COG’s Guide to the Canadian Organic Standards

COG’s Guide to the Canadian Organic Standards 2020

To label a product with the Canada Organic logo, producers are required, by law, to follow the Canadian Organic Standards. These apply whether you are growing vegetables, raising laying hens or processing convenience food. The standards, however, can be challenging to read, but it is critical that producers understand these documents. That’s where COG’s Guide to the Canadian Organic Standards comes in. Our goal is to help readers understand the standards. We explain what the standards mean and the reasoning behind them. Sometimes, we provide background information; other times, we give examples that are relevant to producers and help operators applying the standards.

Throughout the guide, we provide excerpts from the Canadian Organic Standards opposite our interpretation and guidance. Note that to understand the standards fully, readers should consult the entire standards. The most current editions can be found on the CGSB website.

The 2020 Canadian Organic Standards come into force in December 2020, however current farmers, processors and other operators have a grace period of one year to adapt their practices to meet the new standard.

The guide reflects the interpretation of the standards by the Organic Standards Interpretation Committee (SIC), which is overseen by the Organic Federation of Canada in partnership with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. A link is provided in the footer of each page so readers can learn more about the Canadian Organic Standards by reading Q&As. The questions are submitted by the public and the SIC’s answers are binding.

We hope COG’s Guide to the Canadian Organic Standards will help Canadians understand the standards. Our goal is to help enable farmers, ranchers, processors and other producers to adapt their practices so their products can be certified as organic to the national standard. For consumers, the guide can explain how organic products differ from non-organic, and thereby highlight the value of choosing organic products.

   For more information, please contact Canadian Organic Growers.

COG would like to thank the project team for all their hard work and dedication to creating COG’s Guide to the Canadian Organic Standards. Without them this guide would not be possible.

COG’s Guide to the Canadian Organic Standards 2020

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Crop Production
Livestock Production
Specific Production Requirements
Preparation and Processing
Project Team
EditorJanet Wallace
TranslatorNicole Boudreau
WritersAnne Macey
Rochelle Eisen
Janet Wallace
Maureen Bostock
Paddy Doherty
Principal Writers (2020)Janet Wallace
Rochelle Eisen
Principal Writers (2015/2018)Anne Macey
Rochelle Eisen
and Maureen Bostock
Principal Writers (2010)Paddy Doherty and Anne Macey
Other Writers and Reviewers for the 2020 GuideBill Barkley
Joël Boutin
François Labelle
Hugh Martin
Kelly Monaghan
Karen Murchison
Annie St-Onge
Nicole Boudreau
Reviewers and Past Team Members
Ashley St. Hilaire
Nicole Boudreau
Rochelle Eisen
Anne Macey
Kristine Swaren
Maureen Bostock
Brenda Frick
Roxanne Beavers
Maureen Bostock
Jean Duval
Janine Gibson
Amy Kremen
Lorraine Bourry