Over half (67%) of millennial consumers say they love ordering healthy options when they go out to eat, and the sale of organic products has risen steadily in recent years, both in the U.S. and Canada. Americans are familiar with the USDA organic certification program, which ensures that organic foods are properly grown, handled and processed; the regulations are strict and unyielding, although not as severe and difficult to maintain as cleanroom standards (for example, ISO 1 cleanrooms restrict the size of particles in the air to extremes). Organic certification falls under a different name in Canada, but the strict adherence to these regulations are the same.
Due to its popularity and success, the Canadian organic industry is received some additional support from the federal government. The Government of Canada provided the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) with the funds necessary to cover costs associated with the 2020 Canadian Organic standards review; the review is performed every five years as part of an assurance program, ensuring that production methodologies reflect current practices and technological advancements being used by the organic industry.
“Canadian organic farmers and food processors are producing a quality product that consumers in Canada and around the world demand,” said the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Our government is pleased to work closely with this important sector so that together we can help reach our government’s goal of $75 billion in exports by 2025, while supporting well-paying middle-class jobs. Finding a solution to updating the Canadian Organic Standards is a key part of that since they ensure our organics are recognized internationally for their quality.”
CGSB isn’t the only organization that got a little extra love from the Canadian government. The Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) — an organization whose members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers, and all other points along the organic value chain — received an additional $95,114 through the AgriMarketing Program for their international market development strategy. Approximately 90% of all consumer products and foodstuffs were shipped by truck throughout Canada, so COTA plays a major role in the supply chain of organic goods.
More recently, they voiced their support of the newly developed Food Policy For Canada, which strives to “roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system for Canada.”
COTA is uniquely focused on ensuring that the Food Policy encourages a food system that offers nutritious, affordable, culturally appropriate, and accessible options.
“Food systems in Canada should have the ambition of bringing healthy, nutritious food to all Canadians, especially to individuals that are food insecure,” said Tia Loftsgard, executive director of COTA. “The organic sector is pleased to see this systems approach being adopted by the Government of Canada. This approach prioritizes sustainability, public transparency, food fraud, and an emphasis on local food production. COTA is looking forward to the further development of the governance process and the execution of programs for the Food Policy for Canada.”