In an initiative led by the Canada Organic Growers (COG) and Organic Federation of Canada (OFC), COTA has been supporting a major government relations effort to secure funding for the 2020 review of the Canadian Organic Standards. In Canada, the Canadian General Standards Board, a government organization, owns the Standards. However, the organic industry is expected to fund their review. Unfortunately, the industry has no practical way to fund such a review. To make matters worse, the review must take place every five years, or the Standards are at risk of being shelved.
Such an outcome would have implications on organic production and, more problematically, would affect our international equivalency arrangements with major trading partners like the United States and European Union. The Standards are the backbone of the organic industry. We need funds to ensure our Standards remain valid, and in keeping with best practices.
We have asked the Government of Canada to provide consistent and permanent funding of the Standards like the U.S. and EU do. The Organic Standards are a public good and are necessary to meet our international trade obligations and for the continued growth of the domestic organic industry.
In striving for this objective, COTA, COG and OFC have met with senior officials in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, including the Minister MacAulay, Health Canada, the Treasury Board and numerous MPs. This marks the beginning of our efforts as we continue to work with government for this much-needed support. //