Organic Designation

The rules have changed... but the CARTV is always responsible for enforcing the Law

Nearly a decade ago, the Québec government reserved the organic designation in Québec for agricultural and food products. Its use is now governed by the Act Respecting Reserved Designations and Added-Value Claims. Since June 30, 2009, this has been juxtaposed with the Canada Organic Products Regulations, which set out the requirements relating to interprovincial and international trade of these products. As before, organic products traded in Québec are under the authority of the Conseil des appellations réservées et des termes valorisants (CARTV), whether they are produced and marketed in Québec or imported. In order to comply with Québec regulations, organic products sold in Québec must:

  • Have been certified by a CARTV-accredited certification body, if they are produced and marketed in Québec;
  • Have been certified by a body accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), if they come from outside Québec but are marketed within Québec.

When a violation occurs

When the CARTV detects products bearing the term “biologique,” “ecological,” “organic” or diminutives such as “bio” and “eco,” but are not certified, it takes the following actions:

  • If the products that are in breach of the law come from Québec, the Québec businesses that market non-certified organic products will be subject to criminal prosecution unless they carry out the corrective measures required by the CARTV within the period specified;
  • If the products that are in breach of the law come from outside Québec, the CARTV will take severe action against those who are primarily responsible for marketing them within Québec, if they continue to distribute or retail them. The CARTV will also provide the CFIA with the names of the corporate offenders based outside of Québec so that they will be subject to compliance measures by federal authorities.

Roles and responsabilities of everyone

It is important for companies to keep up with their responsibilities and the requirements. The following sections will help them do so. Consumers will also find the information they need to make better choices.

Organic Designation