New Canadian Export Requirements

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Date Published: 
January 17, 2011

In early November 2010, the National Organic Program (NOP) clarified that under the U.S.- Canada Organic Equivalence Arrangement all products exported to Canada should be accompanied by documentation that contains the following statement:

"Certified in compliance with the terms of the U.S.-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement".

This statement may appear on organic certificates, bills of lading, transaction certificates, purchase orders, or other "affirmative attestation." While this statement may be applied by the seller, it may only be used for product that fully complies with the equivalency arrangement.

CCOF ensured that this statement was included on the Global Market Access (GMA) certificate for all clients who met the terms of the equivalency arranged in September 2010; it will appear on all certificates going forward. The CCOF GMA certificate may be used to accompany shipments of products that meet the agreement. CCOF strongly recommends enrollment in the GMA program to all operators who ship products to Canada or who produce products that may ultimately be shipped to Canada by someone else.

The NOP also clarified that in order to comply with the equivalency arrangement:

  • All products, not just raw produce, must be verified to have been produced without the use of Chilean nitrate. CCOF will require that clients with processed goods currently approved for Canada use in 2011 to secure documentation confirming that all ingredients comply with this requirement. This may be in the form of affidavits or certificates of compliance from certifiers. All new products seeking equivalency approval must demonstrate compliance with the arrangement prior to receiving approval. CCOF will concentrate its efforts on identifying specific crops that may be grown with Chilean nitrate and may not require substantial documentation for ingredients that do not pose a risk.
  • Hydroponic and aeroponic production may not be sold as organic in Canada.
  • Animal products exported to Canada must be produced in compliance with the stocking densities in the Canadian organic standards. CCOF will verify this during upcoming inspections for operations requesting Canadian export verification.

The Canadian Organic Office has stated that at the current time the organic standards are in a "soft enforcement" stage. As these requirements differ slightly from the previous "produce only" implementation, CCOF operations will be allowed appropriate time to demonstrate compliance. If CCOF or CCOF operations have knowledge that particular products or ingredients do not comply with any of the terms of the equivalency arrangement (such as the use of Chilean nitrate), these items will not be granted equivalency status and must not be represented or sold as organic in Canada.

CCOF will be modifying Manual 3, inspection documents, affidavits, and various other information resources in the near future to assist clients with compliance. Read the NOP's announcement by visiting and viewing "International Agreements" followed by "Equivalence Agreements."