Canada-European Union Organic Equivalency Arrangement - Letters exchanged

In June, 2011, the Government of Canada entered into an arrangement on the trade of organic products with the European Union. Below are copies of letters exchanged between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the European Commission.

Letters to the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission.

Date: April 7, 2016

Subject: Amendment of Recognition of Equivalency with European Union

Dear Mr. Canga Fano,

Canada has reviewed the European system for organic production, labelling and control as set out in the Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008, and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 ("European Organic System").

Pursuant to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act and the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has determined, based on that review, that agricultural products, including wine, which are produced and processed in the European Union and which are:

  • certified in conformity with the above-mentioned EU Regulations by an EU control authority or control body approved in accordance with Article 27 of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007; and
  • accompanied by the certificate which is issued by an EU control authority or control body

are deemed equivalent to those products that have been produced and processed in accordance with the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, 2009 (OPR 2009); and may be sold, labelled and represented in Canada as organic, including by display of the Canadian organic logo as well as the EU organic logo as set out in the Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008. This recognition will be effective as of April 7, 2016 under the conditions set forth in Appendix 1.

This letter of recognition replaces the CFIA's previous letter of recognition dated 21 June 2011 on the same subject-matter. The CFIA, which administers the OPR, 2009 is committed to working with the European Commission to carry out what is envisioned in this new letter.

Should the CFIA decide to change its requirements for determining equivalency, it will notify EU in writing in advance.

Sincerely,

Lyzette Lamondin
Acting Executive Director
Food Import Export and Consumer Protection Directorate
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Appendix 1

Conditions for granting equivalency

The recognition of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is subject to the following conditions:

  1. The European Commission notifies the CFIA in a timely manner of any;
    1. changes with respect to EU Member States competent authorities  and registered control bodies;
    2. all proposed legislation or rule making that would modify any element of the European Organic System; and
    3. instances of significant non-compliance with EU's organic certification program. For purposes of this equivalency determination, "significant" means any non-conformity that materially affects the integrity of the organic product that is likely to be exported to Canada.
  2. Following advance notice from the CFIA, the EU allows the CFIA to conduct evaluations (document reviews or on-site peer reviews) to verify how the EU accredited control authorities and control bodies carry out the requirements of EU's organic certification program. The EU cooperates and assists the CFIA, to the extent permitted under domestic law, in carrying out such evaluations.
  3. EU is expected to submit an annual report to the CFIA that will cover the organic activities for the previous year by March 31 of the current year.
  4. The EU participates in discussions or other means deemed appropriate to resolve any issue raised regarding the application of or the activities covered by this recognition.

Original Correspondance to the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission.

Please note: the information in the following letter has been revised. The most current information can be found in the letter dated April 7, 2016.

Dear Mr. Rodriguez:

Canada has reviewed the European system for organic production, labelling and control as set out in Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008, and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 ("European Organic System").

Based on that review, Canada has accepted that, pursuant to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act and the Canada Agricultural Products Act, agricultural products produced and processed in accordance with the European Organic System, are produced and processed under an organic certification system that provides safeguards and guidelines governing the production and processing of such products that are equivalent to the requirements of the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, 2009.

Subject to the conditions as set forth in Appendix 1, agricultural products produced and processed in conformity with the European Organic System will be deemed equivalent to those products produced and processed in accordance with the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, 2009 and Canada's Organic Program and may be sold, labelled or represented in Canada as organic, including by display of the Canadian organic logo as well as the organic logo as set out in Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008.

Canada's competent authority for the Organic Products Regulations, 2009, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, will work with the European Commission to carry out what is envisioned in this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Carole Swan
President
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Ottawa
K1A 0Y9

Appendix 1

1. The European Commission will notify Canada in a timely manner of:

  1. all changes with respect to the competent authority and certifying agents of the European Organic System;
  2. all proposed legislation or rule making that would modify any element of the European Organic System;
  3. all instances of significant non-compliance with its organic certification program. For purposes of this equivalency determination, "significant" means any non-conformity that materially affects the integrity of the organic product, that is likely to be exported to Canada.

Following advance notice from Canada the European Commission will allow Canada to conduct peer reviews to verify that the responsible administrative structures of the European Organic System are carrying out the European Organic System, including through visits to agent facilities, the European Commission, Member State competent authorities, accreditation bodies, and production and processing facilities that agents have certified. The European Commission will cooperate and assist Canada to the extent permitted under applicable law in carrying out such evaluations.

Letter from the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission.

Dear Mrs. Swan,

I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter 21/06/2011 which reads as follows:

"Canada has reviewed the European system for organic production, labelling and control as set out in Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008, and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 ("European Organic System").

Based on that review, Canada has accepted that, pursuant to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act and the Canada Agricultural Products Act, agricultural products produced and processed in accordance with the European Organic System, are produced and processed under an organic certification system that provides safeguards and guidelines governing the production and processing of such products that are equivalent to the requirements of the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, 2009.

Subject to the conditions as set forth in Appendix 1, agricultural products produced and processed in conformity with the European Organic System will be deemed equivalent to those products produced and processed in accordance with the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, 2009 and Canada's Organic Program and may be sold, labelled or represented in Canada as organic, including by display of the Canadian organic logo as well as the organic logo as set out in Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008.

Canada's competent authority for the Organic Products Regulations, 2009, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, will work with the European Commission to carry out what is envisioned in this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Carole Swan
President
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Ottawa
K1A 0Y9

Appendix 1

2. The European Commission will notify Canada in a timely manner of:

  1. all changes with respect to the competent authority and certifying agents of the European Organic System;
  2. all proposed legislation or rule making that would modify any element of the European Organic System;
  3. all instances of significant non-compliance with its organic certification program. For purposes of this equivalency determination, "significant" means any non-conformity that materially affects the integrity of the organic product, that is likely to be exported to Canada.

Following advance notice from Canada the European Commission will allow Canada to conduct peer reviews to verify that the responsible administrative structures of the European Organic System are carrying out the European Organic System, including through visits to agent facilities, the European Commission, Member State competent authorities, accreditation bodies, and production and processing facilities that agents have certified. The European Commission will cooperate and assist Canada to the extent permitted under applicable law in carrying out such evaluations."

I can confirm that the Commission has examined the Canadian request for recognition of the Canadian Organic System in accordance with Article 33(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007.

Based on this review, the Commission has recognised that the Canadian Organic System complies with principles and production rules equivalent to those laid down in Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and that its control measures are of equivalent effectiveness to those laid down in Regulation (EC) No 834/2007.

As a result the Commission has amended Commission Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 and added Canada to the list of recognised third countries in Annex III of that Regulation.

Canada has been informed about the publication in the Official Journal of the relevant Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008.

Your sincerely,

José Manuel Silva Rodriguez

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