Canada News

Celebrating Canada’s Organic Leaders

Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) hosted its second annual Organic Gala Leadership Awards Dinner in Vancouver, BC, in February. The event brought together members and industry leaders from across the organic sector to celebrate the accomplishments of organic actors. The 2018 Organic Leadership award winners were: 

Organic Innovator of the Year - Cuisine Soleil

Awarded for its innovative “Grilled Lentils Healthy Snacks,” focusing on expanding the availability of plant-based protein products and dedicated to using Canadian organic ingredients.

Organic Supplier of the Year - Yorkshire Valley Farms 

Awarded for expanding the organic poultry market through international exports, new product offerings and the company’s significant investment in consumer and retailer education.

Organic Champion of the Year - Carmen Wakeling of Eatmore Sprouts & Greens Ltd.

Awarded for her incredible involvement with organic across British Columbia, including being an organic business owner, exhibiting deep involvement in provincial associations and her support of organic and agricultural research projects.

Organic Retailer of the Year - Sweet Cherubim

Awarded for its commitment to organic integrity and breadth of organic product offerings, with organic accounting for over 70 percent of store inventory.

Congratulations! If you know a company, farm or association that exemplifies the principles of organic, keep them in mind for next year's Organic Leadership Awards. Date and location to be announced. Contact to see how you can submit a nomination for 2019!

COTA hosts Parliament Day & Organic Policy Conference

On October 15-16, COTA will host its annual Parliament Day and Policy Conference in Ottawa, Ontario. 

The conference brings together leaders from the organic sector to discuss timely issues, including regulatory updates, market analysis, and organic research. COTA is excited to announce that this year’s keynote speaker will be Peggy Miars, President of IFOAM--Organics International.

Following the conference will be a reception on Parliament Hill to engage with federal and provincial lawmakers and policymakers. Hosting this year's reception will be Senator Diane Griffin, who serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. COTA members will have the opportunity to meet with parliamentarians, political staffers and organic industry leaders while enjoying organic hors d’oeuvres and beverages. 

On the second day, COTA members will take to the Hill for meetings with Members of Parliament to discuss priorities for the organic sector. Sustaining ongoing relationships and building news ones will help us gain further support for our thriving industry. 

For more information about these events, e-mail Jill Guerra at

Canada celebrates Organic Week 2018

This September 8-16, Canada celebrated its ninth annual Organic Week, Canada’s largest annual celebration of organic food, farming and products. This exciting weeklong national event aims to educate as many Canadian as possible on the many benefits of organic, while supporting a growing organic sector and a transparent and sustainable food source.

Thousands of individual events and retail promotions took place across the country, highlighting the benefits of organic and its positive impact on the environment and human health. The message: when you choose Canada Organic, you’re making the choice to support a food system that is good for people, animals and the planet! 

Canada’s national Organic Week brought together the entire organic supply chain, consumers and governments to celebrate the amazing organic sector. Not only is Organic Week a great way to celebrate the wealth and bounty that our land provides, but it is an opportunity to deepen public trust of Canada Organic, which currently sits at 44 per cent.

Organic Week’s Retailer Program reached over 3,500 locations across the country. With 88 per cent of Canadian consumers maintaining or increasing their spending of organic food in 2017, it’s no wonder we saw such strong campaign participation this year! 

If you’re looking for a way to help strengthen the organic sector and get more deeply involved in the organic community, join us next September for Organic Week’s tenth anniversary! Contact for more info. 

Safe Food for Canadians Act now includes organic regs

The Canada Organic Regime (COR) has gone through a significant regulatory shift in the past year since the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) Gazette I published in January 2017 incorporated 14 separate acts and regulations into one. The organic regulations previously housed within the Agricultural Products Act are now included in SFCR Part 13.  The new regulations become effective January 15, 2019. 

When unveiled, the proposed SFCR caused extreme concern to the sector as it would have forced significant changes to organic operating procedures, including mandatory certification for all storage, transport and slaughter house operations that handle organic products (including packaged goods that would not be transformed). COTA consulted the industry and issued formal recommendations to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on April 21, 2017. While important changes were adopted based on COTA’s concerns, numerous other suggestions were not incorporated into the final regulation published on June 13, 2018.

With the Seafood Act amalgamated into the Safe Food for Canadians Act, the Canadian Organic Regime now covers organic aquaculture. The voluntary standard CAN/CGSB-32.312-2018 will become regulated by CFIA effective January 15, 2019.  Seaweed products certified under the CAN/CGSB-32.310 Organic Production Systems – General principles and management standards before the coming into force of the SFCR remain valid, and subject to the requirements in Part 13 of the SFCR, until the expiration of the 24-month period beginning when SFCR comes into force. Organic aquaculture will not be covered by organic equivalencies arrangements until negotiated with trading partners whose organic regulations include aquaculture. //

With the incorporation by reference into the SFCR of CAN/CGSB-32.312 Organic Production Systems – Aquaculture – General principles, management standards and permitted substances lists, there is potential overlap of organic commodities certified under this standard and those certified under the CAN/CGSB 32.310 – Organic Production Systems. For example, it may be possible to certify some fresh fruits and vegetables to either standard. To provide consumers with accurate information when making purchases, producers may include voluntary information on the label of these commodities about which specific organic certification standard their product was certified under, as long as labeling requirements for organic products are met.

Further engagement with CFIA will be required to ensure that organic remains competitive domestically and internationally. COTA’s submission can be requested by any OTA or COTA member.  Efforts by COTA’s SFCR Task Force and COTA stakeholders will continue as we review the implications for the industry before the regulations come into force in 2019.