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Government of Canada advances efforts to build a strong and competitive organic industry

June 25, 2019  By AAFC

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau recently stopped at Cooperative Alentour in Sherbrooke where she announced an investment of $992,131 to the Canada Organic Trade Association to develop export and domestic market opportunities for high-quality organic food products, while continuing to build public trust and a positive reputation for the “Canada Organic Brand.” Minister Bibeau also announced that public consultations on proposed revisions to the Canadian Organic Standards (COS) will begin this summer.

The Minister made the announcement prior to a roundtable meeting with organic producers and association representatives, where she will highlight the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to the sector and discuss industry priorities.

The $992,131 will help the Canada Organic Trade Association fund trade show booths in international tradeshows, as well as facilitate incoming trade missions. It will also provide the technical assistance required for Canada to establish organic equivalency agreements with trade partners, and the trade advocacy to promote the “Canada Organic Brand” on the world stage.


The success of Canadian organic products is only possible at home and abroad with the consumer trust that comes from the Canadian Organic Standards, which are the backbone of the industry and the “Canada Organic Brand”.

In January 2018, the Government of Canada invested over $250,000 to help the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) complete their essential work on the Standards. The review is done every five years to ensure production methodologies reflect current practices and technological advancements being employed by the organic industry.

As part of review, the CGSB will launch a 90-day public review in summer 2019, to allow Canadians to analyze the proposed changes to the COS. Following the consultations, the technical Committee, which is composed of experts from industry, government and other organic food associations, will vote in late 2019 on the amendments to the current COS. The updated standards will be published by the CGSB in the fall.

The Government of Canada has also provided program support of approximately $300,000 to the Organic Federation of Canada to help improve the review of the standards and the sector’s sustainability.

“Canadian organic farmers and food processors produce high quality products that meet the demands of consumers at home and abroad, while providing thousands of jobs across the country. Our commitment to help update the Standards and develop markets for Canadian
organic products will contribute to a strong and competitive organic industry,” Minister Bibeau said.

Annual retail sales of certified organic food products in Canada is approximately $4.4 billion. Approximately 4,289 certified organic and transitional producers are working on over 930,000 hectares of land in Canada.

“The Canadian Organic Standards, which have been adopted by thousands of producers, define environmentally sound best practices for agricultural production in Canada. The public review will allow producers and consumers to validate our national organic standards and obtain noteworthy organic products. The Organic Federation of Canada thanks Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for its support of the work to review the Canadian Organic Standards,” said Jim Robbins, President, Organic Federation of Canada.

Since October 2015, the Government of Canada has invested more than $50 million in support of the organic sector, focusing on facilitating adoption of innovative technologies; helping organic farmers and processors take advantage of market opportunities; funding youth jobs; and, conducting research activities.

“As the fastest-growing sector in Canadian agriculture, this investment supports organic companies to expand to international markets to meet the global demand for Canadian organic products. The funds will also be dedicated towards the future development of international
equivalency arrangements, incoming buyer’s missions and a retailer training curriculum. We are thrilled by Minister Bibeau’s announcement of government funding of $992,000 towards supporting the organic sectors growth and integrity,” said Tia Loftsgard, executive director, Canada Organic Trade Association.

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