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The organic sector petitions parliament

A petition calling for more federal support for the organic sector was introduced in parliament on Tuesday.

“Petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to provide Canadians with better and cheaper access to the food they want by establishing bold policies and programs that would encourage an increase in the domestic supply of organic food,” said BC MP Alistair MacGregor, who introduced the petition.

The Canadian Organic Trade Association (COTA), with support from other organic groups, launched an online petition in early April and has gathered nearly 1,600 signatures, according to a May 7 news release from the organization.

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The petition called on the federal government to strengthen the organic food sector through policy and program and to “meaningfully recognize and encourage” sustainable and resilient food systems such as organic food.

“Agricultural practices and policies must adapt as consumer demand moves towards organic and sustainable options. Investing in organic products not only helps mitigate climate risks, but also ensures a shift in consumer preferences,” COTA Executive Director Tia Loftsgard said in the release.

Once a petition is submitted, the government must respond within 45 days.

While petitions rarely result in immediate policy change, Loftsgard said they can keep the topic front and center in the House of Commons.

“This petition provides another forum for us to talk about the needs of the organic sector with consumers and government, and in the broader context of the Organic Action Plan,” Loftsgard said in an April email.

“It also enables organic advocates to add their voice to our advocacy efforts and demonstrate to their members of Parliament the broad support for organics across the country.”

The organic sector is developing a national ecological plan and “is united in its demand for a policy mechanism to support the implementation of the plan,” the press release says.