Terms of Reference for the Working Group on Organic Equivalence between the National Service for Animal and Plant Health, Food Safety and Quality and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Canada and Mexico signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) recognizing the 2 national organic systems as equivalent. Under this MOU the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and National Service for Animal and Plant Health, Food Safety and Quality (SENASICA) have established a Working Group (WG) to address any issues concerning the activities carried out under this MOU.
The Canada/Mexico WG will be co-chaired by SENASICA and the CFIA and will be comprised of technical experts from CFIA and SENASICA.
If necessary, technical experts from the industry may be invited by agreement of the co-chairs to provide information or clarification on specific issues.
Other relevant trade and regulatory officials from each side may attend the WG meetings as appropriate in view of the agenda and issues to be discussed.
The co-chairs will be responsible for scheduling and conducting meetings in accordance with the Terms of Reference and for preparing the meeting agenda.
The mandate of the WG is to:
- foster technical cooperation between the competent authorities and share best practices related to implementing robust oversight controls
- develop and implement a process to assess the effectiveness of each other's control system to fulfil the requirements of the above mentioned arrangement
- promote best practices in the administration of control systems for organic products
- establish and agree upon the peer review criteria, their cycle and frequency, and the reporting mechanism
- review the functioning of this MOU with a view to proposing any changes, as needed by 2024
- communicate with each other on a regular basis at the technical level to ensure that both programs are aware of changes in program criteria, staffing and other relevant operational changes
The following general principles will govern the WG:
- the WG members have full opportunity to voice their opinions and participate in the discussions
- discussions and decisions should be made acknowledging the range of viewpoints from various stakeholders who could be impacted by decisions taken by the WG
- discussions will take place in the spirit of cooperation and final policy will be approved through consensus
- members are encouraged to discuss and share information on issues that impact both programs
The WG will meet annually, unless they jointly decide otherwise.
The WG participant will work in both English and Spanish. Each side will be responsible for providing their own translation.
Budget and administrative needs
Co-chairs of the WG will be responsible for ensuring that their members look after their own administrative needs (for example, meeting arrangements, document preparation and distribution, records of decision etc.).
Documentation and reporting
- All documentation for the WG meetings, including agendas and decision records will be sent to all members in a timely manner once approved by the co-chairs
- This WG arrangement does not intend to create either rights or obligations under international law
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