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The Imminent Threat to Organic

Moderated by Tia Loftsgard
Executive Director at Canada Organic Trade Association

SEPTEMBER 16, 2022
10:30–11:15 AM ET


Heather Lee
(Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
Manuel Gorrin
(Nature’s Path Organic Foods)


Health Canada and Agriculture Canada are finalizing their plan to allow Genetically Engineered (GE) food, feed and seed to enter Canada without a mandatory safety assessment and no labelling. The proposed paths will make it impossible for organic farmers and brands to know whether contamination with GE seeds or ingredients is intermixing with their organic operations.

Join us for a lively discussion about the facts, how to get involved in fighting this and an international overview of where the world is headed with new biotechnology.


Tia Loftsgard, the Executive Director of the Canada Organic Trade Association, has worked in the field of organic and international agricultural trade for over 20 years. She founded the first ever Fairtrade organic chocolate company (Camino) and has since held senior roles with Fairtrade International. Tia is currently the Chair of the Organic Technical Advisory Committee with CFIA, a voting member of the Organic Standards Technical Committee, the organic representation on the Agile Regulations Agriculture Canada Roundtable and the lead on organic data with the Government of Canada. 


Heather Lee is a longtime volunteer with the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) and currently sits on CBAN’s Steering Committee. CBAN brings together 15 groups to research, monitor and raise awareness about issues relating to genetic engineering in food and farming. Heather is a co-founder of No-More GMOs, a CBAN member group based in Toronto. Her masters’ and undergraduate theses (University of Waterloo) focused on Canada’s regulatory and policy-making framework for genetically engineered foods.


Manuel is the Director of Mission & Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Nature’s Path Organic Foods, a fiercely independent, family-run, sustainably-driven organic breakfast and snack food company that believes in ‘always leaving the earth better than we found it’.

Manuel has more than twelve years of experience with corporate sustainability, operations and marketing in large and fast-growing manufacturing industries in both North and Latin America. At Nature’s Path Organic Foods, he leads programs that move the company towards their ambitious sustainability goals, like growing organic, becoming zero waste and addressing climate change. He is involved with developing various sustainability and mission-driven programs, including: reducing the company’s natural resource usage, team member training and engagement in social and environmental sustainability, corporate charitable give-back initiatives. He is also working cross-functionally to develop the Nature’s Path Organic Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion roadmap including the development of goals around culture, consumers, and community. Manuel obtained his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Simon Bolivar University in 2009 (Caracas, Venezuela), he is an accredited Environmental Professional by ECO Canada and a Project Management Professional by the Project Management Institute.