Canada Exports – US/Canada Equivalence Arrangement
Operations certified to the National Organic Program (NOP) can ship to Canada through the US/Canada Equivalence Arrangement. The arrangement recognizes the NOP standards and the Canadian Organic Regime (COR) standards as equivalent, with minor critical variances. The USDA NOP and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) signed the historic organic standards equivalence arrangement on June 17, 2009.
Achieve compliance verification to the US/Canada Equivalence Arrangement by enrolling in the Global Market Access (GMA) program for Canada. Send a completed GMA application to firstname.lastname@example.org to enroll in the program!
You need to enroll in the GMA program for Canada if you:
- Want to maximize market opportunities and ensure your products will be accepted by most foreign markets and buyers.
- Export CCOF certified organic products to Canada from any location
- Design labels for products that will be sold in Canada.
- Grow or make products from crops that appear on CCOF’s list of high risk crops, such as carrots, potatoes, or leafy greens, that are exported to Canada or used in products that are exported in Canada.
- Raise non-ruminant livestock, or make livestock products from non-ruminant livestock, that are exported to Canada.
- Sell CCOF certified organic products to any buyer who requires international verification certification.
Terms of the US/Canada Equivalence Arrangement
- Product from anywhere in the world certified to NOP standards may be shipped to Canada and use the Canadian Organic Logo as long as the critical variances and the arrangement terms are met
- Product from anywhere in the world certified to the Canadian Organic standards may be shipped to the United States and use the USDA NOP logo as long as the critical variance and the arrangement terms are met
- Both the USDA Organic Seal and the Canadian Organic Logo may be used on certified products from both countries, in addition to the certifier’s logo.
- Product labels must comply with destination market labeling regulations. Visit our Labeling and Logos page for guidance.
- Product entering the United States or Canada through this equivalence arrangement is required to be accompanied by an attestation statement confirming compliance with the terms of the equivalence arrangement.
Critical Variances for Product Entering Canada
- Products must be produced without the use of sodium nitrate (Chilean nitrate).
- Products must not be produced using hydroponic or aeroponic methods.
- Livestock products (other than from ruminants) must be from animal systems that meet the stocking rates as set forth in the Canadian Standard (CAN/CGSB 32.310-2006).
Critical Variances for Product Entering the United States
- Livestock products must be produced without antibiotics as attested by suppliers or supplier certifiers.
Exclusions to the US/Canada Equivalence Arrangement
- Products outside the scope of the Canadian Organic Regime, such as pet food, personal care products, and aquaculture products (nori, spirulina, chlorella, kelp) may not be exported from the United States to Canada under this equivalence arrangement.
- NOP-certified products outside the scope of COR may be sold in Canada as NOP certified without additional verification. In these cases reference to COR is prohibited.
Additional Equivalence Arrangement Resources
Canadian Labeling Requirements and Use of the COR Logo
CCOF has developed a helpful International Market Labeling Guide to explain labeling requirements for organic products sold in Canada. All products shipped to Canada must meet the COR labeling requirements. Send all labels to CCOF for approval prior to printing. To learn more, read the CFIA Food Labelling for Industry Requirements.
Download the COR logo and learn more about international labeling requirements by visiting CCOF's Labeling and Logos page. Use of the COR logo is optional for imported products. If the COR logo is used, additional requirements apply.
All certified product entering the United States or Canada through the US/Canada equivalence arrangement must be accompanied by an attestation statement confirming compliance with the terms of the arrangement, including meeting the critical variances. This attestation statement must be included on accompanying documents or packaging for ALL shipments of organic products exported to Canada from the United States. Products that do not have accompanying documentation with this statement may be refused entry into Canada.
CCOF certified operations have two ways of providing the required attestation statement:
- Enroll in the CCOF Global Market Access Program for the US/Canada Organic Equivalence Arrangement. After CCOF staff verify your product(s) meet the terms of the equivalence arrangement you will be issued a Global Market Access (GMA) certificate, stating compliance for each product reviewed. To ensure smooth export of your product, you will want to provide your GMA certificate with shipment documentation.
- Complete the Attestation Document. According to the terms of the US/Canada Organic Equivalence Arrangement, the attestation statement does not need to be provided by the certifier (CCOF), but can be made by members of the supply chain. If you have reason to believe that your product meets the terms of the arrangement, you may complete this attestation document and provide it to Canadian border authorities as requested.
Critical Variance Risk Assessment
Many crops are not at risk for the critical variances. To ensure the Equivalence Arrangement verification process is as simple and efficient as possible, CCOF has created a list of crops that are at risk of being grown using one of the prohibited production techniques. For any of the crops listed in our "high risk" category, CCOF will verify that they were grown without the use of sodium nitrate and/or hydroponic or aeroponic production in order to grant your product compliance to the US/Canada Equivalence.
CCOF will not seek additional documentation for crops that have been identified as “no risk”, and are not listed on our high risk list. All livestock products from non-ruminants, such as eggs from poultry, must be verified as having met the stocking density critical variance.
High Risk Crops for use of Sodium Nitrate:
- Cole crops, including kale, collards, etc.
- Fresh tomatoes
- Greenhouse crops, including tomatoes
- Leafy greens
- Livestock feed crops produced in the Midwest
- Winter citrus from the Southeast United States
- Winter vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
High Risk Crops for Hydroponic or Aeroponic Production:
- Greenhouse crops, including herbs and tomatoes