The Canadian organic sector is regulated by the Organic Products Regulations (OPR).
The OPR empowers the Canadian Organic Standards (COS), which came in to effect on June 20, 2009 and define specific requirements for food, feed and seed products labelled as organic.
The Standards apply to any agricultural product if it:
- Has an organic claim and is used in import, export or inter-provincial trade; or,
- Bears the federal “Canada Organic Logo”
The Standards are composed of two parts:
- General Principles and Management Standards (CAN/CGSB-32.310-2015 Amended 2018)
- Permitted Substances Lists (CAN/CGSB-32.310-2015 Amended 2018)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is the regulatory body who oversees, monitors and enforces the requirements of the Canada Organic Regime.
The Organic Products Regulations do not apply to products labelled as organic which are sold within a province or territory.
This doesn’t mean anyone can sell anything they want as organic within a province. The reasons?
One – Provincial Regulations.
Several provinces have implemented provincial legislation, regulating the use of the term “organic” for all food products grown or processed.
Two – The Federal Food and Drugs Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.
These two acts protect consumers’ rights to truthful information and allow the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to investigate complaints. Operations cannot misrepresent products in terms of their “character, value, quantity, composition, merit or safety”. This would include false, misleading or deceptive organic claims.