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    Organic Trade Association Working to Get OTA Canada Off the Ground

    OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada -- At the request of its Canadian members, the Washington-based Organic Trade Association (OTA) is establishing an OTA Canada division.

    OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada -- At the request of its Canadian members, the Washington-based Organic Trade Association (OTA) is establishing an OTA Canada division.

    "This fulfills a long-term goal of OTA to create a stronger presence in Canada," said Caren Wilcox, OTA's executive director, in a statement. The move comes as Canada is preparing to issue its federal organic standards, which will require much attention from OTA, according to the association.

    Wilcox said OTA has always had members from Canada on its board, and was founded in part by Canadians.

    The new OTA Canada will be an operating division of OTA, with a managing director reporting directly to OTA's executive director and its own advisory committee to set strategic priorities and goals. The election for the first OTA Canada Advisory Committee will take place this month. After the election, OTA, in consultation with the committee, will develop a job description for the OTA Canada managing director and begin strategic planning for the division.

    Nine candidates are seeking six elected seats on the planned eight-member OTA Canada Advisory Committee, according to OTA. All eligible candidates are affiliated with OTA trade member companies based in Canada. The candidates are: Debra Boyle (SunOpta, Inc.), Nancy Ciancibello (Plen Organics, Inc.), Hermann Grauer (Nature's Farm), Kelly Monaghan (Ash Street Enterprises), Michelle Neilson (McLean Meats, Inc.), Billy Potash (Cawston Cold Storage Ltd./Nature's First Fruit), Richard Steele (N2 Ingredients, Inc.), Rachel Swenson (Farmer Direct Co-Operative Ltd.), and Donna Youngdahl (Canadian Wheat Board).

    In addition to the six elected positions, there will be one seat appointed by the elected members and the chair, filled by Hélène Bouvier, currently OTA's v.p. for Canada.

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