202-3002 32nd Ave, Vernon BC Canada V1T 2L7 info@certifiedorganic.bc.ca

Last updated: September 18, 2021

Certified Organic Associations of BC (DBA Organic BC)

At Organic BC, we are committed to providing our members, volunteers, employees, contractors and the public with exceptional service. As providing this service involves the collection, use and disclosure of some personal information, protecting your personal information is one of our highest priorities. By accessing our website or disclosing your personal information to us, you consent to our collection, use and disclosure of your personal information as set out in this Privacy Policy.

While we have always respected your personal information, we have strengthened our commitment to protecting personal information as a result of British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). PIPA, which came into effect on January 1, 2004, sets out the ground rules for how B.C. businesses and not-for-profit organizations may collect, use and disclose personal information.

We will inform our members, volunteers, employees, contractors and the public of why and how we collect, use and disclose their personal information, obtain their consent where required, and only handle their personal information in a manner that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances.

This Privacy Policy, in compliance with PIPA, outlines the principles and practices we will follow in protecting members’ personal information. Our privacy commitment includes ensuring the accuracy, confidentiality, and security of personal information and allowing you to request access to, and correction of, your personal information.


Personal information  means information about an identifiable individual, including name, home address, phone number, email address (if available) and social insurance number (employees only). Personal information does not include contact information (described below).

Contact information – means information that would enable an individual to be contacted at a place of business and includes name, position name or title, business telephone number, business address, business email or business fax number. Contact information is not covered by this policy or PIPA.

Collecting Personal Information

Unless the purposes for collecting personal information are obvious and you voluntarily provide your personal information for those purposes (such as digital communications subscriptions, job/volunteer applications, directory information inclusions, downloads/purchases, requests for information/resources/services, etc), we will communicate the purposes for which personal information is being collected, either orally or in writing, before or at the time of collection.

When using iCertify, personal information will only be collected for the purposes of assessing an Enterprise’s eligibility and on-going compliance for organic certification, as outlined by the BC Certified Organic Program and the Canadian Organic Regime, that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances, as well as to send out invoices for certification services and otherwise administer membership.

Examples of when personal information may be directly collected during the Certification Process include, but are not limited to:

  • Account creation using the Online Organic Application Portal
  • Information, photographs and documents uploaded or submitted during Application and Renewal processes
  • Subsequent access or changes made to your online profile account
  • Documents, verbal communication and photographs collected by Verification Officers during on-site inspections
  • Paper documents submitted as part of the certification process
  • Email and verbal communication with your Certifying Body or COABC representatives
  • Complaint information
  • Assessing products and procedures used in the production of Certified Organic and Non-Organic products produced at the Enterprise
  • Employee/Contractor/Client declarations and contact information or other information voluntarily disclosed
  • Financial information related to the sale of Certified Organic and Non-Organic products produced at the Enterprise


Use of Cookies and Analytics

Like most websites, the Organic BC website uses cookies, which are small bits of text that are placed on your computer when you visit a website. By storing information between website visits, cookies help improve the user experience, such as letting users avoid logging in each time they visit the site, and help us to improve security. You can choose whether or not to accept cookies by changing the settings of your Internet browser.

Our website also uses web analytics to collect anonymous data from website visitors, such as referring sites, pages visited, and the dates and times of each visitor request. This data is used solely for the purpose of tracking usage patterns and improving the functionality, including security, and content of our website.

Although no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure, information transferred using the Online Certification Portal uses industry standard security

measures such as firewalls and SSL encryption to protect the data stream. Upon its submission to the COABC, personal information is retained on our servers in a secure database that is located in Canada.

By continuing to use our website, you consent to our use of cookies and analytics.


Organic BC obtains consent before collecting, using or disclosing personal information.

Organic BC will assume consent to our collection, use, and disclosure of personal information if you give that information through purchases/downloads, digital communications subscriptions, job/volunteer applications, directory information inclusions, or information requests. Or, your consent can be implied where the purpose for collecting, using or disclosing the personal information would be considered obvious and you voluntarily provide personal information for that purpose. You may withdraw consent at any time, subject to contractual or legal restrictions and reasonable notice.

Consent may also be implied where you are given notice and a reasonable opportunity to opt-out of your personal information being used for a specific purpose, and you do not opt-out.

By registering an account using this online application portal, or by providing personal information to us through written, oral or electronic methods, you consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information for the purposes described herein.

Subject to certain exceptions (e.g., the personal information is necessary to provide the service or product, or the withdrawal of consent would frustrate the performance of a legal obligation), you can withhold or withdraw your consent for Organic BC to use your personal information in certain ways. Your decision to withhold or withdraw your consent to certain uses of personal information may restrict our ability to provide a particular service or product. If so, we will explain the situation to you, the person making the decision. If you do not want us to use or disclose your personal information in a particular way, please contact us using the contact information at the bottom of this Privacy Policy to discuss how we can limit our collection, use or disclosure of your personal information.

Using and Disclosing Personal Information

Personal information will be used and disclosed to Certification Body personnel and committee members, Certification Committees, Verification Officers, COABC and Accreditation Board Personnel for the purposes for which it was collected or otherwise permitted under the PIPA or in connection with certain tasks that we are authorized to complete by legislation.

All COABC and certification body employees, volunteers and third-party service providers are contractually obligated to comply with COABC’s privacy policies and procedures, in relation to the security, management and protection of all personal information within COABC’s custody and control.

The only circumstance under which personal information may be disclosed to third parties is for the fulfillment of any purposes identified above, or as required or permitted by law. If personal information is disclosed to third parties for the fulfillment of any purposes identified above, we will ensure that appropriate security undertakings, such as confidentiality clauses in contractual agreements, are employed to protect the transfer and use of personal information.

We will not use or disclose personal information for any additional purpose unless we obtain consent to do so, and we do not sell, trade, or rent information to third parties.

Retaining Personal Information

We will retain personal information only as long as necessary to fulfill the identified purposes for which it was collected, or as required by law.

The length of retention of personal information will vary in relation to the specific personal information collected. All personal information collected in reference to certification is retained for a minimum of seven years or a later date stipulated by the COABC, the BC Ministry of Agriculture or the Canada Food Inspection Agency.

When personal information is no longer required, the COABC will dispose of it securely as outlined in PIPA.

Ensuring Accuracy of Personal Information

Organic BC will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that personal information is as accurate, complete, and current as required for the purposes for which it was collected. Members, volunteers, employees, contractors and the public may request correction to their personal information in order to ensure its accuracy and completeness by contacting Organic BC’s Executive Director using the contact information at the bottom of this Privacy Policy.

Securing Personal Information

We are committed to ensuring the security of personal information in order to protect it from unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, copying, modification or disposal or similar risks. We continually review and update our security policies and controls as technology changes to ensure ongoing personal information security.

We protect personal information with appropriate security safeguards, which include physical, administrative, and electronic security measures. When destroying personal information, we will use appropriate security measures, such as permanent digital deletion and shredding of any paper documents containing personal information.

At the same time, we cannot guarantee that only authorized people will see your information, and there is the risk that third parties will use illegal actions or means contrary to our policies to obtain your information.

If we believe a breach of security has affected your personal information that is under our control, we will investigate the situation and, where appropriate, notify you. We will also take all other steps which we believe are appropriate or legally required.

Providing Access to Personal Information

You have a right to access your personal information. However, in certain exceptional situations, Organic BC may not be able to provide access to certain personal information that it holds about you. If access cannot be provided, Organic BC will notify you, in writing, of the reasons for refusal.

A request to access personal information must be made in writing to the Executive Director and provide sufficient detail to identify the personal information being sought. Upon request, we will also tell you how we use your personal information and to whom it has been disclosed (if applicable).

We will make the requested information available within 30 business days, or provide written notice of an extension where additional time is required to fulfill the request.

Personal Information of Minors

We do not knowingly collect or use personal information from children under the age of 13. If you are a parent or guardian of a child under the age of 13 and believe that they have provided us with personal information, please contact us immediately using the contact information at the bottom of this Privacy Policy.

Changes to this Privacy Policy

We may change this Privacy Policy from time to time by publishing a new version and updating the date at the top of this Privacy Policy and by continuing to use our services, you agree to be bound by the revised Privacy Policy.

Questions and Complaints

The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring Organic BC’s compliance with this policy and the Personal Information Protection Act.

Members, volunteers, employees, contractors and the public should direct any complaints, concerns or questions regarding Organic BC’s compliance in writing to the Executive Director. If the Executive Director is unable to resolve the concern, the concerned individual(s) may also write to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia.

Contact information for Organic BC’s Executive Director:

(250) 260-4429

Organic BC
202-3002 32nd Ave
Vernon, BC
V1T 2L7

Contact information for the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia 

(250) 387-5629

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia
PO Box 9038 Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria B.C.
V8W 9A4