Designations are usually generic terms that can be used by anyone. For the region of origin, they could be blueberries from the Lac St-Jean region, or grain-fed chickens for their specific characteristics. Anyone may use these designations without having to provide proof of their claims. Moreover, no one may trademark a brand comprised of only generic terms and then appropriate it for their exclusive use.
Only a government may reserve such designations. The Québec government has given the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the power to recognize designations whose content it has defined in the Act Respecting Reserved Designations and Added Value Claims.
The value of certain designations is often recognized in attempted imitations. The Act Respecting Reserved Designations and Added Value Claims reserves the use of recognized designations exclusively for operators who have obtained certification for their products and to take legal action against anyone making fraudulent use of this designation.