Government of Canada announces investment in standardization of organic agriculture and agri-food products

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Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

In recent years, the Canadian agri-food sector has seen increasing demand for organic food products at home and around the world. Canada is among the top countries for sales of organic food products in the global market. Standardizing practices and substances that can be labelled as “organic” is vitally important for Canada to remain competitive in global trade. Regulations also ensure that imported products labelled as organic are complying with Canadian standards, to protect Canadian consumers.

Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced $502,374 to the Organic Federation of Canada (OFC) to update the standards regulating the production and marketing of certified organic products. This funding is provided through the AgriAssurance Program – National Industry Association Component, an initiative under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

In consultation with the organic sector, the OFC will update the Canadian Organic Standards to add new practices and permitted substances and revise the sections on animal welfare. The OFC project will focus on innovative, sustainable and ecological organic practices that can reduce the impact of climate change by capturing and storing carbon in soil and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The OFC will also explore regenerative agriculture practices such as vertical agriculture and sunless crops, which will have positive long-term effects for the sector.

Quotes

“With this investment, we’re helping facilitate more trade opportunities for Canadian organic producers and keeping pace with the latest practices. These standards are an important tool to help the industry so they can keep meeting the needs of folks here in Canada, and around the world.”

– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Farmers are proud to apply the Canadian Organic Standards, which are based on principles shared with international markets. These standards are being updated to clarify all the practices and substances that are applied at every stage of organic food production and processing. This will help maintain growth in the Canadian organic market.”

– Jim Robbins, President of the Organic Federation of Canada and field crop producer in Saskatchewan

Quick facts

  • The AgriAssurance Program – National Industry Association Component, under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, funds national-level projects to help industry develop, verify and integrate assurance systems to address market and regulatory requirements and to enable industry to make credible, meaningful and verifiable claims about the health, safety and quality of Canadian agriculture products.
  • The application intake period for the AgriAssurance Program is open.
  • The Organic Federation of Canada (OFC) is a national organization responsible for the maintenance and interpretation of the Canadian Organic Standards and the administration of scientific research in organic agriculture in Canada.
  • The OFC has successfully administered the revision of the Canadian Organic Standards since 2015. Updates take place every 5 years.
  • The Canadian Organic Standards are a detailed set of principles, guidelines, and permitted substances that are used in the organic certification process. The standards prohibit the use of any genetic engineering or gene edited material in crop and livestock production.
  • The scope of the Canadian Organic Standards includes field crops, honey, maple sugar, sprouts, horticulture, greenhouse crops, livestock (dairy, poultry, pig, sheep and goats), and processed food.