Canada’s New Organic Regulations Expected to Boost Consumer Confidence

Canada Becomes First Country in the World to Track Organic Imports

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada (Jan. 4, 2007): The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is pleased by the Canadian government’s December 22 publication of the federal regulation for organic food and livestock feeds. “Consumers will now be assured that when they purchase food that is labeled ‘Canada Organic’ it means that it was produced in compliance with a strict set of national standards for certification,” said Stephanie Wells, OTA’s Canada Liaison. “The regulation will help ease the way for organic trade between provinces and with other countries.”(See the regulation at

“With mandatory national organic standards now coming into place, all farmers and manufacturers of organic products will follow the same rules,” said Caren Wilcox, OTA’s Executive Director. “This is good for consumer confidence in organic labels and good for the marketplace. In the United States, consumer awareness rose dramatically when the organic rule was implemented.

“However,” she added, “implementing the regulation will require ironing out a few wrinkles. The new rules will affect every organic enterprise in the country. OTA intends to be very active in shaping the details during the implementation period,” Wilcox said. For instance, OTA believes the regulation calls for unnecessary paperwork on certified organic imports and requires too much confidential formulation detail in the application for organic certification.

Since 1999 Canada has had an organic standard regulated by the organic sector itself. This new regulation means the standards will now be enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

OTA applauds another federal initiative that will have an impact on the organic sector. Canada has become the first country in the world to track organic products moving across its border. Although all import and export commodities are tracked with Harmonization System Codes (HS Codes), they only have been coded by type (for instance, tomatoes are identified as roma or cherry), not by method of production. As of January 2007, HS Codes in Canada also add the certified organic designation to HS Codes to track an initial list of 41 imported organic products ranging from dairy to fruits and vegetables. OTA, which worked with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to help plan this new program, anticipates that it will give Canadian organic farmers information on products consumers now buy, that could have been grown in Canada. See for the HS Codes listing.

“These two developments are good news for farmers, businesses and shoppers in Canada.” Wilcox said. “Farms and other businesses will have useful data thanks to the HS Codes, and consumers will know that products labelled organic meet stringent federal requirements.”

The mission of the Organic Trade Association is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. OTA envisions organic products becoming a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people's lives and the environment. As a membership-based business association, the Organic Trade Association, founded in 1985 by Americans and Canadians, focuses on the organic business community in North America. OTA's nearly 1,550 members include farmers, processors, importers, exporters, distributors, retailers, certifiers, and more. For further information, visit OTA's web site at

Contact: Stephanie Wells
Phone: 613-787-2003
E-mail: [email protected]

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