Canadian Organic Standards Review Consultation & Update

For the past several months, members of the organic sector including producers, certification inspectors, and industry experts have been discussing proposed changes to the Canadian Organic Standards and permitted substances list, as part of the five-year review. More information about the Review process can be found here.

Second Round of Consultations

sprouts and microgreens growing in soil

The Organic Federation of Canada, a national body made up of representatives of provincial organic associations like OCO from across the country, has released the latest round of decisions made at the December meeting of the Committee on Organic Agriculture of the Canadian General Standards Board (also known as the Technical Committee). This consultation includes decisions with regards to outdoor access for poultry; production of shoots, sprouts and microgreens; and recommendations for the Permitted Substances List. Click here to read the proposed recommendations from the Technical Committee.

Give Your Feedback

Comments on this second round of decisions from the Technical Committee will be accepted until March 7, 2019.

We’ve made it easy for our members to give feedback. Take this quick survey by March 7th, and we will share your input with the Organic Federation of Canada. We will also be sharing the anonymized survey results publicly on our website.

OCO Member Feedback Results

In December, OCO circulated a survey to collect feedback from our members to share with the Organic Federation of Canada on the first round of decisions made by the Technical Committee. This round of decisions covered topics such as buffer zones, parallel production, manure sourcing and more. Click here to read the results of the survey, which we shared with the Organic Federation of Canada.

The Technical Committee will be reviewing all feedback, in order to assess the potential impact of the decisions, and then accept or re-evaluate them with the Working Groups.

Inside the Review Process

For some first-hand insight into how the review process is going, the OFC has also released an interview with Hugh Martin, the Chair of the Technical Committee. He explains how this review differs from past reviews of the Organic Standards, as well as the importance of the review for evaluating new technologies like CRISPr, a gene editing technique, and the GnRF analogue, used to castrate male pigs. He also shares updates on some of the more complicated issues that the various working groups are discussing, such as amino acid supplements and the amount of water in a processed product, which can have an effect on determining the amount of organic content. Importantly, he notes, the Technical Committee must also take into consideration what the recommendations will look like on the ground from an economic and practical standpoint.

Next Steps

The Technical Committee is made up of 40 voting members. From mid-February to the end of March, they will be reviewing the working group recommendations, and address any issues that arise. The outcome from this round of review will be released in the summer for a 60-day public consultation period.

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