Request for Proposal: Grow Ontario Organic Campaign


The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) is seeking a consultant with experience in Ontario’s agriculture sector to prepare an application to the Farm Products Marketing Commission for designation as a Representative Association. The consultant will work with OCO staff to compile the required information. 


$10,000 – 12,000

Proposal Deadline:

January 31, 2020

Submit proposals to (Project Lead) by January 31 at 11:59 PM

Project Timeline:

Mid February – March 31, 2020

About the Organic Council of Ontario: 

The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) is the Voice for Organics in Ontario. We represent over 1300 certified organic operators across the value chain, as well as the retailers, processors  organizations, and individuals that help bring organic food from farm to plate. We work to catalyze sector growth, support research, improve training, increase data collection, encourage market development, protect the integrity of organic claims, and inform the public of the benefits and requirements of organic agriculture. 

Project Summary:

Despite its contribution to the economic and environmental health of the province, Ontario’s organic sector is chronically underfunded. Grants and membership fees have funded invaluable work such as development of an organic directory, consolidation of resources about organic inputs, proposals for organic regulations, development of an organic database, and on-farm research. However, current streams of revenue are unstable and cannot sustainably facilitate the resources that Ontario’s organic sector needs to thrive. Without stable funding, there is limited capacity to collect baseline data, conduct important agricultural research, affect policy decisions, engage in market development, encourage new entrants, plan for succession, support transition to organic farming, and inform consumers.

These services are often provided by Ontario commodity groups and marketing boards, which are supported by a mandatory production licence or levy (colloquially known as a check-off) – a funding mechanism that is regulated by the Farm Products Marketing Act or other legislation. Since the organic sector crosses over every commodity group, it has little support for the specific needs of this rapidly growing sector. Organic producers experience shared challenges to their operations – challenges that require dedicated supports to overcome. Since these challenges can be difficult for commodity associations to address while they fulfill the needs of their majority members, OCO has developed the Grow Ontario Organic campaign. This is a proposal for a funding system that is fair, representative, and provides choice. OCO proposes an organic check-off which would pay for support programs to advance Ontario’s organic sector:

  • Producers who already pay commodity, container fees, or any other fee to marketing boards/commodity groups could voluntarily opt to divert a designated portion of their fee towards OCO instead. The designated diversion would be based on 0.01% of each producer’s annual organic sales.  
  • Producers who already pay commodity or container fees could opt out of the organic check-off and continue paying their entire fee to the existing commodity group. 
  • Producers or any other organic value chain members who do not already pay commodity fees but want to benefit from increased support to the organic sector could also opt into the OCO check-off. 

More details about the plan are available on the campaign website. To realize the organic check-off, OCO must gain designation as a Representative Association through the Farm Products Marketing Act. OCO staff are working to collect feedback and endorsement for the plan, but a consultant is required to prepare the formal application as outlined by the Farm Products Marketing Commission. For more information on the check-off plan, review the campaign website, sector-wide survey, and check-off feasibility study


Complete application to the Farm Products Marketing Commission for designation as a representative association. The OCO board and staff have begun work on most of these components, but require support to finalize the compilation.  

  • Data
  • Licence fee proposal
  • Documentation on the level of support for the proposal by affected stakeholders
  • Strategic plan
  • Operational plan
  • Full details on each component are available from the Farm Products Marketing Commission.

Proposal Requirements: 

  • A letter of interest, outlining your approach to the project. Include intermediate deadlines related to the application components. 
  • Draft budget for completion of the final proposal by March 31, 2020. 
  • Highlight specific questions or concerns related to the project. 
  • Your CV and portfolio, including information about relevant past projects. 
    • Relevant experience may include work with OMAFRA, Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, commodity groups or marketing boards, agri-food associations, etc. 


Submit proposals to (Project Lead) by January 31 at 11:59 PM

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