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Notice to the Canadian organic industry regarding implementation of the Canada Organic Regime during COVID-19 situation

March 24, 2020

In the context of current COVID-19 situation, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is working with organic stakeholders and the regulated parties to provide maximum possible flexibility in the implementation of the Canada Organic Regime (COR).

The CFIA uses third party oversight system for implementation of COR which includes Conformity Verification Bodies(CVBs) and CFIA accredited Certification Bodies (CBs).

In the light of the COVID-19 situation, the CFIA will postpone all planned audits of CVBs under the COR until the restrictions on non-essential travel are over.

The CFIA in collaboration with the CVBs, has developed criteria for remote audits of the CBs to provide flexibility and reduce the need for onsite audits by the CVBs. The CFIA will support CVBs taking appropriate measures and adjusting their surveillance activities.

The CFIA will allow flexibility in CBs inspection frequency for renewal of current organic certification. 

The CFIA accredited CBs are also requested to assess the risks of continuing certification and establish a documented process outlining the steps they intend to take, in case an operator is affected by the COVID-19 and/or on-site inspection is not possible due to travel restrictions.

The CFIA/COR team is monitoring the situation closely and is in direct contact with the stakeholders and regulated parties to ensure that the COR is maintained and maximum flexibility is provided within the CFIA discretion.