Standards for Organic Agriculture are posted on the website of OFC.

The elected members of the Standards Interpretation Committee are:

SIC Member - Allison Grant - Organic Federation of Canada

Allison Grant

Organic Inspector

Organic crop, livestock and processor inspector. Organic gardener, advocate and mentor

SIC Member - Francois Handfield - Organic Federation of Canada

François Handfield

Organic Farmer

Diversified organic vegetable grower, unionist, cooperator and ambitious dreamer

SIC Member - Etienne Nadeau - Organic Federation of Canada

Étienne Nadeau

Organic Inspector

Bachelor’s degree in agronomy, organic inspector, input specialist and believer in integrity.

Angela Rouillard

Organic Inspector

PhD in Animal Sciences, livestock research, extension, and policy specialist. Organic inspector.

Allison Squires

Organic producer

PhD in Toxicology, organic producer. Active contributor to 2020 Standards Review.

Rob Wallbridge

Organic Specialist

CCA-ON. Organic Specialist, Thompsons Limited. Ex-vegetable and dairy producer, ex-inspector

SIC Member - Gavin Wright - Organic Federation of Canada

Gavin Wright

Organic Specialist

Small-scale organic farmer; crop, livestock, process inspector; sustainable agriculture geek

Health Care Products and Production Aids

Permitted Substances List of the Canadian Standards on Organic Production Systems – CAN/CGSB 32.311 – permit the use of Health Care Products and Production Aids in Table 5.3 under the various categories – “Anti-inflammatories, Biologics (including vaccines), Homeopathic and Biotherapies, Parasiticides and Anti-microbials, Plant oils”.

Click on Health Care Products and Production Aids to get a complete listing of substances commonly used in organic livestock husbandry, along with some specific recommendations of acceptable practices.

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