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In December of 2020, the Canadian General Standards Board’s Organic Agricultural Technical Committee completed the task of updating CAN/CGSB 32.310 and CAN/CGSB 32.311. Many hours were dedicated by passionate individuals to update these standards. The technical committees, with the support of all the working groups, looked at every one of the petitions received over the past five years (since the last update) and considered input provided by operators and other stakeholders.

Here are the links to the new standards. For your convenience there is a link to a comparison document which shows all areas where there have been changes. This is an invaluable resource to help operators see the updates. Compliance to these updated standards come into effect in December 2021. Your certifying body can provide further details.

General principles and management standards (Agriculture) CAN/CGSB 32-310: organicbc.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/P29-32-310-2020-eng.pdf

Permitted Substances Lists (Agriculture) CAN/CGSB 32.311: organicbc.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/P29-32-311-2020-eng.pdf

Comparison document between the 2015 version of the agriculture standards and the updated versions so you can see exactly where the changes have taken place: organicfederation.ca/publication-2020-canadian-organic-standards

The Canadian Organic Growers has published a guide to the organic agriculture standards, which can be found here: cog.ca/guide-to-cos. It helps with understanding standards. If there is ever a difference between the guide and the actual standard, the standard takes precedence.

In addition, the organic aquaculture standards came into full force on January 15, 2021. CAN/CGSB 32.312: organicbc.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/P29-32-312-2018-eng.pdf. This volume provides the general principles, management standards and permitted substances lists related to organic aquaculture. The aquaculture standards were incorporated by reference to the Safe Food for Canadians Regulation on January 15th, 2019 and operators were given two years to comply to the new standard by January 15, 2021.

The COR Program also has regulations regarding labelling. To know more please use the following link: inspection.canada.ca/food-label-requirements/labelling/industry/organic-claims-on-food-labels/eng/1389725994094/1389726052482. You can contact your certifying body if you have further questions.

There is also a Standards Interpretation Committee whose mandate is to generate binding interoperation helping to keep the playing field level for all. All questions submitted to the Standards Interpretation Committee regarding the Standard are answered. The following link is where you can see all past Q&A. Conveniently, this list is searchable: organicfederation.ca/final-questions-and-answers-canadian-organic-standards

Photo credit: Marjorie Harris