Operations Within Canada

Information for Operations Located in Canada

Any operation or portion of an operation located in Canada that is producing organic food products is required to be certified directly to the Canadian Organic Regime (COR) Standards. CCOF can provide organic certification to the COR standards with identical benefits to CCOF USDA NOP certification. In order to obtain this certification from CCOF, organic operations located in Canada must:

If part of your operation is in Canada and part is in the United States, it is necessary for you to have two separate certifications with CCOF. The facilities in Canada must be certified to COR and cannot be certified to the NOP. The facilities in the United States must be certified to the NOP and cannot be certified to COR.

Contact export@ccof.org for more information about how to enroll in the CCOF COR Compliance program.

COR Labeling Requirements and Use of the COR Logo

CCOF has developed a helpful International Market Labeling Guide to explain labeling requirements for products sold in Canada 4Submit all labels to CCOF for approval prior to printing.

Download the COR logo. Use of the COR logo is optional for imported products. Additional information on labeling is available from CFIA.

Equivalence Arrangements

The Canadian Organic Regime (COR) has entered in to several equivalence arrangements with other organic markets. Each equivalence arrangement has specific terms that must be met and verified in order to export organic product from Canada to that specified location. CCOF is able to verify your operation to each equivalence arrangement through our Global Market Access (GMA) and International Standard programs. The details of each equivalence arrangement, as well as the CCOF program you will need to enroll in, are outlined below.

Canada-US Equivalence Arrangement

The Canadian Organic Regime (COR) has an organic equivalence arrangement with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). This arrangement establishes the standards of the two countries as equivalent, with the exception of minor critical variances. For CCOF operations certified to the COR standards, the CCOF Global Market Access (GMA) program verifies compliance to the Canada/US Organic Equivalence Arrangement.

Under the terms of this arrangement:

  • Product from anywhere in the world certified to Canadian standards may be shipped to the United States and use the USDA NOP logo as long as the product meets the critical variance and the terms of the arrangement are met..
  • 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 product meets the three critical variances and the arrangement terms are met.
  • Both the Canadian Organic Logo and the USDA Organic Seal 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 equivalence. Enrollment in the CCOF Global Market Access (GMA) program will provide you with verification to the equivalence and an attestation document.

Critical Variance for Product Entering the United States:

  • Livestock and livestock products must be produced without the use of antibiotics.

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).

Canada-Japan Equivalence Arrangement

The Canadian Organic Regime (COR) has an organic equivalence arrangement with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). This arrangement establishes the Canadian COR standards and the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS) as equivalent, with no critical variances. For CCOF operations certified to the COR standards, the CCOF Global Market Access (GMA) program verifies compliance to the Canada/Japan Organic Equivalence Arrangement.

Under the terms of this arrangement:

  • Product from Canada certified to the COR standards will be recognized as equivalent to the JAS organic standards and may be shipped to Japan and marketed as organic.
  • Product from Japan that is certified to the JAS organic standards may be shipped to Canada and use the COR logo as long as the arrangement terms are met.
  • Use of the COR rganic seal is voluntary, while use of the JAS seal is mandatory. The JAS seal may be applied in Japan by a JAS-certified importer or applied by U.S. companies through a consignment contract with a JAS-certified importer.
  • Product labels must comply with destination market labeling regulations. Visit our Labeling and Logos page for guidance.
  • Exported product from either location must be accompanied by an export certificate. Enrollment in the CCOF Global Market Access (GMA) program provides you with export certificate services.

Exclusions to the Canada/Japan Equivalence Arrangement

  • Livestock and alcohol products are not covered under this agreement. They may be exported to Japan, but cannot bear the JAS seal.

Labeling Requirements and Use of the JAS Seal

CCOF has developed a helpful International Market Labeling Guide to explain labeling requirements for organic products sold in Japan. All products shipped to Japan must meet the JAS labeling requirements. Send all labels to CCOF for approval prior to printing. To learn more, read MAFF’s JAS labeling requirements.

U.S. Exporters can meet the JAS labeling requirements in three ways.

  1. JAS Seal Consignment Contract with a JAS certified importer
  • Sign the consignment contract with your JAS certified importer to apply the JAS seal directly to your products in Canada.
  • CCOF can help you navigate the consignment contract and provide required reporting under the JAS system. Note, the JAS seal is unique to each JAS certifier.
  1. JAS certified importer applies the JAS seal in Japan
  • Export the product without the JAS seal and have the JAS-certified importer apply the seal once it reaches Japan, before sale.
  1. Direct JAS certification through a JAS accredited certifier
  • CCOF has an inspection partnership with a JAS accredited certifier that can offer certification to the JAS standard directly, giving you access to your own JAS seal.
  • If you are interested in JAS certification contact export@ccof.org.
  • CCOF has observed that this option is time consuming and costly and does not recommend it.

JAS Seal Consignment Contract and Process

Sign the JAS Seal Consignment Contract with your JAS certified importer to apply the JAS seal directly to your COR certified products in Canada. Under this contract system, a Canadian exporter must identify a responsible employee, demonstrate compliance with the contract training, and maintain records of the number of seals used for each shipment to Japan.

With enrollment in the GMA Japan export program, CCOF staff will guide you through the Consignment Contract process and facilitate maintenance of the required records. CCOF has analyzed the process and provides a variety of tools and processes based on MAFF’s instructions. See below:

  • Contact your JAS-certified importer in Japan and sign the JAS Seal Consignment Contract. Send a copy of the signed contract to CCOF.
  • Complete the training for attaching JAS seals and send the signed documents to your importer for their records. Send a copy to CCOF.
  • Your importer will send their JAS seal for you to use on your products.
  • Each JAS seal is specific to the name of the importer’s certifier, so you must be careful to apply the correct seal if you have multiple contracts.
  • You are only allowed to apply the JAS seal on products destined to the specific importer you have subcontracted with.
  • Submit the new labels for international sales to CCOF.
  • Apply the JAS seal to the products that your importer has requested.
  • Use the Report of Attached JAS Seals to document how many seals were used for each shipment. Send this document to CCOF with your Japan/COR export certificate request.
  • Send the CCOF-issued Japan/COR export certificate and the report of attached JAS seals with each shipment. CCOF will keep copies of these documents for your recordkeeping requirement.

Consignment Contract Process Graphic

Canada-EU and Canada-Switzerland Equivalence Arrangements

The Canadian Organic Regime (COR) has an organic equivalence arrangement with the European Commission and the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG). These arrangements allow products with 100% Canada-grown ingredients to be exported to the EU or Switzerland without any additional verification. Additionally, products made in the EU may be imported to Canada without any additional verification, and products made from Canadian, EU, or Swiss ingredients and processed in Switzerland may be imported to Canada.

COR certified organic product with less than 100% of ingredients grown in Canada will need to apply for an import authorization with their importer and the EU Member State Competent Authority or FOAG. CCOF’s International Standard Program can verify the necessary differences between the COR and EU or Swiss organic regulations, and supply you with the appropriate documentation for an import authorization.

Under the terms of this arrangement:

  • Product from Canada with 100% Canada-grown ingredients certified to the COR standards will be recognized as equivalent to the EU and Swiss organic standards and can use the EU organic logo.
  • Product from the EU that is certified to the EU organic standards may be shipped to Canada and use the COR logo as long as the final processing occurred in the EU.
  • Product from Switzerland made from ingredients originating from Switzerland, the EU, or Canada that is certified to Swiss organic standards may be shipped to Canada and use the COR logo as long as the final processing occurred in Switzerland.
  • No additional verification is required for 100% Canada-grown COR organic exports to the EU or Switzerland, or for EU and Swiss organic imports into Canada.
  • Each shipment must be accompanied by a certifier-issued export certificate.
  • Product labels must comply with destination market labeling regulations. Visit our Labeling and Logos page for guidance.

Labeling Requirements and Use of the EU Logo

CCOF has developed a helpful International Market Labeling Guide to explain labeling requirements for organic products sold in the EU and Switzerland. All products shipped to the EU and Switzerland must meet the EU labeling requirements. Send all labels to CCOF for approval prior to printing. To learn more, read the EU Commission's Organic logo and labeling information.

Download the EU logo and learn more about international labeling requirements by visiting CCOF's Labeling and Logos page. Use of the EU logo is optional for imported products. If the EU logo is used, additional requirements apply.

Operations utilizing the EU logo are strongly encouraged to review the EU Organic Regulations and Logo use documents.

CCOF Operations Certified to the COR Standards

CCOF keeps a list of all operations certified to the Canadian Organic Regime. This list is updated on a monthly basis. You can also find CCOF clients certified to the COR standards in real time by accessing our online directory and checking the Canada Organic Regime (COR) Certified box under “Certification”.

Regulatory Bodies in Canada

  • Canada Organic Office (COO): Rola Yehia, National Manager. Tel: (613) 773-5476; Rola.Yehia@inspection.gc.ca; Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Floor 6, Room 134, 1400 Merivale Road, Tower 2, Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA): Implements standards, approves accreditors and accredits certifiers (with accreditor recommendation), negotiates equivalency agreements.
  • Canadian General Standards Board: Develops standards and materials lists as part of a public consensus-based process. Composed of several working groups: PSL, Crops, Livestock, Processing.

Canadian Organic Regime Background

On June 24, 2009, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) released updated organic regulations for implementation on July 1, 2009, that included a new Canadian Organic Logo.

On June 18, 2009, the USDA and CFIA signed an agreement that recognizes each country’s organic standards as equivalent. This agreement, the first of its kind for the United States, promises to benefit U.S. and Canadian producers, processors, and consumers.

On July 1, 2009, Canadian Organic Regime (COR) standards became effective for organic products sold in Canada. CCOF prepared our clients for this important organic standards development with the United States’ largest agricultural trading partner by modifying our programs and documents to ensure that the needs of CCOF clients are met for products sold to, or produced in, Canada.

Full implementation of the U.S.-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement came into effect on July 1, 2011. This means full enforcement of the rules regarding export of U.S. certified organic crops and products that are sent, either directly or indirectly, to Canada. Prior to this date, the Canadian Organic Office allowed a "stream of commerce" policy while the industry readied itself for full compliance with the requirements.