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Policy Development

Since its inception in the 1970's Canadian Organic Growers has played an active role in ensuring that Canadian policies support the adoption of organic farming as a social good. Here are some interesting snapshots of the organic sector's path to the current Organic Products Regulations and the Canadian Organic Standards. COG has been an important part of this history.


1953    Christopher Chapman, a Canadian filmmaker produced the  documentaries, Understanding the Living Soil and A Sense of Humus (available in the COG library)

1962   publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (available in the COG library)

1972   International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements founded

1975   COG founded by teenaged Peter McQueen

1988   COG hosts An Organic Food System for Canada conference to develop definition for "organic" and the first organic certification programs emerge

1989   First definition of "organic" published in the Food Labelling Guidelines of Consumer and Corporate Affairs

1990   Canadian Organic Unity project meetings held

1992   Proposals to develop organic standards submitted to Agriculture Canada

1993   Canadian Organic Advisory Board (COAB) established

1996   COG presentation on biotechnology to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development

1996   COAB proposed a voluntary system of standards and accreditation

1999   The Canadian General Standards Board publishes the first national organic standards

2000   COG presents a Policy on Needs of the Organic Sector in Canada to the federal and provincial ministries of Agriculture

2002   COG collaborates with other organizations to develop a national strategic plan for the organic sector that sets policy objectives and targets

2003   The Organic Regulatory Committee is established to replace COAB and begin work on a new national organic regulation

2004   COG appears before the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry to push for a national regulation for organic

2004   Federal government begins national consultation process on new national regulations

2006   The first Organic Products Regulations are published with a coming into force date of December 2008

2007   The Organic Federation of Canada is established to replace the Organic Regulatory Committee

2007   Organic Value Chain Round Table established by the federal government and composed of representatives from across the country and organic value chain to resolve issues affecting the growth of the organic sector

2007   COG receives funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to revise the Canadian Organic Standards to prepare for the new regulations

2008   Organic Products Regulations are amended to come into force on June 30th, 2009

2009   Organic Products Regulations come into force on June 30th

2009  Canada signs organic standards equivalency deal with the United States 

To learn more about the Canadian Organic Standards and the Organic Products Regulations, click here