Reserved designations and added-value claims can be applied for by any group of persons wishing to manufacture an agri-food product that is differentiated from other common products in the same category and to prevent imitations or misleading descriptions.
Applications are submitted to the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants, which carries out an in-depth analysis to determine the product’s authenticity and added value. This evaluation is divided into a number of stages, including a field visit followed by a public consultation on the content of the specifications (or on any substantial change to the specifications of an already recognized reserved designation). Once the Conseil has approved the specifications and chosen an organization to be responsible for certifying the product, it informs the Ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec of its recommendation as to whether the proposed reserved designation should be recognized. Recognition of the reserved designation is granted by the Minister, who issues a notice published in the Gazette officielle du Québec.
The process of examining an application for a reserved designation filed with the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants takes at least six months. However, the process may take longer if the various steps in processing require adjustments or reveal a failure to achieve consensus between the various parties concerned in the application.
Analysis of the application and assistance provided by the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants is free of charge. However, groups submitting an application will be required to make an investment of time. With regard to expenses incurred in conducting a feasibility study and developing specifications, the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) runs a program to provide funding for various stages in the preparation of an application, the Programme d’appui au développement des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants. For information on this program, follow this link (in French).
The Conseil has issued a number of guides to help groups prepare applications for recognition of any of the various designations (designation of origin [DO]; protected geographical indication [PGI]; designation of specificity [DS]; designation of traditional specificity [DTS]; and added-value claim). These guides are in French only.
An orientation flowchart is available to help applicants choose the appropriate type of reserved designation (link to document in French)
Regulations and reference documents concerning designations
To fulfil its mission regarding the recognition of designations pursuant to the Act Respecting Reserved Designations and Added-Value Claims, the Conseil des Appellations Réservées et des Termes Valorisants has created a series of regulations and reference documents known as référentiels (all in French only).
The first regulation explains the process of developing reference documents covering the analysis of applications for designations by category.
Two regulations set out the conditions for examination of applications for recognition of a reserved designation or authorization of an added-value claim:
Every application for a reserved designation or an added-value claim is analyzed based on of the following reference documents: