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Canadian Organic Retailing Practices Manual and Guide

COTA produced the Canadian Organic Retailing Practices, the only best-practices guide to maintaining organic integrity from handling and purchasing to the checkout counter. COTA produced the Canadian Organic Labelling Guide, the comprehensive guide to labelling all organic products sold in Canada.


Organic Products Regulations (2009) - Outline the mandatory regulations for organic food products that cross provincial or national borders.  Click here for the bilingual version. 


General Principles and Management Standards CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006 (Updated in June 2011) Permitted Substances List CAN/CGSB-32.311-2006 (Updated in June 2011).

Download both documents free of charge

For the General Principles and Management Standards CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006 click here.
En francais.
For the Permitted Substances List CAN/CGSB-32.311-2006 click here.
En francais.

Standards Interpretation Committee

This elected committee provides the Canadian regulator with interpretive guidance on standards issues. SIC interpretations are subject to a 60-day comment period, at which point they are adopted by the CFIA. 

Canada Organic Office Q & A

The proposed answers to questions, raised by organic stakeholders, regarding the National Standards for Organic Agriculture. The proposed responses are subject to a 60 day comment period. All comments regarding these answers should be sent to
Questions or comments regarding the standards or SIC interpretations should be directed to the attention of the Canada Organic Office's Regulatory Standards Officer, Elizabeth Corrigan.

CGSB Organic Aquaculture Standard

On May 10 2012, the Canadian General Standards Board published the Organic Aquaculture standard (CAN/CGSB-32.312-2012).
The new standard is not part of any regulation at this time. Accredited certifying bodies can certify to this standard, but, until it is referenced in government regulation, organic aquaculture products may not carry the Canada Organic logo. Similarly, the new national standard does not currently fall under the scope of Canada’s Organic Products Regulations or Canada’s trade equivalencies for organic products with the United States or European Union. The standard will be reviewed and amended within five years, and regulation and enforcement provisions will be sought. 
The bilingual version of the Canada Organic Aquaculture Standard may be purchased online.


For a list of suspended and cancelled organic certifications visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website.

Equivalency Arrangements

Canada/US Equivalency Determination Arrangement- The historic agreement of bilateral recognition of the US National Organic Program and the Canadian Organic Regime as equivalents.
Canada/EU Organic Equivalency Determination Arrangement- The second agreement of bilateral recognition of the European Commission and the Canadian Organic Regime as equivalents. For further information   visit the CFIA website, or the European Commission website and download the Official Journal of the European Union.
Canada/Swiss Equivalency Determination Arrangement- As of December 18, 2012, Canada has been added to the list of recognized third countries for Switzerland. 
Canada/Costa Rica Equivalency Determination Arrangement- On March 28 2013, the Government of Canada entered into an agreement on the trade of organic products with Costa Rica. 

Approved Certifiers

CFIA maintains the official list of approved certifiers, by country. View the list here.

Canada Organic Office Operating Manual

To view this manual detailing the administration and enforcement of the Organic Products Regulations, please visit the CFIA's organic site for the COO Operating Manual.


Tia Loftsgard
COTA Executive Director
(613) 482-1717