On October 17, COTA hosted its sixth annual Policy Conference. Unlike in years’ past, we offered a full days’ agenda, with over 20 speakers on a wide range of topics. Attending the Policy Conference were organic industry stakeholders, from business leaders to academia, many of whom flew in from across Canada.
The day following the Policy Conference, COTA members ‘stormed’ Parliament Hill in coordinated teams to meet with Members of Parliament (MPs) to discuss important organic sector issues. Fifteen MP meetings were scheduled, our biggest MP audience on Lobby Day to-date, with the following four themes presented as key asks:
• A federal commitment for consistent, multi-year financial support for the Canadian Organic Regime;
• Ensuring that all provinces and territories adopt organic regulations that are equivalent to or more robust than the federal organic regulatory regime;
• Creating regulations for organic self-care products, textiles and pet food; and
• Ensuring that federal risk-management policies and programs (i.e. AgriStability) under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership accommodate the needs of organic operations.
In following up, COTA’s members reported positive receptions and a willingness to discuss the issues and further our agenda. This is a critical time for the growth of the industry as organic products continue to rise in popularity, and we were pleased to see that the temperature on the Hill is favorable. //