Ontario Organic Day at Queen’s Park 2017

September has been an exciting month for organic producers in Ontario. On September 13th, the Organic Council of Ontario organized Ontario Organic Day at Queen’s Park. The purpose of the day was to raise awareness about the state of organics in Ontario, meet with MPPs to share organic priorities and concerns, and to bring together all involved in Ontario’s organic industry. It also saw the introduction of a Private Member’s Bill to address organic regulation in Ontario. The Bill (Organic Products Act, 2017) was developed in partnership with OCO and the association for organic businesses in Ontario. It was co-sponsored by Peter Tabuns, MPP for Toronto-Danforth (NDP), and Sylvia Jones, MPP for Dufferin-Caledon (PC).

Bringing organic issues to the forefront

We held a social the evening prior to Organic Day where OCO members could relax and chat amongst friends, while Jill Guerra, Research & Special Projects Coordinator with the Canadian Organic Trade Association, gave us a review of the current state of the industry in Canada. It came as no surprise to people in the room that Ontario continues to fall behind other provinces in supporting its organic producers, processors and retailers.

On the morning of Sept. 13, we gathered to learn more about the state of organic in Ontario from a number of speakers. Topics included:

  • An overview of Growing Forward 2 and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership in Ontario, by Brendan McKay, Director of OMAFRA’s Strategic Policy Branch
  • Ontario’s forthcoming soil strategy, presented by Sharon Bailey, Director of OMAFRA’s Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch
  • Soil conservation, presented by Ken Laing from Orchard Hill Farm
  • Insights into Canada’s organic market, presented by Tia Loftsgard, Executive Director of the Canadian Organic Trade Association

Ontario organic falling short

The morning of September 13th OCO joined MPP Tabuns and MPP Jones to announce the introduction of the Organic Products Act. The Bill calls for the regulation of the word ‘organic’ in the province of Ontario, which is currently completely unregulated as long as products don’t cross provincial borders. This is a concern to both organic businesses and consumers; businesses that are certified organic are put at a disadvantage having to compete with non-certified businesses labelled as ‘organic’, and consumers can be easily mislead.

To learn more about the issue, visit our campaign pages.

Positive moves forward

During the afternoon of September 13th, over 40 organic producers and retailers met with 17 Members of Provincial Parliament to outline organic issues, including support for the Organic Products Act and to call on them to take action to help it pass. We were encouraged that MPPs from all three parties heard our concerns, with many promising to support the Bill. While the current government does not (yet) support the initiative to regulate organic, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs did announce plans to host consultations on the issue this fall.

Add your voice to the call for Ontario organic regulation

We need your help to make sure the government prioritizes organic in Ontario. Taking action can happen in lots of different ways:

  • Email, tweet, or phone your MPP. Tell them why you support legislation to regulate Organic in Ontario.
    • Find their contact info here.
    • Or write directly through our website.
  • Talk with your customers, suppliers, business partners, and greater network. Help educate your network about the need for clear and consistent regulation in Ontario.
  • Share your story. How and why did you get certified? Tell us about it.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

For more information about the campaign and how to help visit our website.


Ontario organic facts


See more photos on our Flickr.

Comments are closed.