A few salient definitions to help you understand all the details about reserved designations.

Letter a


Accreditation is a formal attestation delivered by the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants confirming an organization’s competence to perform certification.

Act (Loi)

Act respecting Reserved Designations and Added-Value Claims (LARTV)(A-20. 03).

Added-value claim (Terme valorisant)

An added-value claim identifies a particular characteristic of a product, generally related to a method of production or preparation, that is sought by consumers. Farm cheese, craft beer and indigenous product are possible examples.

Appellation contrôlée

This is the French equivalent of a reserved designation, used particularly in the wine industry.

Appellation protégée

This term is equivalent to reserved designation and is used in the European Union.

Applicant group (Groupe demandeur)

A group made up of all players substantially involved in the production or processing of a product, represented wherever possible in a balanced manner so that the interests of none predominate in its operations. This group is the Conseil’s interlocutor (based on an extract from the Règlement sur l’examen des demandes de reconnaissance d’appellations […]).


A control procedure to assess the competence of accredited certification bodies.

Letter b

Board (the) (Conseil)

Decision-making body of the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants responsible for approving specifications meeting the criteria and requirements set out in a reference document it has adopted.

Business (Entreprise)

An agricultural operation holding a ministerial identification number (numéro d’identification ministériel – NIM), or a physical or legal person holding a Québec Business Number (numéro d’entreprise du Québec – NEQ), or any other form of registration under which it identifies itself in the exercise of its activities in Québec, which produces or prepares a reserved-designation product on its own or another’s behalf, or has such a product produced or prepared for it. A business may have one or more operating sites. (Taken from the Specification for the Organic Designation in Québec)

Letter c


Certification is an administrative procedure by which an accredited certification body provides a written assurance that foods or food control systems meet the requirements set out in the Act respecting Reserved Designations and Added-Value Claims.

Certification body (Certificateur / Organisme de certification)

A certification body is an organization that has been accredited by the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants as competent to carry out certification activities.

Competent authority (Autorité compétente)

A physical or legal person who, by virtue of their status, or of a law, a mandate, etc., is empowered to intervene in a given field.

Compliance (Conformité)

Compliance with the requirements of standards, laws, regulations or specifications, such as the Act respecting Reserved Designations and Added-Value Claims or the Specification for the Organic Designation in Québec.

Control plan (Plan de contrôle)

Document setting out specific arrangements implemented for oversight of the product or service in question.

Corrective action plan (Plan d’actions correctives)

Plan drawn up by a business in default defining the steps, methods, resources and time period needed to correct an instance of non-compliance: with the Act. The corrective action plan must adhere to a clearly defined schedule enabling the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants to monitor the entire procedure.

Letter d

Designation of origin (Appellation d’origine)

A designation of origin indicates the geographical region or locality from which a product originates. Products are distinguished by the natural factors of their terroir. The factors that define a product’s distinctive character are geographic (soil type, topography, climate), agronomic (production methods, expertise) and human (culture history). A designation of origin therefore implies very close bonds between the product, the terroir and expertise. All operations involved in the elaboration of the product must be performed in the region whose name the designation bears.

Designation of specificity (Appellation de spécificité)

A designation of specificity is one of a category of designations that do not reference an origin. This type of designation serves to highlight a specific characteristic of a product. The product can be produced anywhere in Québec, independently of any particular region. Canadienne Cow Cheese enjoys this recognition.

Designation of traditional specificity (Appellation de spécificité traditionnelle)

A designation of traditional specificity indicates characteristics that are influenced by a product’s history, such as traditional raw materials, a traditional composition or a traditional method of production or processing. Where certain specific know-how was used to elaborate a particular product in the past, attribution of a designation of traditional specificity constitutes recognition that today only products made using that same know-how can be considered authentic.

Letter g

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) (Organismes génétiquement modifiés – OGM)

Organisms, and products thereof, produced through techniques in which genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.

Global preventive action plan (Plan global d’actions préventives)

Global monitoring plan established by evaluating suitable methods and remedies aimed at striking a balance between preventive actions and coercive interventions in order to minimize situations of non-compliance.

Letter l

Labelling (Étiquetage):

As defined in the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, any description, brand, label, image or sign referring to a product and shown on any label, record or card accompanying the product, regardless of how affixed. (Taken from the Specification for the Organic Designation in Québec)

Letter m

Multi-ingredient product (Produit multi-ingrédients)

A food product made up of two or more food ingredients.

Letter n

Non-compliance (Non-conformité)

Any failure to comply with the requirements of the Act respecting Reserved Designations and Added-Value Claims, a regulation or a specification manual.

Letter o

Operator (Exploitant)

Person, company or organization that produces or prepares with a view to the subsequent marketing of products referred to as organic. (Reference taken from Organic production systems – CAN/CGSB-32.310-2015)

Organic product (Produit biologique)

Food product certified by an accredited body as compliant with the Specification for the Organic Designation in Québec.

Letter p

Packaging (Conditionnement)

An operation performed by a business which, in order to offer an organic product for sale, obtains certified products from one or more suppliers, divides or puts them together and then repackages them, bottles them, sells them in bulk or re-labels them, with the consequence of that changes are made to the original packaging and labelling of these certified products without any processing of the products. (Taken from the Specification for the Organic Designation in Québec)

Protected Geographical Indication (Indication géographique protégée)

A protected geographical indication (PGI) establishes a connection between a region and a product by recognizing that the product has specific characteristics that are attributable to the region in which it is produced. Only the stage of elaboration of the product (production, transformation) that gives it its characteristics must take place in the region mentioned in the designation. Stages in the elaboration of the product that are not specific to the region can therefore be carried out ouside the designation zone.

Letter r

Reserved designation (Appellation réservée)

A reserved designation is carried by products that are distinguished by particular characteristics or by their method of production. A reserved designation can be used exclusively in respect of products that are certified as compliant with the specifications of the designation.

Letter s

Specification manual or Specifications (Cahier des charges)

A set of rules with which a product must comply in order to meet the requirements of a reserved designation.