This page is intended for educational purposes only. You should always check in with your certifying body if you are unsure or prior to using products or methods that are not listed in the PERMITTED SUBSTANCES LISTS and GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND MANAGEMENT STANDARDS. Updated versions can be found at https://organiccouncil.ca
Organic Certification is tedious work. Congratulations for decided to follow the standards!
First, in no way do we condone Non-Certified ventures. We recognize the importance of conventional crops. Without them, we would not have the selection of food (grains, cereal, crackers, flour and other baking items, dairy, fruit, veggies, meats, and so on). Plus, animals would not have good-quality feed - think about egg chickens, dairy cows, and other meat products. The world would starve. Although I do not have a citing to back that statement up, I believe it to be true. Imagine this, we cut out conventional farmers, and they stop using herbicides, pesticides, and GMO crops, what do you think would happen? These crops have been grown for centuries and we need them. The purpose of these crops is to withstand climate, pests, and disease which increases yields. A bakery owner told me that they disagreed - that the world can become organic. Then ask, why aren't you using certified organic products in your bakery?
Also, conventional farmers deal with the risks of being exposed to chemicals, work long hours, have high rates of mental health struggles, and are underpaid. Just to provide food that is of the best quality and price. Thank you, farmers.
But, we also support the Canadian Organic Standards that are in place in order to label products as Certified Organic. When Non-Certified Farms label their products as Organic, it undermines those that choose to be certified by an organic body as well as those that choose to be honest and use the label non-certified.
Certified bodies are overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. People say organic food is an overpriced scam. It is not a scam, it is truly more expensive. Certified Organic Farms spend more time on keeping accurate records (required for validity and traceability), searching for inputs, and dealing with pests and diseases - often risking crop loss. They pay more for inputs, animal feed, seeds, and other pest management products. Not following the standards risks non-compliance, and worse, loss of certification.
The standards make sure that certified organic products follow specific regulations. Without these regulations, farmers would be free to use whatever inputs, seeds, compost, animal feed, herbicides, and pesticide they wish. The standards also apply regulations to animals including their well-being in which they must have access to sunlight, have room to move around in their pen or cage, and be treated for an illness. It should be noted that when an animal contracts an illness, the farmer MUST treat the animal (untreated is inhumane and against the standards - that's a good thing!) and they must remove the animal from Organic Certification. Yes, this is a risk and a loss. Certification also requires potable water (irrigation, well water), a certain distance from conventional, proper composting, and rules for food processing which promotes food safety standards.
The reasons noncertified undermine the certification can go on forever. I will stop here.
The Canadian Organic Standards protect the consumers with validity and trust that the product is in fact, Organically Certified. Below are the updated substances list, and management principles.
Have fun! Melanie :)
PERMITTED SUBSTANCE LIST (CAN/CGSB-32.311-2020 Corrigendum No.1, March 2021 )
GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND MANAGEMENT STANDARDS (CAN/CGSB-32.310-2020 Corrigendum No.1, March 2021)
Transitioning land to Organic Certification
In order to transition land it must follow the standards for 3 years by following requirements in the GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND MANAGEMENT STANDARDS.
See OMAFRA facts to transition land. For more information on this process.