ARCHIVED - Canada/US Equivalency Determination or Import/Export Agreements

This page has been archived

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or record-keeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

On June 17, 2009, the Government of Canada entered into an agreement on the trade of organic products with the United States. Below are copies of letters exchanged between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and United States Department of Agriculture.

Letter to the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Services National Organic Program

January 20, 2012

Dear Mr. McEvoy

In 2009, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reviewed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s organic certification program as set out in the United States Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and National Organic Program Regulations.

Based on that review, as communicated in a letter from Karen McIntyre to Barbara C. Robinson on June 17th, 2009, the CFIA had determined, pursuant to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act and the Canada Agricultural Products Act that agricultural products produced and processed in accordance with the United States Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and National Organic Program Regulations as in effect on June 30, 2009, are produced and processed under an organic certification program that provides safeguards and guidelines governing the production and processing of such products that are at least equivalent to the requirements of the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, 2009 (OPR 2009).

This communication reaffirms the continued recognition of equivalence and revises the Appendix 1 setting out exceptions as follows: Removing ruminants from the animals which must be produced according to the Livestock Stocking Rates as set out in CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006.

Accordingly, except as provided in Appendix 1 (June 17th, 2009 version has been modified and replaced by Appendix 1 of January 20th, 2012), and subject to the conditions set forth in Appendix 2, agricultural products produced and processed in conformity with the United States Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and National Organic Program Regulations as in effect on June 30, 2009 shall be deemed to have been produced and processed in accordance with the OPR 2009 and Canada's Organic Program and may be sold, labeled or represented in Canada as organic, including by display of the Canadian organic logo as well as the USDA organic seal. This new determination has come into effect January 20th, 2012.

The CFIA's Canada Organic Office (COO), which administers the OPR 2009, is committed to working with the USDA to carry out the terms of this letter.

Sincerely,

Daniel Miller
Executive Director
Labelling And Claims Directorate
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Appendix 1

  1. Agricultural products produced with the use of sodium nitrate shall not be sold or marketed as organic in Canada.
  2. Agricultural products produced by hydroponic or aeroponic production methods shall not be sold or marketed as organic in Canada
  3. Agricultural products derived from animals (with the exception of ruminants) must be produced according to livestock stocking rates as set out in CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006 (amended October 2008).

Appendix 2

The CFIA grants this equivalency determination under the following conditions:

  1. The USDA will notify the CFIA in a timely manner of any:
    • changes with respect to the USDA's competent authority and certifying agents;
    • proposed legislation or rulemaking that would modify the United States Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and National Organic Program Regulations;
    • 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 agricultural product.
  2. Following advance notice from the CFIA, the USDA shall permit the CFIA to conduct on-site evaluations to verify that the USDA's certifying agents are carrying out the requirements of the United State's organic certification program, including through visits to agent facilities and to production facilities and farms that agents have certified. The USDA shall cooperate and assist the CFIA, to the extent permitted under domestic law, in carrying out such evaluations.

Original Correspondance with the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Services National Organic Program

Please note: the information in the following letter has been revised. The most current information can be found in the letter dated January 12, 2012.

June 17, 2009

Dear Ms. Robinson

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has reviewed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s organic certification program as set out in the United States Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and National Organic Program Regulations.

Based on that review, I have determined, pursuant to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act and the Canada Agricultural Products Act that agricultural products produced and processed in accordance with the United States Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and National Organic Program Regulations as in effect on June 30, 2009, are produced and processed under an organic certification program that provides safeguards and guidelines governing the production and processing of such products that are at least equivalent to the requirements of the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, 2009 (OPR 2009).

Accordingly, except as provided in Appendix 1, and subject to the conditions set forth in Appendix 2, agricultural products produced and processed in conformity with the United States Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and National Organic Program Regulations as in effect on June 30, 2009 shall be deemed to have been produced and processed in accordance with the OPR 2009 and Canada's Organic Program and may be sold, labeled or represented in Canada as organic, including by display of the Canadian organic logo as well as the USDA organic seal.

The CFIA's Canada Organic Office (COO), which administers the OPR 2009, is committed to working with the USDA to carry out the terms of this letter.

Sincerely,

Karen McIntyre
Executive Director
Agrifood, Meat, Seafood Safety Directorate
1400 Merivale Road T1-4-239
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0Y9

Appendix 1

  1. Agricultural products produced with the use of sodium nitrate shall not be sold or marketed as organic in Canada.
  2. Agricultural products produced by hydroponic or aeroponic production methods shall not be sold or marketed as organic in Canada.
  3. Agricultural products derived from animals must be produced according to livestock stocking rates as set out in CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006 (amended October 2008).

Appendix 2

The CFIA grants this equivalency determination under the following conditions:

  1. The USDA will notify the CFIA in a timely manner of any:
    • changes with respect to the USDA's competent authority and certifying agents;
    • proposed legislation or rulemaking that would modify the United States Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and National Organic Program Regulations;
    • 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 agricultural product.
  2. Following advance notice from the CFIA, the USDA shall permit the CFIA to conduct on-site evaluations to verify that the USDA's certifying agents are carrying out the requirements of the United State's organic certification program, including through visits to agent facilities and to production facilities and farms that agents have certified. The USDA shall cooperate and assist the CFIA, to the extent permitted under domestic law, in carrying out such evaluations.

Letter from the the United States Department of Agriculture's Agrcultural Marketing Services National Organic Program.

Dear Ms. McIntyre,

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reviewed Canada's organic certification program as set out in the Canada Organic Regime.

Based on that review, I have determined pursuant to the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) (7 U.S.C. Section 6501 et seq.) under authority delegated to me that agricultural products produced and handled in Canada in accordance with the Canada Organic Production Regulations (COPR), as in effect on June 30, 2009 are produced and handled under an organic certification program that provides safeguards and guidelines governing the production and handling of such products that are at least equivalent to the requirements of OFPA.

Accordingly, except as provided in Appendix 1, and subject to the conditions set forth in Appendix 2, agricultural products produced and handled in Canada in conformity with the COPR, as in effect on June 30, 2009 shall be deemed to have been produced and handled in accordance with the OFPA and USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) and may be sold, labeled or represented in the United States as organically produced, including by display of the USDA organic seal as well as the Canadian organic seal.

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which administers the NOP, is committed to working with the CFIA to carry out the terms of this letter.

Sincerely,

Barbara C. Robinson, Ph.D.
Deputy Administrator
Transportation & Marketing Programs

Appendix 1

  1. Agricultural products derived from animals treated with antibiotics shall not be marketed as organic in the United States.

Appendix 2

USDA grants this equivalency determination under the following conditions:

  1. The CFIA will notify the USDA in a timely manner of any:
    • changes with respect to the CFIA's competent authority and certifying agents;
    • proposed legislation or rulemaking that would modify any of Canada's laws or regulations referred to in paragraph 1;
    • 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 agricultural product.
  2. Following advance notice from USDA, the CFIA shall permit USDA to conduct on-site evaluations in Canada to verify that the CFIA's certifying agents are carrying out the requirements of Canada's organic certification program, including through visits to agent facilities and to production facilities and farms that agents have certified. The CFIA shall cooperate and assist USDA, to the extent permitted under domestic law, in carrying out such evaluations.
Date modified: