COG at Organic Parliament Day

On November 22nd, the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) organized a very successful 2022 Parliament Day for the organic sector. COG board and staff members joined our organic partners, farmers, and industry members on the hill to lobby over 20 MPs and Senators on organic sector issues and priorities. Representing organic farmers and the organic sector at large, COG collaborated with our partners on addressing current issues impacting organics. 

Three key lobby focus areas this year included: 

  1. An Organic Action Plan: the organic sector requires a comprehensive Organic Action Plan that will support the infrastructure and mobilize resources for the growth of the organic sector. 
  2. Permanent and Predictable Funding: The organic sector requires permanent and predictable funding for the maintenance and interpretation of the Canada Organic Standards, a foundation of the organic system. 
  3. GE Imminently Threatens Organic: The results of recent federal government proposals would impact the traceability and transparency of genetically engineered seed and feed in organic – threatening organic farmers and Canadian organic trade. 

“COG was thrilled to be part of COTA’s well organized Parliament Day and greatly appreciated all the hard work COTA undertook for the advance planning, meeting scheduling, lobby training and much more. The evening prior we had the chance to mingle with many MPs, Senators and other dignitaries at COTA’s Parliament Hill reception. Parliament Day put organics at the top of the agenda for many MPs and Senators who overall were very supportive to the issues we were lobbying for. There is much work to be done yet but it was really rewarding to be doing this work together with one voice alongside a passionate group of organic stakeholders – we are in this journey together and COG is proud to be a part of it.”

Deirdre Laframboise – Executive Director, Canadian Organic Growers

“A big thanks to COTA for helping to facilitate direct access to members of parliament for organic farmers.  It is important for organic farmers to have the opportunity to speak directly with decision makers about the most pressing issues in the organic sector today.  This was an opportunity for COG, COTA and OFC as the national organizations representing the organic sector in Canada to align on the important issues affecting organic farmers.  Organic farmers are at the forefront of the climate-friendly agricultural movement in Canada.  Thank you for bringing farmer’s voices directly to the ears of decision makers.”

Gillian Flies – Ex-officio Board President, Canadian Organic Growers

Joint Letter to the Minister of Agriculture 

COG collaborated with our federal and provincial organic partners on a joint letter delivered November 15th, 2022 to the Honourable Marie-Claire Bibeau detailing the need for government oversight of a mandatory listing for all genetically engineered seed and feed in Canada.


Current Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) proposals for updating the regulatory guidance on whether a plant is subject to Part V of the Seeds Regulations pose a profound risk to the economic viability and ultimate survival of the organic sector in Canada. Organic farmers and food businesses require transparency and traceability of all genetically engineered (GE) seed and feed, as defined in the Canadian Organic Standards. 

Read the full Joint Letter and Briefing from the Canadian Organic Sector to the Minister of Agriculture 

This is a recent development in ongoing advocacy work coordinated by the organic sector and other environmental partners against these proposed regulations. This past winter Canadian Organic Growers (COG) joined over 104 other organizations in a protest letter campaign launched by Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) against the recent Health Canada decision to allow corporate self-regulation and ‘voluntary disclosure’ of some genetically edited foods. 

COG is extremely concerned for our organic certified and transitioning farmers and the threat they face to undeclared GE contaminated seeds and feedstock. 

“Reducing government oversight and not requiring companies to disclose whether their products are gene-edited will forever contaminate our seed supply. Organic farmers will no longer be able to ensure that the seed we are using is safe and complies with the Canadian Organic Standards. This means that Canadian organic farmers will not be able to sell the food they produce to Canadians, and exports to international markets will be refused. Ultimately, these decisions will negatively impact the Canadian organic sector and our organic farmers in ways that we might not recover from.”

– Allison Squires PhD, Organic Farmer, and President of Canadian Organic Growers Board of Directors

Stay up to date on this issue by following our Organic Sector and Consumer Rights page