On December 11, 2020 the CFIA released the 2020 revision of the Canadian Organic Standards.  The revised standards are the result of years of work from an exceptional group of volunteers, representing all segments of the industry.  We want to thank all who participated for their efforts to protect the integrity of the movement and prepare our standards for both coming challenges and new innovations!

We recommend all certified operators collect a copy of the new standards and start to become familiar with the updated requirements.  Copies of the new standards are available at the following links:


Implementation of the New Standards

The revised standards take effect immediately, and as such Pro-Cert will be using these standards as the basis for inspection and evaluation as we begin moving into the 2021 season.  Certified operators have a period of 12 months from the date of publication of the standards to bring their operations into compliance with the changes.  In certain cases, the standards may have allowances for a longer timeframe.

Who is affected?

The new standards are applicable to all certified operators under the Canada Organic Regime (COR).  This includes applicants under the COR Aquaculture scope, while CAN/CGSB-32.312 was not revised, compliance does rely on the newly revised Permitted Substances List – CAN/CGSB-32.311.

Also affected will be operators outside of the COR scope certified to Pro-Cert’s Canada Organic Standards (COS) program, as well as input manufacturers who achieved approval under Pro-Cert’s Input Approval Program.

 What has changed?

The changes to the standards range from minor editorial changes to new clauses and/or significant updates or re-writes of specific clauses.

To assist organic operators in identifying the changes that may affect their operations, the Organic Federation of Canada (OFC) has published a detailed side by side comparison between the amended 2018 Standard and the newly revised 2020 Edition at http://organicfederation.ca/publication-2020-canadian-organic-standards

The Organic Federation of Canada has also recently provided valuable discussion and updates on some of the more notable changes in the standard via their newsletter and at:  http://www.organicfederation.ca/2020-review-canadian-organic-standards-highlights

Next Steps

As noted above, we recommend operators collect copies of the revised standards at the links above.  The comparison provided by OFC can be used to identify those specific parts of your Organic System Plan which may need to be adjusted in 2021 to maintain your compliance.  If you are unable to access the links above and require a hard copy of the standards or the comparison sent to you, these can be obtained from our offices for a nominal cost to cover printing/shipping.

Additional information and resources related to the revised standards will be available through our newsletter.  If you are not a subscriber (and why not?) please sign up here.