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 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 locally. 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. (Other certifying bodies routinely charge twenty-five to fifty percent more than IOPA.)
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 application form for the COABC sliding-scale fee.) 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 usually takes a minimum of twelve months in the programme for soil-based producers to become certified organic (that assumes the operation is in compliance with the rules). 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 make an application. Here are the links to the forms that need to be completed for the initial application:
If you also wish to certify poultry products, please complete these forms as well:
If you also wish to certify livestock, please complete these forms as well:
If you also wish to certify processed products, please complete these forms as well: