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GREENFIELD, Mass. -- The Organic Trade Association (OTA) here hailed the pre-publication of Canada's organic regulation in the Canada Gazette (Vol. 140, No. 35, Sept. 2, 2006) as a major milestone toward putting a national organic regulatory system in place.
"The Canadian organic community has been seeking mandatory national organic standards that will ease the way for trade of organic products both within Canada and with other countries," said Caren Wilcox, OTA's executive director.
This pre-publication marks the beginning 75-day comment period for international and domestic stakeholders. The government will review the comments and make any necessary revisions prior to final publication and enactment.
Although Canada has had an organic standard since 1999, it has not been codified into law. Certification of organic producers and handlers as well as accreditation of certifiers have been voluntary except in the province of Quebec, which requires certification to the Quebec organic standards by certifying bodies accredited by the Conseil des appellations agroalimentaries du Quebec (CAAQ).
A national regulation will pave the way for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to secure equivalency agreements with other countries, thus facilitating markets for Canadian-produced organic products. When the regulation is finalized, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will establish a Canada Organic Office.
OTA has played a central role on the Organic Regulatory Committee (ORC), which helped shape the proposed regulation. ORC is the ad-hoc group mandated by the organic sector to work with CFIA to develop and implement the organic regulation.
OTA recently established OTA Canada as an operating division of the trade association. Members of the first OTA Canada Advisory Committee include Debra Boyle (SunOpta, Inc.), Rachel Swenson (Farmer Direct Co-Operative Ltd.), Nancy Ciancibello (Plen Organics, Inc.), Kelly A. Monaghan (Ash Street Enterprises), Billy Potash (Cawston Cold Storage Ltd./Nature's First Fruit), Donna Youngdahl (Canadian Wheat Board), and Hermann Grauer (Nature's Farm), with Helene Bouvier (Minnewashta Valley Organics Canada), OTA's Vice-President Canada, as chair.
For further information, visit OTA's web site at www.ota.com.