Skip to Content

Organic Certification

Fiche - Certification biologique

Organic certification guarantees that any product sold in Quebec labelled “organic” was produced in accordance with Quebec’s organic agriculture standards, which are governed by the Conseil des appellations réservées et des termes valorisants (CARTV). An organic-certified product stands apart from a regular product by its production techniques, which are greener and more human health friendly. For example, use of synthetic inputs (pesticides and fertilizers) or genetically modified seeds is prohibited.

WHO CERTIFIES THAT A PRODUCT IS ORGANIC?

In Quebec, the certification “organic” is reserved for use and managed by the Conseil des appellations réservées et des termes valorisants (CARTV), the province’s sole authority for certifying a product to be organic. CARTV is responsible for managing and protecting the Quebec certification process for agricultural and food products.

CARTV has accredited six certification bodies charged with awarding certifications in Quebec:

  • Ecocert Canada
  • Québec Vrai
  • Pro-Cert
  • QAI International
  • Letis S.A.
  • TCO Cert

In the rest of Canada, this list also contains 11 additional bodies. All of these Canada-wide certification bodies are accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and meet the criteria established by CARTV.

 

For any agricultural producer wishing to obtain organic certification, there are three steps to take: the lead-up to pre-certification, pre-certification and certification.

Are imported organic products certified according to the foreign country’s criteria or Canada’s?

Canada and the CFIA have equivalency arrangements with the following countries: Costa Rica, the United States, Japan, Switzerland and the European Union. This means that after assessing and comparing these countries’ regulatory certification systems, Canada has recognized them to be consistent with our standards.

This does not mean that we do not recognize the organic certification systems of other countries; in fact, you can find the list of all CFIA-recognized organic certification bodies here.

To sum up, while certification methods and regulations vary from country to country, all imported products sold in Canada as “organic” meet CFIA and CARTV standards.

 

What is the necessary percentage of ingredients for a product to be certified organic?


There are three categories of products:

Products 95% organic or higher: These products qualify for full organic certification (i.e. their label can state that they are certified organic and can include a certification logo). If they are not fully organic, the list of ingredients must indicate which ingredients are not organic.

Products 70-95% organic: These products qualify for organic certification and an organic certification logo, but the label must clearly state “contains XX% of organic-certified ingredients," and the list of ingredients must specify which ingredients are organic and which are not.

Products under 70% organic: These products may not be called organic and their label may not include an organic certification logo. However, the list of ingredients may indicate which ingredients are organic. (For further information, see page 19 of this document)

To recap: in Quebec, the logo of one of the six certification bodies mentioned above guarantees that the product contains a minimum of 70% organic ingredients.
 

RECOGNIZING A PRODUCT THAT HAS OBTAINED ORGANIC CERTIFICATION

Only products that have obtained organic certification may be labelled as follows: “organic”; “biodynamic”; or any other term that might lead the customer to think that the item is the product of an organic production mode.

Here are some logos that often appear on organic products:

The “Canada Organic” logo is affixed to products certified by CFIA-accredited certification bodies.

 

The logos “Aliments bio du Québec” and “Aliments bio préparés au Québec” are affixed to products certified organic by CARTV-accredited certification bodies. These logos also guarantee that most of the product ingredients were produced or processed in Quebec.

 

The “Bio Québec” logo guarantees that the product was certified organic by one of the CARTV-accredited certification bodies, and that all of the company’s production or preparation activities were carried out in Quebec.

 

The “Ecocert” logo is used for products certified organic by Ecocert Canada (which is accredited by CARTV and l’ACIA).

 

The “USDA Organic” label may be used on all certified products containing at least 95% organic ingredients under the terms of the Canada/US equivalency arrangements.

 

The “Euroleaf logo” may be used on all certified products containing at least 95% organic ingredients under the terms of the Canada/EU equivalency arrangements.

   

For more information:

Extenso : Le Centre de référence dur la nutrition de l'Université de Montréal

Ecocert : Guide d’étiquetage pour les entreprises biologiques du Canada certifiées
sous le Régime Bio Canada (COR)

CARTV

Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation (MAPAQ)

Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments