Canadian Organic Regime

The Canadian Organic Regime is the legal framework that regulates organic products at the federal level in Canada it consists of:

The regime applies to all organic foods, fibers and livestock feed products that cross international or inter-provincial borders in Canada.

The CFIA also maintains a list of all the certification bodies that are accredited to certify Organic goods to the Canadian Organic Regime.

Common Questions about the Canadian Organic Regime:

What is the Canadian Organic Regime?

  • The Canadian Organic Regime is a collection of regulations, standards, guidance documents and protocols managed under the supervision of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that regulate the use of the term Organic in reference to Food products and livestock feed federally in Canada

Who certifies products as organic?

  • Certification Bodies, complete the certification process and provide organic certification, these bodies can be private companies or not-for-profit organizations and can act solely as organic certifiers or have additional business ventures.
  • Certification Bodies are overseen by Conformity Verification Bodies, which ensure that they are following regulatory requirements and acting in a fair and neutral fashion in their certification activities. The CVB’s are monitored directly by the CFIA to ensure their compliance.
  • Certification bodies hire organic inspectors to complete annual onsite inspections of organic certified businesses, these inspectors provide reports to the certifier outlining the state of organic operations on site in reference to the organic standard and the organic plan of the business.
  • These inspection reports are reviewed by certification officers who depending on the internal procedures of the certification body will determine the organic status of the client and issue an organic certificate or a request for corrective action or a notice of denial to the client.
  • TLDR : The certification body according to their internal procedures, certifies products as organic under the accreditation of the CFIA.

When does the Canadian Organic Regime apply and not apply?

  • The regime applies to all organic foods, fibers and livestock feed products that cross international or inter-provincial borders in Canada.
  • The regime does not apply to health products, body care products, pet food, aquaculture products.
  • The regime is not mandatory for products produced and sold within the same province unless otherwise stated by provincial law. (Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick all required certification to the Canadian Organic Standard for Intra-provincial trade, B-C is in the process of transitioning from a voluntary certification process to a mandatory certification system and additional provinces are moving towards a mandatory requirement)
  • Imported products certified outside of Canada and brought into Canada require certification if the packaging is altered within Canada, this includes relabeling packaging or opening packaging simply to repackage the product into smaller packages.