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Notice to the Canadian organic industry regarding the implementation of revised Canadian Organic Agriculture Standards

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements may apply in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

To: All regulated parties

Date: December 11, 2020

This notice provides clarification on the implementation of revised Canadian Organic Agriculture Standards published on December 11, 2020.

This update included:

As per ISO 17065, when a certification scheme introduces new or revised requirements that affect the client, the Certification Body (CB) shall ensure these changes are communicated to all clients. The CB shall verify the implementation of the changes by its clients and shall take actions required by the scheme. As per section C.5.1 of the Canada Organic Regime (COR) Operating Manual, the CB is required to notify all of its operators of any amendments to the regulations or standards within 2 months after publication.

Under Part 13 of the Safe Food For Canadians Regulations (SFCR) all new and returning applicants for certification must meet the most recent versions of the standards. As per section C.5.2 of the COR Operating Manual, a period of up to 12 months can be allowed to previously certified operators to come into compliance with any changes to the Canadian Organic Standards.

Some of the revisions in the standards may require more than 12 months to implement. When applicable, any period longer than 12 months is specified within the standards.

Conformity Verification Bodies responsibilities

Starting April 1, 2021 Conformity Verification Bodies (CVBs) designated by the CFIA are to assess CFIA-accredited CBs during on-site, witness and verification audits to confirm they are trained and ready to certify organic products to the updated standards.

CB responsibilities:

Operators of organic products responsibilities:

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