How Can We Improve the Inputs Approval Process?

The Permitted Substances List (PSL) of the Canadian Organic Standards provides a detailed overview of the types of substances permitted in organic production, and how they can be used. But the PSL does not include brand name products, and there is currently no one place where you can go to verify if a brand name product is okay to use. 

Even if the brand name product you want to use contains mainly (or only) a substance listed in the PSL, it’s still your responsibility to make sure it is permitted in organic production systems by checking with your certifying body (CB) before you use it. 

The problem is, if they haven’t already approved it, this can take time. Pests and disease don’t typically allow us this time. 

This is just one of the issues with the organic inputs landscape in Canada today. 

In 2019, the Organic Council of Ontario performed a survey of producers, processors and input suppliers to find out how the input approval process affects them. The results of that survey were published in a feasibility study, which recommends that a centralized resource for information on approved inputs is needed. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the creation of a centralized, mutually-agreed upon set of procedures for input approval would create consistency in the process, which might resolve many of the issues with input approval described in the study.

In 2020 and 2021, the Organic Council of Ontario will be work in partnership with the Organic Value Chain Round Table’s Inputs Working Group on a project with the following objectives:

  1. To create a national public resource through which organic operators can find basic information about approved brand-name inputs;
  2. To develop a set of mutually agreed-upon procedures to bring consistency and clarity to the processes by which inputs are reviewed and approved in Canada;
  3. To continue to build rapport amongst members of the inputs approval business community, for the benefit of the Canadian organic sector as a whole.

We hope that this process will encourage key stakeholders to think big picture, and work together toward the goal of making input approval in Canada easier on everyone.

If you have questions about this project or would like to get involved, please contact us.

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