Complaints handling by Conformity Verification Bodies under the Canada Organic Regime

Date: March 10, 2014

To: Conformity Verification Bodies (CVB) designated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

Subject: Complaints Handling by Conformity Verification Bodies (CVB) under the Canada Organic Office (COR)

Section B.8 of the Canada Organic Regime (COR) Operating Manual and clause 5.9 of ISO/IEC 17011 require the CVB to establish procedures for dealing with complaints related to the CFIA-accredited Certification Bodies under their oversight.

CFIA-designated CVB are responsible for handling any complaints they receive from the COR and ensuring that they are closed in a timely manner. To ensure that all complaints under the COR are dealt with in a consistent manner, all CVB should observe the following when handling these complaints:

  1. The CVB will acknowledge receipt of any complaint within 5 business days.
  2. The CVB will begin the investigation of the complaint as per their own procedures, or forward the complaint to the appropriate CB for investigation if the complaint is on a certified organic product, producer or CB personnel.
  3. When passing complaints to the appropriate CB, the CVB will ensure that confidentiality of the complainant is maintained.
  4. Within 20 business days, the CVB will inform the COR of the following:
    • The status of the complaint
    • What actions have or will be taken to resolve the complaint
    • The expected timeline for resolution of the complaint
    • Requests for additional information as required.
  5. The CVB will endeavour to close all complaints received in a timely manner. Upon closure of the complaint the CVB will provide the COR with the following:
    • Confirmation that the CVB considers the complaint adequately closed
    • A summary of the actions the CVB/CB took to close the complaint
    • Any important follow-up information (e.g. unannounced audit to verify, grounds for suspension, etc.).
  6. Once the COR has reviewed the information provided, and does not require additional information, they will inform the CVB that the complaint is considered closed.

Valeriya Staykova
Lead Auditor/ Vérificatrice principale
Canada Organic Regime/ Régime Bio-Canada

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