Ottawa, Ontario (January 10, 2002) ─ OCPP/Pro-Cert Canada Inc of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, became the first Canadian certification body for organic agriculture to be accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).
Through their accreditation as a certification body for organic products, OCPP/Pro-Cert Canada Inc. (OC/PRO) is recognized as meeting ISO/IEC Guide 65, an internationally accepted guide which outlines the general requirements for bodies operating product certifications systems. The scope of the accreditation includes evaluation and certification of the processes used in organic food production, processing and handling as well as the foodstuffs themselves.
"Accreditation is a major investment for a certification body and demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards," said Peter Clark, Executive Director for the Standards Council of Canada. "Accreditation in the organic agriculture sector is important given the increasing global consumer demand for standardized organic food products whose production avoids the use of synthetic pesticides, irradiation and genetic engineering."
Wally Hamm, manager of the Western division of OC/PRO stated "staff are proud of this accomplishment; there was a lot of work and discipline involved in becoming ISO Guide 65 compliant."
OC/PRO's qualification follows a comprehensive assessment by the Standards Council of Canada. To become accredited and qualified, a certification body must meet the Standards Council's criteria related to such issues as technically competent staff, the implementation of an acceptable quality system, proper record keeping and surveillance and inspection activities. In addition, the certification body must be competent to ensure the products it certifies meet the requirements of the Canadian Standard, CAN/CGSB-32.310-99.
OC/PRO operates through two divisions and has a staff of 25 serving a wide range of producers and processors as outlined in their scope of accreditation, which can be found on SCC's web site, www.scc.ca.
The Standards Council operates several voluntary accreditation programs. Its Certification Body Accreditation Program (CBAP) has accredited more than 20 bodies to perform certification in a variety of subject areas. The Standards Council is the official Canadian national accreditation body of certification bodies of organic agriculture.
For more information on the programs and service of the Standards Council of Canada and the National Standards System, visit www.scc.ca.