Canada’s Organic Standards


What are Canada’s Organic Standards?

The Canadian Organic Standards are a detailed set of principles, guidelines, and permitted substances that are used in the organic certification process. The use of the term “organic” is governed only by federal legislation. In Ontario there is no dedicated regulation of or legislation regarding use of the term “organic.”

The 2015 release of the Canadian Organic Standards includes Organic Principles and Management Standards, as well as Permitted Substances lists.

Canada’s Organic Standards are recognized as equivalent to the respective standards created by both the European Union and the United States.

Amendments to the Standards

Canada’s Organic Standards are under continual review in order to ensure that they remain up-to-date and incorporate ongoing organic research and other advances. The Organic Council of Ontario routinely solicits feedback from its members regarding such changes in order to communicate member concerns effectively to the Organic Federation of Canada (OFC).

2020 Canadian Organic Standards Review

Funded with a contribution of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Organic Federation of Canada (OFC) has launched the review process that will culminate with the publication of the 2020 version of the Canadian Organic Standards by November 2020.

To learn more about the Standards Review process and OCO’s role, read the following blog posts which are a part of OCO’s #YourStandardsYourSay series:

Review Process:Exploring the Issues:
Launch of Public Review for Proposed Changes to Canadian Organic Standards

Canadian Organic Standards Review: Public Comment Period Coming in June

The Review of the Canadian Organic Standards: A Fast-Tracked Review

Canadian Organic Standards Review Consultation & Update

Canadian Organic Standards Review Process Underway

Find Out How to Help Improve the Canadian Organic Standards

#YourStandardsYourSay Webinars: Topics in the Canadian Organic Standards Review

#YourStandardsYourSay -Organic Cannabis: A Pipe Dream?

#YourStandardsYourSay – The Parallel Production Ban: A Necessity or an Inconvenience?

#YourStandardsYourSay – Something Fishy About Aquaponics?

#YourStandardsYourSay – Small-Scale Solutions: Growing the Organic Tent


The Organic Federation of Canada (OFC) has provided a series of articles which explain the Canadian Organic Standards Review process and explore the proposed changes.

Public Comment Period: July – September 2019

The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) has released the draft version of the revised Canadian Organic Standards. Public comments will be accepted until September 30, 2019. Read more about the proposed changes.

The standards are presented in two versions: one version contains the text of the current 2015 Standard with tracked changes; suggested deletions are crossed out and additions are underlined. This will allow you to see exactly what the proposed changes are. The other “clean” version displays the standard as if all the proposed changes have been accepted.

CAN/CGSB-32.310 Organic Production Systems: General Principles and Management Standards
> with tracked changes
> clean version

CAN/CGSB-32.311 Organic Production Systems: Permitted Substances Lists (PSL)
> with tracked changes
> clean version

Latest News

Webinar on the Standards Review Changes

OCO hosted a webinar on key changes to the Canadian Organic Standards in September 2019 with representatives from the Working Groups. Watch the webinar below:

#YourStandardsYourSay Presentation Slides

Submit a Comment

If you are an organic farmer, producer, processor or retailer, OCO is your link to the Organic Federation of Canada (OFC). We provide feedback, suggestions, and voice member concerns regarding regulatory changes to the OFC on an ongoing basis.

Although the revisions to the 2020 Canadian Organic Standards are now closed for comment, OCO will continue to collect your comments and suggestions to inform our position with reagrds to future revisions. OCO is a voting member of the CGSB Technical Committee. If you wish to voice a concern or ask a question about the proposed changes, please fill out the form below. Your message will be received and responded to by an OCO board member.

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