Let’s Grow Ontario Organic to 5% in 5 years.

If you read The Facts, you know Ontario's organic sector has the potential to grow, if only we can implement the necessary supports. Effective support programs will require a stable funding mechanism. One possible option to keep organic revenue in the organic sector is a voluntary "check-off" for organic products. Scroll or click through this section to learn more about organic priorities and the organic check-off proposal.

5% means growing by 186,823 hectares or 1696 organic farms.

If 5% of Ontario agriculture were converted to organic, we could:

Reduce fertilizer applications by 21.5 million kg.

Reduce antibiotics and medications in feed by 3539 kg.

Reduce pesticide applications by about 148,000 kg.

Sequester 2,234,403 kg of soil organic carbon.

Conventional marketing boards and commodity associations provide their members with invaluable support including training and advocacy. However, organic producers all experience common risks and challenges that require more dedicated attention. Through sector-wide research, we’ve identified seven priorities that, if achieved, will grow Ontario's organic sector to 5%. If we are successful in establishing stable funding for the sector (through the following check-off proposal or otherwise), these priorities will provide the framework for programs to support the growth of organic in Ontario.

Most agricultural products in Ontario are represented by a commodity organization or marketing board to which they must pay fees, also known as a check-off. However, organic producers experience unique challenges to their operations - challenges that require dedicated supports to overcome. These challenges can be difficult for commodity associations to address while continuing to meet the needs of their majority members. That’s why OCO proposes a voluntary “check-off” that would allow producers to divert a designated portion of their fees towards an organic association. We want a funding mechanism that is fair, representative and provides choice. Read below for the details on our check-off proposal. With your endorsement, we can bring this proposal to the Farm Products Marketing Commission and establish work towards a check-off with choice.

Here's an overview of the Grow Ontario Organic Check-Off Proposal:

(Still have questions after this? Read the FAQs below)

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A small voluntary fee of 10 cents per $100 (or 0.1%) of organic sales. For producers who already pay into a commodity association or marketing board, this would be a diversion from the existing fee rather than a new fee.

The choice to divert fees; organic producers who already pay commodity or container fees could choose to divert a portion to an organic organization.

An opt-out option for organic producers who do not wish to divert their commodity or container fees to an organic organization. They could continue paying full fees to their regular commodity association or marketing board. 

An opt-in option for organic producers who don’t pay commodity fees, other organic handlers and in-transition producers. Organic entities could voluntarily remit the check-off fee to support capacity-building for the entire organic sector.

An exemption for businesses with less than $100,000 in organic sales. Small businesses could still opt into the program if they wish to access benefits.

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Access to Organic Programs which would be available to contributing members only.

A National Program is the goal, where the whole value chain would contribute. This is just the start.

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