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Amending the Standards

Amending the COS


The Canadian Organic Standards (COS) are periodically amended through the Canadian General Standards Board process. Changes are made to make the standards easier to understand, to keep up with changing consumer preferences and to add new substances that are compatible with organic production.


Changes can be proposed by stakeholders and by members of the public. If you have a proposed change and can justify the change with a scientific rationale, you are welcome to propose an amendment. To propose an amendment, you must complete the appropriate form on the CGSB website. Once you've completed the form, it will be forwarded to the appropriate committee within the CGSB Technical Committee on Organic Agriculture for consideration. Be aware that the process of changing the standards can be lengthy since ballots take place only once a year and there is still a long list of work list items.


The Balloting Process


Proposed amendments to the standards are provided to the voting members of the CGSB’s Technical Committee on Organic Agriculture, which is responsible for approving the technical elements of the standard. Forty of the members of the Committee, which includes technical experts representing user, producer, general interest, and regulatory groups, are voting and the others are information members. A list of the members is available here (PDF).

Approval of the amendments is be achieved by consensus. “Consensus” refers to the substantial agreement reached by voting members but does not necessarily imply unanimity. The consensus process includes an effort to resolve all objections. Formal committee approval of the amendments requires that more than 50% (simple majority) of the members who are eligible to vote cast affirmative votes, and 2/3 of the votes cast are affirmative.

Each ballot evolves by the same process. First a meeting is held to establish the proposed amendments to the standards including the suggestions from the Committee’s Working Groups. Next, the voting members vote using the Ballot Form. The results of the Ballot are released in a Ballot Summary Letter. Once Amendments are approved, they are sent to the SCC for review. Three ballots have taken place since the adoption of the 2006 standard.

Ballot 1

Ballot 2


Ballot 3

Ballot 4

Other Ballot Information


Ballot 5