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Canada Organic Regulations

General Information and links to standards and resources for certification to the Canadian Organic Regulations.

Canada Organic Seal

Canada Organic Regulations Overview

Important message to OTCO certified clients

Important Message to Operators in Canada

canada Applications
Class O - Organically Grown CANADA: For operations in Canada.
Handling (Class OP, OH, OM) Canada: For operations in Canada.

The Canadian Organic Products Regulation Standards and implementation procedures are officially referred to as the Canadian Organic Regime (COR).  The Canada Organic Products Regulations (OPR) define specific requirements for organic products to be labeled as organic or that bear the Canada Organic Logo.

The OPR Scope covers food and drink intended for human consumption and food intended to feed livestock, including agricultural crops used for those purposes, and also the cultivation of plants.

All operations in Canada growing or manufacturing organic products within the scope of the OPR are required to become certified to the COR. Products that are excluded from the scope cannot be certified under the Canada Organic Regime and cannot bear the Canada Organic logo.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of the COR.

The COR was implemented on 30 June 2009 with a two-year implementation period becoming fully effective on 1 July 2011.

US-Canada Equivalence Arrangement

The National Organic Program and Canada Organic Office signed an Equivalency Arrangement on 17 June 2009. On 4 November 2010 the two government agencies issued an updated Policy Memorandum to the Equivalency Arrangement detailing the requirements for importing and exporting organic products across the Canada border. Please see the Message to OTCO Certified Clients regarding the updated Equivalency Arrangement. 
To reinforce a few key points that all OTCO operators need to be aware of:

  • All shipments of organic products crossing the Canadian border in either direction need to be accompanied by documentation which includes the statement;
    “Certified in compliance with the terms of the US-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement”.
  • All Crop, Livestock and Processed products crossing the Canadian border in either direction need to be in compliance with the Equivalency Arrangement
  • OTCO certified clients whose products are crossing the Canada border need to verify that their products are in compliance with the Equivalency Arrangement.  You may have received requests from your buyers requiring documentation that your products are in compliance.   

Please contact the OTCO Office to begin the process of listing your products as compliant to the terms of the US-Canada Equivalency Arrangement.  OTCO will automatically evaluate all crop products for compliance but will only review livestock and processed products that have been requested.

Conditions of the US-Canada Equivalency Arrangement are outlined in the equivalency letters and listed below:

  • US agricultural products produced with the use of sodium nitrate cannot be sold or marketed as organic in Canada.
  • US agricultural products produced by hydroponic or aeroponic production methods cannot be sold or marketed as organic in Canada.
  • US agricultural products derived from animals must be produced according to livestock stocking rates as set out in the Canadian Standard.
  • Canadian agricultural products produced from animals treated with antibiotics will not be allowed to be sold as organic in the US.

EU-Canada Equivalence Arrangement

On 5 July 2011 the European Commission and the Canadian Organic Office announced a bilateral Equivalency Arrangement.  The Arrangement allows full access to the Canadian Market by EU Member State producers however it limits access to the EU market to products grown in Canada.

Highlights of the Arrangement

  • No further verification is required for COR organic exports to the EU or for EU organic imports into Canada
  • The Arrangement applies to; live or unprocessed agricultural products and vegetative propagating material, seeds for cultivation, processed agricultural products for use as food and feed.
  • Products exported to the EU must be 100% Canada grown.
  • Products exported to Canada can be produced with COR and EU certified ingredients from anywhere in the world but must be "final processed/labeled" in the EU and must ship from an EU port.
  • Product Labels must be compliant with the country in which they are being sold.
       - Either or Both the COR and EU logos will be allowed.
  • Each export and import shipment must be accompanied by a Certificate of Import issued by OTCO.

Choose the correct certification for you:

OTCO operators in Canada:

You need to be COR Certified (you do not need additional EU certification) if you;

  • Are located in Canada and export products to the EU that are 100% grown in Canada.
  • Are located in Canada and sell to an NOP certified Operator in the US who exports directly to the EU.

You need to be COR and EU Certified (you will need both certifications) if you;

  • Are located in Canada and export products to the EU that are NOT 100% grown in Canada.
  • Supply product to EU certified operators in foreign Countries (Besides the US and EU)

EU Regulation 590/2011

OTCO Accreditation

Oregon Tilth's Canada certification program is approved by International Organic Accreditation Services (IOAS).

Certification to the Canada Organic Regime: For Operators in Canada

In 2011 the Canada Organic Office determined that Canada Operators are required to become certified to the Canada Organic Regulation and that they, and their certifiers, cannot reference the NOP on the certificates and application documents. OTCO has revised its application documents in response to this mandate.

Canada Operators, please be sure that you are using the applications (Farm | Processing/Handling) that are currently on our website. We cannot accept old versions.

Once certified you will have access to the US market under the US-Canada Equivalency Arrangement and to the EU market under the EU-Canada Equivalency Arrangement.

Operations within the US who ship products to Canada are able to do so under the US-Canada Equivalency Arrangement. 

For more information regarding anything on this page please contact Jim Pierce, Global Certification Program Director.


Canada Organic Products Regulation
Canada General Principles and Management Standards
Canada Permitted Substance List
CFIA Accreditation Notice (pdf)
NOP's US-Canada Equivalency web page
Canada's US-Canada Equivalency web page
Canada Organic Office Operating Manual
Canada Organic System Plans and Forms: 
Farm/Livestock | Processing/Handling



Links and Resources specific to Canada Organic Product Regulation

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
The website for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency:  information and help documents for Organic Products in Canada and the Organic Regime.
Organic Federation of Canada
A field to fork support site for Canada Organic.  A good source for news.
Canada Organic Trade Association
OTA plays an integral role in commenting and development of the Canada Organic Products Regulation.
Canada Organic Regime (COR) Labeling and Regulations Guide (PDF)  Labeling and regulations guide for COR operators
Food Labeling for Industry
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency tool to help producers, manufacturers and retailers improve compliance with federal food labeling regulations.
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