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The 2025 Review of the Canadian Organic Standards is Underway!

The Canadian Organic Standards are reviewed every five years to consider and integrate new beneficial ecological practices. The Organic Federation of Canada (OFC) invites all organic stakeholders to submit requests for modifications to the 2020 Canadian Organic Standards. The deadline for submitting proposals is July 28, 2023.

From the Organic Federation of Canada:

Our organic standards defining the practices that organic farmers and processors apply on their operations are essential. Not only are they referenced by regulation (namely, the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations) but, most importantly, they describe the practices required by organic producers to prevent water and air pollution, build and maintain soil health, promote animal welfare, and enhance sustainability of Canadian agriculture under the threat of climate change.

From theory to practice

The review of the Canadian Organic Standards provides a valuable opportunity for clarifying the ecological practices and the use of permitted substances defined in the COS, and adding new practices or substances to modernize Canadian organic food production and processing.

The standards review is a transparent process complying with the procedures prescribed by the Canadian General Standards Board. The first step of the review is to invite proposals from all stakeholders (operators, consumers, traders, private and public agents involved in the Canada Organic Regime). 

As the Canadian Organic Standards are composed of two different documents, there are two separate forms for submitting proposals for modifications and additions:

  

Filling out these forms is simple.  

You must identify yourself (name, address, phone, email, etc.) on all the forms that you are submitting. but this information remains confidential. It will only  be used by the review secretary or OFC coordinator  if additional information is needed to clarify your proposal.

Proposing a modification to CAN/CGSB-32.310
General Principles and Management Standards

The purpose of the form is to report an issue with the current standards that need to be addressed, such as lack of clarity of a clause, the need to introduce a new practice or include an adaptation to new growing conditions,.
 
To complete the form, you provide appropriate background information and references for the change or addition. You are then invited to propose the revised wording of the unclear clause or the wording of a new clause that would resolve the issue that you have raised.
Using the language of the standards can be intimidating: feel free to use your own words.

Proposing a modification to CAN/CGSB-32.311
Permitted Substances Lists

Many clauses govern the use of substances in organic production systems.

Clause 1.4 of CAN/CGSB-32.310 prohibits techniques such as genetic engineering, irradiation and nanotechnology in the production of substances permitted in organic production/preparation. 
 
Clause 1.5 of CAN/CGSB-32.310 prohibits substances not compatible with general principles of organic production and requires that operators use only substances listed in CAN/CGSB-32.311 - Permitted Substances Lists.

Moreover, clause 10 of CAN/CGSB-32.310, Procedures, criteria and conditions to amend CAN/CGSB-32.311, Organic Production Systems - Permitted Substances Lists, describes the criteria for allowing the use of a substance in crop production (Table 10), in livestock production (Table 11) and in processing of organic food (Table 12).
 

All assessments are based on the need for a substance, the origin and mode of production of a substance, and the impact of its use on the environment.

Proposing a new substance
In describing the rationale for adding a new substance to the Permitted Substances Lists, please refer to the criteria of clause 10 of CAN/CGSB-32.310:
  • Is the substance necessary?
  • What production/processing issue would it resolve?
  • What is the substance’s origin and mode of production?
  • What is the substance’s environmental impact (considering its manufacturing, processing, use and disposal)?
Background information and references to clarify why the new substance should be added to the PSL will be useful. The rationale for including the substance, its origin and mode of production should be as detailed as possible.

You are invited to suggest an annotation that would define the origin and usage of the substance. A clear annotation is a major component of the listing of a substance.

 

Proposing a change to an existing substance
Describe the modification that you propose to the annotation of the substance in question. You may use your own wording.

Add additional background information and references justifying the change that you are proposing. You are not required to add scientific references, however they may be valuable..
 

The deadline for submitting proposals: June 29, 2023.

Once compiled, the proposals will be analyzed by the various Working Groups responsible for recommending approval, modification or rejection of the proposals.

For updates on the 2025 Review, visit the OFC website

2025 Review of the Canadian Organic Standards.