Revision of the Canadian organic standard

Revision of the Canadian organic standard

July 18, 2019

Since late summer 2018, the organic farming sector has been bustling with activities to review the entire set of requirements for certifying organic products in Canada.

The Canadian Organic Standard must be revised every five years. This revision is mandatory and helps ensure that our standard is always up to date and free of any errors that may have slipped in when the document was drafted (a change may be simple, like adding a comma, or more complex, such as adding a permitted substance for washing equipment). All these change requests are assessed one by one.

The maple sector is a part of this process!

More than 1,000 maple syrup companies have had their harvest certified in 2019. With more than 40% of its production certified, maple syrup is one of the most important organic agricultural products in Canada. Nearly 30 change requests were assessed during the process.

Ongoing public consultation

A public consultation is underway to gather comments on the proposed changes.

Two versions of the Standard are available:

  • A 2015 version of the Standard currently in force, with suggested deletions crossed out and additions underlined to make it easier to see the proposed changes. View this version.
  • A “clean” version of the Standard where all changes have been accepted.

Maple syrup producers are encouraged to take part in the consultation

Whether you support the proposed amendments or have additional information to provide, you are invited to comment during the public review of the Canadian Organic Standard. The deadline for submitting comments is September 30, 2019, using the online form. The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) is responsible for collecting comments from this consultation.

Changes related to maple syrup production

Section 7.2 deals specifically with maple syrup production. The proposed changes include the following:

  • The addition of substances permitted for storing osmosis membranes, washing evaporators in-season, washing equipment off-season, and maintaining equipment
  • The prohibition of closed-circuit recirculation of water or maple concentrate
  • The prohibition of air injection systems, both in water and in maple concentrate and syrup, as well as in evaporators
  • Certain clarifications to facilitate reading and interpretation of the requirements

Next steps

At the end of the public review, each comment will be read and processed by the CGSB. If a comment and its justification repeat what has already been discussed during revision, no action will be taken. If a new and convincing point is raised, however, it will be submitted for review by the maple working group responsible for Section 7.2 of the Standard.

The final version of the Standard is expected to be published by November 2020. Companies still have one year to comply with any new requirements. That means any modifications adopted will be implemented by maple syrup companies in spring 2021 or spring 2022.