Supporting the Growth of Canada’s Organic Sector

News Release

January 26, 2018 – Guelph, Ontario - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Canadian organic industry is one of Canada’s fastest growing agricultural sectors, thanks to Canada’s hardworking organic farmers and food processors who are respected around the world for supplying nutritious, sustainable, and high-quality organic products. With more than $5.4 billion in retail sales in 2017, growing the Canadian organic sector will contribute to our government’s ambitious goal of reaching $75 billion in annual agri-food exports by 2025.

Speaking today at the Guelph Organic Conference and Tradeshow, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced the Government of Canada is providing the essential support to update the Canadian Organic Standards.

The Government of Canada will provide the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) the necessary funds to cover costs associated with the 2020 Canadian Organic Standards review. The review is done every five years to ensure production methodologies reflect current practices and technological advancements being employed by the organic industry.

Recognized product standards are a key factor in the facilitation of international trade and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials will continue working with the sector to further support its sustainability and growth.

Minister MacAulay also announced $72,500 for the Canadian Organic Growers for the development of a user friendly guide to the Canadian Organic Standards. This guide will provide organic producers, processors, handlers and manufacturers in Canada as well as those wishing to enter it, a clear understanding of what is required to become a certified organic producer in Canada.

As well, the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) has received an additional $95,114 through the AgriMarketing Program, towards their international market development strategy. This investment will enable Canada Organic Trade Association to attend international conferences and trade shows and lead outgoing missions to raise awareness of Canadian organic products in key markets in Europe, United States, Asia and Latin America.


“Canadian organic farmers and food processors are producing a quality product that consumers in Canada and around the world demand. Our government is pleased to work closely with this important sector, so that together we can help reach our government’s goal of $75 billion in exports by 2025, while supporting well-paying middle class jobs. Finding a solution to updating the Canadian Organic Standards is a key part of that, since they ensure our organics are recognized internationally for their quality.”

- The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“The Canadian Organic Standards are the backbone of our entire organic industry.  They define ecological agricultural practices that target productivity, profitability, the protection of our environment, and the humane treatment of livestock. Canadian Organic Growers are pleased to see the Government of Canada funding the Canadian Organic Standards, which will ensure continued consumer confidence alongside the long-term success of the Canadian Organic industry.”

- Ashley St Hilaire, Director of Programs and Government Relations, Canadian Organic Growers

“Being the lead manager of the review of the Canadian Organic Standards, the Organic Federation of Canada certainly welcomes the support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada that will allow the sector to pursue the expansion of organic production in Canada in compliance with updated production standards. Our country offers optimal conditions for organic production, and our updated standards will stimulate local consumption as well as Canadian exports of organic products.”

- Nicole Boudreau, Coordinator, Organic Federation of Canada

“Canada Organic Trade Association is pleased the Government of Canada is funding the Canadian Organic Standards. As Canada presently holds a leadership position on organics on the world stage, the export opportunities for organic were at risk if the funding had not come through. We are pleased to work in partnership with the Canadian government to continue to grow the domestic and export opportunities for the Canadian organic industry and meet increasing consumer demand for organic products."

- Tia Loftsgard, Executive Director, Canada Organic Trade Association

Quick Facts

  • Leading up to this announcement, AAFC facilitated discussions with the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) to streamline the process of updating the standards and have reduced the cost to $250,000.

  • Over the next three years, the Government of Canada will provide up to $250,000 to the Canadian General Standards Board to cover costs associated with the 2020 Canadian Organic Standards review.

  • Annual retail sales of certified organic products in Canada are approximately $5.4 billion.

  • The $72,500 for the Canadian Organic Growers for the development of a user friendly guide to the Canadian Organic Standards comes through the Growing Forward 2 AgriMarketing Program.

  • Approximately 4,289 certified organic and transitional producers are working on over 930  thousand hectares of land in Canada (Source: 2016 Census of Agriculture)

  • Since October 2015, our Government has invested nearly $20 million in support of the organic sector, focusing on:

    - facilitating adoption of innovative organic technologies,
    - helping organic farmers and processors take advantage of market opportunities,
    - funding youth jobs in the organic sector; and,
    - conducting organic research activities.

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada’s Canadian General Standards Board is a federal government organization that offers client-centered, comprehensive standards development and conformity assessment services in support of the economic, regulatory, procurement, health, safety and environmental interests of government, industry and consumers.

  • In July 2017, federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers of agriculture reached agreement in principle on the key elements of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3-billion investment that will set a solid foundation for the future of Canada’s farmers and food processors, and continue to help them grow, innovate and prosper. The Partnership is set to launch on April 1, 2018.

Associated Links


Guy Gallant
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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