A substantial proportion of the resources of the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants is devoted to upholding and protecting designations. The Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants provides two levels of verification: in addition to accrediting certification bodies responsible for ensuring that companies stocking certified products comply with the appropriate specifications manuals, the organization has a market surveillance service that acts in accordance with a Global Preventive Action Plan.
These efforts to ensure that products are genuine strengthen the trust that consumers place in the designations as a guarantee of a high level of added value. They also help develop strong local economies and promote Québec’s food autonomy.
The surveillance service is staffed by qualified inspectors. Their responsibility is to implement the planned measures while ensuring fair treatment for businesses and organizations that are subject to the Act respecting Reserved Designations and Added-value Claims.
Throughout the year, the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants’s surveillance service travels all over Québec – public markets, farm stands, distributors, retailers, and any other place where reserved-designation products are sold – in order to ensure compliance with current regulations. Print media and the web are also monitored. The surveillance service also responds to the concerns of consumers who file complaints or requests for verification. The measures deployed are aimed at ensuring that both the requirements for certification of reserved-designation products from Québec and the conditions for accepting organic products from outside the province are met.
The growing demand for reserved-designation products and increasing number of businesses using designations generate a substantial need for information and training on the Act and designations. Initially, the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants always prioritizes a collaborative approach.
If non-compliant products are intercepted, the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants’s information service will provide the coaching necessary for the business concerned to develop a Corrective Action Plan setting out the steps, means and resources needed and the time allowed to ensure compliance with the Act, as quickly as possible. However, should an offending business fail to cooperate, the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants then has the responsibility of submitting the case to the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales (DPCP), who may take legal action.
In 2020 :
- 149 files opened
- 55 complaints dealt with
- 380 online assessments of compliance
- 4 cases sent to the DPCP
What constitutes an offence under the Act respecting Reserved Designations and Added-value Claims?
A business or a person commits an offence if they:
- use a reserved designation on a product (or on its packaging, label, or in their advertising or documents) that has not been certified by an accredited certification body
- sell or stock for sale a product designated by a reserved designation that has not been certified
- participate in, or encourage anybody to commit, any of the above violations.
Offenders are liable to a fine of between $2,000 and $20,000 and, in the case of a repeat offence, a fine of between $4,000 and $60,000.
If you consider that a product bearing a reserved designation does not seem to comply with the prescribed standards, please contact the inspection services of the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants to file a complaint or ask a question by clicking on the following links. Your message will be treated confidentially.