Updates from OFC on the Canadian Organic Standards Review

The following content is re-posted from the Organic Federation of Canada’s Info-Bio publication. Questions or comments can be directed to nicole.boudreau@organicfederation.ca

The review of the Canadian Organic Standards

The many comments discussed by the working groups

Revising the Canadian Organic Standard has become a source of passion for many: the OFC received 706 comments during the three-month public consultation which ended on September 30.

The working groups are therefore meeting again to review all of the comments that were submitted. The analysis of the comments is as follows:

A comment may be ignored if it has already been considered by the working group and the Technical Committee; as a result, the modification that is the subject of this comment will be maintained in the draft standard to be voted on.
A comment that reveals arguments that have never been considered should be analyzed by the working group, which will then have four options:

  • Accept the argument and cancel the proposed amendment and stick to the 2015 version of the commented clause.
  • Reject the argument, if it is not substantial;
  • Accept the argument and propose a new amendment to the Technical Committee;
  • Reject the commentary and its argument if they propose a new change to the standard that had never been considered or presented for public review.

Here are some highlights:

  • The proposed amendments to clause 6.13 – Additional requirements for poultry- received the largest number of comments, 123 comments. Access to the outdoors and winter gardens remain issues that have not received unanimous approval.
  • The weaning of animals and the issue of regional shortages in clause 6.4 were extensively discussed.
  • Clause 6.6 concerning animal health is the subject of many comments; the subject of physical modifications (e.g., disbudding, dehorning)is a sensitive one.
  • The prohibition of closed loop sap recirculation in clause 7.2.7 is unpopular;
  • The allowance of exclusively artificial lighting in greenhouses for crops harvested in less than 60 days is disputed; a petition with 11,000 names has been submitted in protest of this change.
  • The merging of Tables 4.2 and 4.3 is not contested; however, the use of certain substances, such as calcium, amino acids, magnesium, surfactants, microorganisms, seed treatments and lignosulfates, has been raised.

For a breakdown of the total number of comments per section, click here.

To see the standards with markups for proposed changes, click here.

Support the review of ecological practices that define and guide our industry!

The Organic Standard is everyone’s business!

The OFC is launching a fundraising campaign to continue the revision work

Funding target: $40,000

The revision work is ongoing and the OFC needs your support. Funding provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada only covered the review activities planned before March 31, 2019. Given the large number of comments submitted by industry, the OFC needs to fund:

  • Remuneration of the chairs of the working groups and the Technical Committee.
  • The Secretariat – the preparation and management of working documents and the follow-up on working group discussions.
  • Teleconference lines.
  • Translation – all documents, including comments, must be translated.
  • Preparation of the Technical Committee meeting to be held before the ballot.
  • The preparation of the draft to be submitted to the vote.
  • Communication and general management of the ballot in cooperation with the Canadian General Standards Board.
  • The resolution of negative votes from the ballot (scheduled for February 2020).
  • Classification and archiving of all review documents.
  • Verification of the final versions of the 2020 Organic Standard.
  • The assessment of the work: how the review went, how to improve its progress.

So, you’ve decided to support the review… Here are the benefits you will enjoy:

  • With a minimum contribution of $1,000, you will be invited to a presentation of the 2020 Organic Standard by Webinar as soon as the results of the ballot are available, OR You and your colleagues will be invited to participate in a quiz by teleconference on the 2020 Organic Standard.
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  • Your name and logo will be posted on the OFC website in the section dedicated to the revision of the COS and in InfoBio.
  • You will have the satisfaction of supporting the collectively-review process that updates and improves the Canadian Organic Standards, which govern all organic production in Canada.

Contributions by cheque should be sent to the OFC office, 12-4475 Grand Boulevard, Montreal, QC H4B 2X7.

If you wish to pay by bank transfer, please contact the OFC.

Thank you!

Nicole Boudreau

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