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The FVOPA Certification Program.
The Fraser Valley Organic Producers Association (FVOPA) was established in March, 2001 as an Incorporated Society in the Province of British Columbia. FVOPA is a self-sustaining organic certifier that provides organic certification services to ISO (International Standards Organization) Guide 17065 compliance which is acceptable to all jurisdictions.
FVOPA provides certification services within the Province of BC, as well as other regions of Canada. ISO 17065 certification provides access to the global marketplace. FVOPA is a certifier of all stages of organic production (including farms in transition to organic) : Farm crops, livestock (including dairy), poultry, egg grading, greenhouses, mushrooms, processing facilities, handling, distributors, wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs.
FVOPA certification includes organic product labeling. Operations certified by FVOPA ISO 17065 compliant program may label their organic product with the BC official checkmark, which is comprised of the prescribed phrase "British Columbia Certified Organic" and the symbol "checkmark in a box".
FVOPA certified operators are authorised to label their products as “ Organic” and may use the accompanying Canada Organic logo. Under the terms of the Canada/US Equivalency Arrangement FVOPA certified operators may also label their organic products with the USDA seal. Both logos are permitted on organic product labels in either country providing the organic content of the product is 95% or more and the usage guidelines are adhered to. Operations certified by FVOPA can ship products out of BC to any province in Canada, to the USA, Europe and Asia.
FVOPA contracts Verification Officers (Inspectors) who are trained and fully qualified Inspector members of the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA). This is the body, recognized by the COABC and ISO 17065, as being responsible for training and upgrading of Verification Officers under the CAN/CGSB.
As a leading advocate for sustainable agriculture, FVOPA is actively involved in community activities, and providing support and information to its membership through regular Board meetings, dissemination of information, and through membership of other associations such as the Canadian Health Food Association (CFHA) and the Canadian Organic Trade Association (COTA).
FVOPA accepts applications from any sized operations throughout the year.
Please contact our Administrator with your initial enquiry firstname.lastname@example.org
or click here to download a Request for Application package.
The BC Certified Organic Program.
As an accredited member of the Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia (COABC), FVOPA subscribes to and administers the BC Certified Organic ISO 17065 Program (BCCOP) provided by the COABC. The BCCOP has adopted the Canadian Standard (Can/CGSB 32-310 and Can/CGSB 32-311) as the Provincial Standards. The BCCOP is a system of accreditation (of certification bodies) and certification (of enterprises) provided under law in British Columbia. The COABC is the administrator of the Organic Regulations following the Agri-Food Choice and Quality Act of BC. Accreditation under the BC Certified Organic ISO 65 Compliant Program therefore entitles FVOPA to supply its operators with certification under the Canada Organic Regime.
The Canada Organic Regime
The COABC is recognised by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as an official accreditation body under the Canadian Organic Regime. The Canadian Organic Regime is administered by the CFIA under the authority of the Organic Products Regulation 2009 (this regulation is enacted under the Canadian Agricultural Products Act). The Canadian Organic Regime is a mandatory program covering organic claims on products that are traded over provincial or international boundaries. FVOPA administers compliance to CAN/CGSB 32-310/32-311-amended 2011) as well as compliance with the US/Canada Equivalence Arrangement.
Organic certification exists to provide consumers with assurance that claims made by sellers of organic products have substance. Certification is a system of application (by producers, processors, and handlers), on site evaluation by independent third party verification officers, and assessment by a certification committee.
Under the Canadian Organic Regime, the Organic Production Regulations refers to the certification of products, not to production units (farms, or portions of farms, or processing or handling facilities). The status of certified organic thus refers to the product produced, not the enterprise. Certified Organic verifies that products were produced under conditions required by organic standards, and provides verification of individual products.
The word “product” is used in its widest sense and includes processes and services. The word “product” is used in its widest sense and includes processes and services; the word “standard” is used to include other normative documents such as specifications or technical regulations.
ISO Guide 17065 compliant certification requires safeguards to ensure there is no possibility of influence or conflict of interest in the certification process. This means the person (or committee) making the final decision on certification must be clearly removed (disinterested) from the operation in question. The person doing the inspection (Verification Officer) cannot be involved in the decision on certification nor have any interest in the enterprise they are inspecting.