IOPA certifies farms to the Canadian Organic Standards (COS), but also requires farms to meet a few additional rules as the membership believes the national standards are not rigorous enough. You can download the Canadian Organic Standards here, The Permitted Substances here and the IOPA Guidelines here.
Because IOPA is committed to local food security, we only certify farms that are located on Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands and that sell their products within BC. If you want to export products to the USA or to resellers outside of B.C., you will need to go to a different certifying body. This regional focus enables IOPA to reduce the red tape burden on our members and keep the fees low.
How much does it cost?
The cost is $405 plus GST and an amount that goes to COABC based on your gross organic revenue. (See the Renewing Members page for the COABC sliding-scale fee.) While in transition to organic, the COABC fee is $75.18 for a total cost of $500.43 your first year. No other hidden fees. Renewal applications are due annually and cost $384 plus GST and the COABC fee. IOPA has a low-risk programme for producers who have been certified organic by IOPA for at least 3 years and who have met all the requirements of the Certification Committee; the renewal cost for low-risk producers is $284 plus GST per year plus the COABC fee.
How long does it take?
In brief, it takes a minimum of 15 months in the programme for soil-based producers to be eligible for certified organic status. It must also include a minimum of 2 inspections by an independent verification officer. It takes a minimum of thirty-six months from the last application of prohibited substances. The appropriate transition period depends on numerous variables such as the type of operation and land-use history.
How do I proceed?
The first step is to create an account and begin the online application process. Please click on the New Applicants page for more information.