The Act respecting Reserved Designations and Added-Value Claims (link in French only) governs designations assigned to food products of agricultural or aquacultural origin. The Act empowers the Ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (MAPAQ) to recognize reserved designations and issue regulations authorizing the use of added-value claims, and also to define the standards that products designated by these terms must meet.
Under the terms of the Act, any person wishing to use reserved designations and added-value claims must comply with approved specifications and be registered with an accredited certification body which certifies that products are compliant with the specifications or, where applicable, with the MAPAQ’s regulations.
The Act created the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants (the Conseil), which is responsible for its administration. It gives the Conseil the powers of inspection, investigation and seizure it needs to ensure that the designations under its purview are used lawfully. Lastly, the Act provides for penalties for violations of its terms.
The protection conferred by the Act is limited to Québec. However, in framing the Act, the government took European legislation to protect agri-food designations into account in order to lend credibility to Québec’s reserved-designation products outside its borders.
The Act respecting Reserved Designations and Added-Value Claims has two regulations.