Recognition or Accreditation by competent Authorities

This program is intended to provide evaluation reports to any certification body (CB) seeking recognition from foreign authorities.

Within the framework , the CAEQ monitors CBs through demonstrating either their equivalency or their compliance. By assessing and monitoring their certification program’s equivalency or compliance with the requirements of foreign authorities, the CAEQ can provide the required documents to obtain recognition from competent authorities in the following countries, in accordance with the scopes in parentheses:

  • Canada (Canada Organic Regime)
  • United States (due to the US-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement for products orginating from Canada or any foreign country)
  • European Union (due to the Canada-EU Organic Equivalency Arrangement or the Reg. EC 834/2007 for third countries)
  • Switzerland (due to the Canada-Switzerland Organic Equivalency Arrangement for canadian products)
  • Japan (due to the Canada-Japan Organic Equivalency Arrangement for canadian products)
  • Costa Rica (due to the Canada-Costa Rica Organic Equivalency Arrangement for canadian products)
  • Mexico (in relation with ISO 17065 requirements)
  • Québec (Organic aquaculture products, Reserved Designations, ...)

The CAEQ accreditation program meets the requirements of ISO/IEC 17011 international standards. Not only is this compliance made mandatory by provincial regulations in Québec, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed it following an assessment of the CAEQ program.

What makes our services different

The CAEQ differs from other assessment or accreditation bodies as a result of its pragmatic approach, timely services and reasonable prices. Its objective is to build long-term relationships with all certification bodies that have joined its accreditation program.

Over and above its accreditation services, the CAEQ also provides services such as maintaining a certified product database, comparing standards for equivalency determination purposes, etc.

Using our service

The CAEQ provides an access code to the administrators of each body, allowing them to view a restricted certifier area on the CAEQ web site, where all the documents related to this  program are maintained.

Our program officers communicate with you using your primary email address. As such they can notify you about any instructions relative to new requirements from the competent authorities as well as activities to be undertaken by the CAEQ.

Benefits for certification bodies

  1. The organization can extend the scope of its activities with the same accreditation body at a reasonable cost.
  2. The organization will develop an understanding of the various aspects of foreign regulations and be in a position to provide accurate information to its clients.
  3. The certification body’s clients will be the first to benefit from a foreign authority recognition of the CB. From now the marketing of organic products can be directed towards this new market.
  4. Rapid recognition by foreign certification bodies authorities will most certainly translate into a competitive advantage.

Service charges

Transfert of accreditation, geographical extension for a new country, application for a new program, please consult our fee schedule.

Québec - CARTV Recognition or Accreditation

The Conseil des appellations reservées et des termes valorisants (CARTV), the competent authority for organic products on Québec territory, is responsible for applying provincial legislation that governs a field that goes beyond the scope of the Organic Products Regulations that become effective in Canada on 30 June 2009. When intended for sale on the Québec market, the following product categories must be certified by a body recognized by the CARTV:

  • Products resulting from organic agriculture
  • Products resulting from organic aquaculture
  • Contracted services in order to maintain the organic integrity
  • Inputs intended for organic agriculture

The aim of the CARTV’s recognition or accreditation program, managed by the Committee on Accreditation for Evaluation of Quality (CAEQ), is the acceptance of the above-mentioned organic product categories in Québec.

What need does this program address?

In accordance with the Internal Regulations Pertaining to Acceptance of Products Coming from Outside Québec, or with the Internal Regulations Pertaining to Accreditation for Certifiers to certify organic products belonging to the above-mentioned categories and intended for sale on Québec territory, regardless of the product’s origin, certification bodies must be recognized or accredited by the CARTV.

Which organizations can apply?

All organizations certifying organic products belonging to the above-mentioned categories and intended for sale on Quebec territory, heedless of the product’s origin, can apply to the CAEQ for an assessment of their certification program in order to demonstrate its compliance with the requirements included in the CARTV’s above-mentionned Regulations .

CAEQ Role

Depending on circonstances :

Either an application for recognition is submitted by a certification body, the CAEQ carries out a documentary review of the application file. If this assessment is satisfactory, the CAEQ will recommend that CARTV recognize the body’s certification program for the concerned product categories which is accredited by another competent authority.

Either an application for accreditation is submitted, the CAEQ carries out several verifications and analysis including a documentary review, an on-site office audit and a witness audit. When the system is considered in compliance with the requirements, the CAEQ makes a recommendation to the CARTV to grant an initial accreditation.

If a body has already been accredited by the CARTV to certify organic products for a scope not including products in any of the above categories, it can request an accreditation extension, thus allowing it to certify products from any one of these categories.

All applications for recognition or accreditation are processed by the CAEQ.

What are the actions of CAEQ?

In order to enable the certification body to demonstrate the compliance of its certification system with the CARTV’s requirements, the CAEQ will assess its certification program in order to recognize its compliance.

If the body uses a private standard to certify products, the CAEQ shall conduct a comparative analysis between the body’s standard against the standard approved by the CARTV or requires to the applicant to provide it, to determine its level of equivalency, and where appropriate, prescribe the amendments needed to obtain equivalence.

The CARTV recognition program can be combined with other services offered by the CAEQ in addition to its accreditation program.

Contact without delay the CAEQ and we will present the procedure to follow and will guide you in submitting your application.

Useful documents (PDF)

 

Others reserved designations or added values claims

The CAEQ is also the CARTV accreditation department for the accreditation of certification bodies which apply for the certification of others reserved designations or added values claims defined by the Act in Québec.

Canada - Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

The CFIA is the Canadian competent authority with respect to interprovincial and international trade of organic agricultural and food products in Canada as defined in the Organic Products Regulation.

The CFIA accreditation is aiming at the acceptance of organic products certified in accordance with Canadian Organic Standards (COS) and imported to Canada or traded between Canadian provinces.

What need does this accreditation address?

To certify organic products originating in Canada and intended for sale in a province other than that in which they were produced, certification bodies must be accredited by the CFIA.

For products intended for export to Canada, certification bodies must be accredited by the CFIA if they do not operate in a country recognized by the Canadian authorities through an equivalency agreement.

The CFIA approval is granted to certification bodies that are the object of a recommendation made by a  “conformity verification body” (CVB) – with which the CFIA has signed an agreement for the assessment and the monitoring of organizations that certify organic products in accordance with the Canadian standards, following the determination of their compliance with the Canadian Organic Regime (COR).

In 2008, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recognized the Committee on Accreditation for Evaluation of Quality (CAEQ) as operating a valid system for verifying the compliance of organic certifiers, in accordance with the international ISO Standard 17011 as required in the Organic Products Regulation . This recognition has been published on the CFIA Web Site.

Which organizations can apply?

Any organizations certifying organic products in Canada or in a country with which the Canadian authorities have not signed an equivalency agreement may apply to the CAEQ to have their certification program assessed against its compliance with the requirements of Canada Organic Regime (COR).

CAEQ Role

In order to be accredited by the CFIA, certification bodies must demonstrate to a conformity verification body such as the CAEQ that they operate a certification system that is compliant with the requirements of Canada Organic Regime (COR).

This demonstration results from an assessment that is carried out in the course of the processing of an initial accreditation application. If this assessment proves satisfactory the CAEQ will make a recommendation to the CFIA that organization can be accredited and included on its list of authorized organizations.

All applications for initial accreditation or an accreditation extension will be handled by the CAEQ.

What are the actions of CAEQ?

In order to enable the certification body to demonstrate compliance of its certification system with OPR requirements, the CAEQ offers the verification of your conformity with the scope of OPR. In the course of the accreditation process, the CAEQ reviews the quality system and certification process applicable to the Canadian Organic Standards as well as its level of implementation. The certification body is provided with the assessment reports prepared by the CAEQ on the documentary review, as well as the regular on-the-spot evaluation, surveillance and multiannual re-assessment of its activities that are required to maintain accreditation.

With regards to standards, the CAEQ offers access to a database that include the main national standards and in addition a gap analysis between most of them. Consequently, if a certification body is already certifying products according to another organic standard and wishes to offer clients an organic certification program according to the Canadian standard, it will be able to instruct inspectors to verify any complementary or additional requirements in order to certify the products against COS. It will then be deemed compliant.

Since CAEQ specializes in accreditation services for organizations carrying out certification of agricultural and food products, the CAEQ uses only one accreditation reference manual for assessing certification bodies. This accreditation manual contains criteria that correspond to ISO 17065 (former ISO Guide 65) requirements.

Besides the accreditation, the CAEQ offers additional services such as Certified Products Database management, Standards comparisons for the purpose of equivalency determination, etc.

Contact without delay the CAEQ which will describe the procedure to follow and will guide you in submitting your application for the COR accreditation scope.

  • For more information on Canada Organic Regime , visit the CFIA Website.

 

 

United States Of America - USDA Recognition

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) accredits certification bodies which aims at the acceptance of organic products under the National Organic Program (NOP) on the United States of America market.

What need does this program address?

In order to certify organic products intended for sale in the United States, any one of the following conditions must be met by the certification body:

  • accredited directly by the USDA
  • included on the List of Certifying Bodies accredited by a foreign government and recognized by the USDA
  • accredited by the competent autority of the country with which the USDA has signed a mutual equivalency agreement.

The CAEQ is concerned by the third above mentioned condition. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) signed in June 2009 an equivalency agreement with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for the purpose of organic products reciprocal acceptance.

Within the context of the application of this agreement, when a CFIA accredited Certification Body certifies products under the Canada Organic Regime and verifies the variance mentionned on the equivalency arrangement, the certifed products can be exported to the United States of America market..

Which organizations can apply?

This program is offered to any organic certification bodies no matter where it is based and in which countries it is operating. Any certification body not already accredited by the USDA may apply to the CAEQ for accreditation to CFIA to certify organic products according to Canadian standards and the terms of the equivalency agreement above-mentioned, if these products are intended for sale in the United States of America.

CAEQ Role

All requests for initial accreditation or for an accreditation extension will be handled by the CAEQ following the accreditation process that is specified in the Internal Regulations Pertaining to Accreditation for Certifiers.

Once the evaluation based on the Canada Organic Regime requirements is completed, the CAEQ recommends the CFIA to accredit the body in order to get the name of the certification body included on the list published on its Website.

What are the actions of CAEQ?

In order to enable the certification body to demonstrate compliance of its certification system with requirements, the CAEQ offers the verification of the conformity in compliance with Canadian Organic Standards and the equivalency arrangement. In the course of the accreditation process, the CAEQ reviews the certification body’s quality system and assesses its level of implementation with regards to the terms prescribed. The certification body is provided with the assessment reports prepared by the CAEQ covering the document review as well as the regular on-the-spot evaluation, surveillance and re-assessment of its activities required to maintain accreditation.

Since the CAEQ specializes in accreditation services for organizations carrying out the certification of agricultural and food products, the CAEQ uses only one accreditation reference manual for assessing certification bodies. This accreditation manual contains criteria that include ISO 17065 requirements (former ISO Guide 65).

Besides its accreditation, the CAEQ offers additional services such as certified product database management, standards comparisons for the purpose of equivalence determination, etc.

Contact without delay the CAEQ wich will present the procedure to follow and will guide you in submitting your application.

 

European Union – European Commission Recognition

The CAEQ offers an assessment for the recognition of certification bodies by the EU and the acceptance of organic products exported to the European Union according to requirements specified in the Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007.

What need does address this sub-program?

In order to certify organic products both originating from countries not on the list of EU-Recognized Third Countries and destined to be sold in any EU country, certification bodies (CB) need to apply to European Commission for recognition in order to be included on the List of recognized control bodies and control authorities for the purpose of equivalence or the List of recognized control bodies and control authorities for the purpose of compliance.

Which organizations can apply?

This EU Recognition Sub-program is offered by the CAEQ to any organic certification bodies operating in geographic areas not belonging to EU-Recognized Third Countries (1), whether or not they are EU based.

CAEQ Role

In order to appear on either list, certification bodies must demonstrate that they operate an equivalent or compliant control system to that required within Europe, through reports supplied by either competent authorities, a national accreditation body with competence in organic agriculture or an international supervisory or accreditation body that is specialized in organic agriculture.

In accordance with Section 5, of the “Guidelines on Imports of Organic Products into European Union”, the CAEQ has the status of an international accreditation body specialized in organic agriculture. It is therefore deemed as a control authority and admissible by the European Commission to provide each applicant CB with all the requested reports intended to support recognition application to the European Commission.

In addition of being compliant with ISO 17011 requirements, the CAEQ has been involved in accreditation of organic CBs for the last ten years and has clients in several countries including EU countries.

What are the actions of CAEQ?

In order to enable the certification body to demonstrate compliance of its certification system with ISO/IEC 17065:2012 requirements, the CAEQ offers formal accreditation with the scope of a private standard from the certification body equivalent to the EU requirements. In the course of the accreditation process, the certification body is provided with the assessment reports prepared by the CAEQ on the document review as well as on the regular on-the-spot evaluation, surveillance and multiannual re-assessment of its activities that are required to maintain recognition.

With regards to standards, the CAEQ has created a database that includes the main national standards allowing performing gap analysis between most of them so as to identify complementary or additional requirements when compared with each other. Consequently, if a certification body is already certifying products to a specific standard and wishes to offer a EU organic certification program to its clients, it will be able to instruct inspectors to verify any complementary or additional requirements to the national standard it uses in order to certify the products against EU standards. It will then be deemed compliant.

If a certification body uses a private standard as the normative base for certifying organic products, the CAEQ can provide on request a report on the results of an equivalence assessment between this standard and the EU standards. Depending on the results of the gap analysis, the certification body could be deemed equivalent.

Since CAEQ specializes in accreditation services for organizations carrying out certification of agricultural and food products, the CAEQ uses only one accreditation reference manual for assessing certification bodies. This accreditation manual contains criteria that correspond to ISO 17065 requirements. In accordance with EU regulation and guidelines published by the European Commission, any certification body seeking recognition from the EU must meet these requirements.

Besides its accreditation services, the CAEQ offer additional services such as Certified Products Database management, Standards comparisons for the purpose of equivalence determination, etc.

Contact without delay the CAEQ who will provide you with the requested reports after your assessment.

 

References: Regulation EC 834-2007, Regulation EC 889-2008, Regulation EC 1235-2008

European Commission Website

(1) Non-EU countries are referred to as ‘Third Countries’. Some Third Countries have been approved by the EU commission as having organic production standards and operating procedures equivalent to those in force in the EU. These are called ‘Approved Third Countries’, please refer to the EU list to know if your country is included.