Canadian Organic Standards

Canada’s organic agriculture system is governed by the Organic Products Regulations and products that use the Canada Organic logo must adhere to the Canadian Organic Standards. Only foods with an organic content of 95 per cent or more are allowed to be labelled as organic or to carry this logo.



Canada’s Organic Standards are based on seven general principles:

  • Protect the environment, minimize soil degradation and erosion, decrease pollution, optimize biological productivity and promote a sound state of health.
  • Maintain long-term soil fertility by optimizing conditions for biological activity within the soil.
  • Maintain biological diversity within the system.
  • Recycle materials and resources to the greatest extent possible within the enterprise.
  • Provide attentive care that promotes the health and meets the behavioural needs of livestock.
  • Prepare organic products, emphasizing careful processing, and handling methods in order to maintain the organic integrity and vital qualities of the products at all stages of production
  • Rely on renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems.

These standards lay out the specific requirements of organic production, including:

  • how livestock must be housed, fed, transported and slaughtered;
  • how specific crops and produce are to be grown, extracted, processed and stored;
  • how pests and diseases are to be treated; 
  • which substances, methods and ingredients may not be used;
  • what environmental factors must be taken into consideration. 

The Canadian Organic Standards require producers to utilize management methods designed to restore and sustain ecological stability on their farming facilities and surrounding environment. Organic farmers maintain and enhance soil fertility and conserve soil resources by promoting optimal biological activity within the soil. This includes increasing soil humus levels, which promote an optimum balance and supply of nutrients for crops, and careful selection and rotation of crops. Selecting and rotating certain crops helps farmers to manage nutrient cycling of the soil; recycle plant and animal residues; water management; encourage the habitation of beneficial insects to balance predator–prey relationships; promote biological diversity; and ecologically-based pest management.

Calf in pasture

Livestock raised on organic farms are provided with living conditions appropriate to their behavioural requirements to minimize stress, promote good health and prevent disease. In order to be certified organic, livestock must also only receive organically produced feed.

For more information about the Organic Products Regulations, click here.

Interested in learning more about organic food and agriculture? Find more information here