International Trade Policies: Canada

The United States (U.S.) has an equivalence arrangement with Canada. This means that as long as the terms of the arrangement are met, organic operations certified to the USDA organic or Canada Organic Regime standards may be labeled and sold as organic in both countries. Equivalency FAQs (pdf)

Organic Standards

 
Scope. The equivalence arrangement includes all USDA organic products, whether they are produced and certified in the U.S. or around the world. USDA-authorized certifying agents may not certify Canada-based operations to USDA organic standards.

Certifying Agents Accredited by:

 
Production requirements. In order to be sold, labeled, or represented as organic in Canada, USDA organic products must meet the following additional requirements (view memo) (pdf):
  • Agricultural products produced with the use of sodium nitrate shall not be sold or marketed as organic in Canada.

  • Agricultural products produced by hydroponic or aeroponic production methods shall not be sold or marketed as organic in Canada.

  • Agricultural products derived from animals (with the exception of ruminants) must be produced according to livestock stocking rates as set out in CAN /CGSB32.310-2006.

Documentation. Written documentation is required to verify that additional production requirements listed above have been met. These attestations can be made by either the operation or the certifying agent. All products that are produced under the terms of the arrangement must be accompanied by documentation stating the following:
 
“Certified in compliance with the terms of the US-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement”.
 
Labeling requirements. For retail products, labels or stickers must state the name of the U.S. or Canadian certifying agent and may use the USDA Organic seal or the Canada Organic Biologique logo. All product labels must be in English and French. Wholesale products only require lot numbers. Please review the Canadian labeling requirements provided below.

Labeling Requirements:

 
Technical Working Group. The members of this group work towards consensus on the evolving details of the arrangement, making recommendations to the steering committee. This work includes identifying any variances between the two standards that would require attestations.
Membership: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canada Organic Office, and USDA National Organic Program (NOP).
 
Steering Committee. The members of this committee make the final decisions on the terms of the equivalency arrangement.  Membership: Office of the United States Trade Representative, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
 
Peer Reviews. Since the establishment of the U.S.- Canada Equivalency Arrangement in June 2009, the NOP and Canada Organic Office have conducted mutual peer reviews. These assessments verify that both markets are meeting the terms of the arrangement.

NOP Assessment of Canada Organic Office

Canada Organic Office Assessment of NOP

Historical Documents

Equivalency Amendment: Letter to U.S. (pdf)
Equivalency Arrangement: Letter to: Canada (pdf) | U.S. (pdf)
Equivalency announcement: Press Release

Contact Information

Canada Organic Office