The need for organic food production emerged as a response to a shift towards the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers following industrialized agriculture in the 1900s. Since then, demand for organically produced food has continued to rise. In 2016, the number of organic primary producers in Canada reached 4,205. The province of Quebec has the highest number of certified organic primary producers.
In Canada, mandatory certification for agricultural products represented as organic in import, exports, and inter-provincial trade was implemented at the federal level in 2009. The value of organic exports from Canada in 2016 was reported to be worth around 652.28 million Canadian dollars and tracked organic imports to Canada as valued at around 652 million dollars in 2015. Coffee is the leading tracked organic food product imported to Canada.
In a 2017 survey, it was found that 82 percent of consumers purchased organic products on a regular basis, with organic vegetables and fruits the most regularly purchased category of organic food products. Canadian retail sales value of organic packaged foods are forecasted to rise to 1.3 billion Canadian dollars by 2021.