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Organic Production in Canada
A Thriving Industry

Canada Organic Regime Operating Manual

Updated on August 13, 2021

What are the procedures Canadian organic certification bodies must follow?

Which certification bodies are authorized to certify products in Canada?

What agreement will determine whether an organic product certified in California can bear the organic label in the Canadian marketplace?

Created by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canada Organic Regime (COR) regulates all parties involved in the certification of organic products (including operators, Certification Bodies and Conformity Verification Bodies) and verifies all applicable regulatory requirements, standards and guidance documents are being met.

The Canada Organic Regime operating manual describes all of the policies and procedures applied under the Canada Organic Regime, a multi-layered system.

  • The CFIA enters into agreements with Conformity verification bodies (CVBs) whose responsibility is to assess, accredit and monitor certification bodies (CB). The CVBs are audited by CFIA on a regular basis.
  • The CVBs are responsible for the accreditation of Certification Bodies authorized to certify products in Canada; CVBs monitor and audit the CBs on a regular basis.
  • The CBs evaluate applicants seeking organic certification of their products, then decide on certification and continuation of the certification under the COR. The list of the certification bodies accredited under the COR is available on the website of CFIA. .

C.2.1.1 The CFIA accredited CB shall ensure that person seeking certification of their products or packaging and labelling activities make an application as defined by the CB, in accordance with Division 4 of part 13 of the Safe Food for Canadian Regulations (SFCR).

— Canada Organic Regime operating manual

In order to regulate global organic trade, Canada has negotiated equivalency arrangements with countries who export organic products to Canada and/or who import organic products grown or processed in Canada.

Equivalency is determined by assessing and comparing 2 regulatory systems, including the standards, to determine whether the principles and outcomes achieved are equivalent

In 2021, equivalency arrangements with Costa Rica, the European Union, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States ensure the unimpeded trade of Canadian organic products on the international market.

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