Executive Summary – Organic Agriculture in Canada

(Disponible en français : Résumé – L’agriculture biologique au Canada)

In 2017, organic agriculture in Canada was a C$5.4 billion market. This model of agriculture emerged out of a collection of schools of thought and agrarian movements that opposed the industrialization of agriculture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Canada, organic agriculture appeared in the 1950s, but it was not until the 1990s and 2000s that it really began to expand. There are now more than 4,000 organic farms across the country, concentrated mainly in Quebec, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Since 1999, the production and sale of organic commodities have been governed by the Canadian Organic Standards, which have been legally binding since the Organic Products Regulations came into force in 2009. This regulatory framework governs such matters as production techniques, organic farm management principles, labelling and the importation of organic products. It informs consumers about how the food they eat is produced, although there is still no scientific consensus on the benefits of organic products over food produced using conventional agriculture in terms of the environment, health and farmers’ incomes.

Read the full text of the Background Paper: Organic Agriculture in Canada

Author: Corentin Bialais, Library of Parliament

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