The Canada Organic Regime is implemented by the Canada Organic Office (COO), part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The framework for the COR is the Organic Products Regulations of 2009 (OPR 2009) which set out requirements for organic product labeling and the various actors and infrastructure for implementation. All products which are sold in Canada labeled as organic and which bear the Canada organic logo must have either been certified by an accredited certification body or by one which works under a country system which the CFIA has deemed equivalent.
The CFIA approves Conformity Verification Bodies (CVBs) (of which IOAS is one) which assess the ability of certification bodies both inside and outside of Canada to conduct inspection and certification of farms and processors involved in production of organic products to be sold on the Canadian market. CVBs perform assessment of certification bodies according to ISO/IEC 17065 but make a recommendation for accreditation to CFIA which is the ultimate decision maker. Accredited CBs are listed on the CFIA web site.
The OPR 2009 require mandatory certification to the Canada National Organic Standard for agricultural products represented as organic in international and inter-provincial trade, or that bear the Canada organic logo. The COO publish an Operating Manual that describes the full scheme including role of the COO, the CVB and CBs. CBs are required to demonstrate conformance with ISO /IEC 17065 and the relevant requirements set out in the COO Operating Manual.
The following categories of activity are recognised:
- Crop production
- Grower group certification
- Livestock Feed
- Livestock production
- Processed products
- Specialized: Apiculture
- Specialized greenhouse crops
- Specialized mushrooms
- Specialized sprouts
- Specialized wild crops
- Specialized maple production
First steps in accreditation are as follows:
- Complete the standard IOAS application form
The IOAS Canada Organic Regime Operating Manual provides full guidance on implementation of this scheme.
All standards, certification requirements and updated guidance information are available at the Organic Products web site of the CFIA.
Please note that the USDA and the Canadian Organic Regime (COR) have an organic standards equivalency agreement. Products from anywhere in the world certified to the USDA organic regulations or Canada Organic Regime may be labeled and sold as organic in both countries. As long as organic operations are certified by a National Organic Program-accredited certifying agent, this arrangement eliminates the need for USDA certified organic operations to have a separate certification to the Canada Organic Regime standards.