CHC Greenhouse Committee Updates

October 2, 2016

Joint AAFC-CFIA-MAS Organics Industry Meeting

CHC representatives met with representative of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Market Access Secretariat (MAS) together with several other national organic industry representatives on September 9, 2016 to discuss the on-going negotiations of organic equivalency arrangements of key trading partners. The equivalency arrangements are essential to permit certified-organic products to be traded with similar organic standards. CHC’s grower representative, Wayne Rempel, emphasized the horticultural industry’s need to have equivalency arrangements (trade) to work hand-in-hand with the (domestic) organic standards set by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) and officials responded to this request positively. Canadian Organic Trade Association (COTA) has asked CHC to assist with evaluating HS Codes in order to improve collection of data on the organic trade of horticultural products, including processed products which are currently missed.

One step closer to Greenhouse Vegetable Biosecurity Guide
The CFIA (Horticulture Section) set up a face-to-face meeting on September 21, 2016 to facilitate the preparation of producer biosecurity guides that compliment the recently published National Voluntary Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard for the Greenhouse, Nursery and Floriculture Sectors. The biosecurity guides highlight the need for producers to develop biosecurity plans that are unique to their place of production, and aims to complement other programs such as On-Farm Food Safety (OFFS). The CFIA-GNFBAC Biosecurity Greenhouse Vegetable Sub-Committee, which includes CHC staff, producers, specialists, and government representatives from several provinces, will meet again in October before finalizing the biosecurity guide in mid-November.

Greenhouse Vegetable Crops Implicated in Amendments to the Canadian Organic Standards
On September 27, 2016 a conference call with the Organic Federation of Canada (OFC) members of the Canada General Standard Board (CGSB) Technical Committee (TC) on Organic Agriculture in order to analyze the modifications proposed to the two Canadian Organic Standards, last published on November 25, 2015, namely the:

General Principles and Management Standards, and
• Permitted Substances Lists

The working groups of the TC proposed amendments to the standards that allowed for clarification or compatibility with the practices of the organic industry. Amendments for greenhouse crops received significant discussion, namely in clauses related to soil volume. The meeting also took into account comments issued by the stakeholders and the public received by the CGSB during the review period which ran from August 26 to September 25, 2016. The final wording for the ballot will be sent out to voting members and has a 30-day comment period, prior to being published. Regular updates from OFC can be received by subscribing to the OFC InfoBio newsletter.

Julie Paillat, National Coordinator, Greenhouse Vegetable Industry