Laws and Regulations Governing the Québec Maple Industry
Québec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) is subject to numerous laws and regulations. These govern the sales, marketing, inspection, grading, quality, and health safety of maple syrup. This is an overview* of those laws and regulations.
act respecting the marketing of agricultural, food, and fish products
This provincial statute sets out the rules for controlling and managing the production and marketing of farm, forestry, and fishing products. It governs the joint plan and the regulations administered by QMSP. “Marketing” refers specifically to the grading, processing, labelling, storage, offering for sale, shipping for sale, transportation, selling, buying, advertising, and financing of operations related to product sales.
the joint Plan for Québec maple syrup producers
The joint plan is governed by the Act respecting the marketing of agricultural, food, and fish products. It was adopted in 1990 for the purpose of establishing the collective marketing of maple syrup. It has since made it possible to regulate and collectively negotiate conditions (terms of payment to producers, quantity of maple syrup made available for sale, issuance of quotas, conditions of sale to buyers).
QMSP administers the joint plan for maple syrup production.
the Règlement sur le contingentement de la production et de la mise en marché du produit visé par le Plan conjoint des producteurs acéricoles du Québec
This regulation (under the Act respecting the marketing of agricultural, food, and fish products) states that any maple producer who produces and markets maple products must hold a quota in accordance with the joint plan. The quota applies to production in large and small containers, with the exception of those of five or less litres sold directly to consumers at the sugar bush. It covers maple products sold in Québec as well as those exported to other provinces and countries.
the Règlement sur l’agence de vente des producteurs acéricoles et sur le surplus du produit visé
All transactions involving bulk maple syrup are governed by QMSP as per this regulation and the maple syrup marketing agreement, the Convention de mise en marché du sirop d’érable. It includes any maple syrup shipped outside Québec. This means that maple producers who export in large containers must be authorized buyers or employ the services of a QMSP-authorized buyer.
QMSP administers the operations of the Sales Agency.
the Règlement des producteurs acéricoles sur les normes de qualité et le classement
This regulation (under the Act respecting the marketing of agricultural, food, and fish products) requires all Québec maple producers to have each barrel of maple syrup they produce and market inspected and graded. This mandate falls to the inspection division of Centre Acer. Grading involves analysis of the product’s composition, appearance, colour, and flavour (taste and smell).
These are business contracts between the sellers – Québec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) – and the buyers – the Conseil de l’industrie de l’érable (CIE) – that set out the parameters for the sale and payment of maple syrup and maple water.
The Convention de mise en marché du sirop d’érable
The Sales Agency’s principal instrument, the Convention de mise en marché du sirop d’érable the conditions of bulk maple syrup’s sale and purchase, including the prices for the various categories of syrup, the obligations of the buyer, quality assurance, and so on). This convention came about through negotiations between QMSP and syrup buyers. It includes the provision that neither party may enter into any packaging or bottling arrangement that has the effect of circumventing the current convention and any existing regulations. For example, a producer is forbidden from delivering syrup in four-litre containers to avoid the inspection required of large containers, or contravening any sales agency regulations.
The Convention de mise en marché de l’eau d’érable
Another Sales Agency instrument, the Convention de mise en marché de l’eau d’érable regulates the sale and production of maple water. It requires QMSP to exert all reasonable efforts to select the producers who wish to supply maple water to buyers, to account for variable harvest conditions, and to deliver the requested quantities to processing plants.
the Règlement sur les contributions des producteurs acéricoles du Québec
Maple producers subject to the Québec joint plan are required to pay, per marketed pound of maple syrup, the following contributions to QMSP:
- $0.025 for expenses related to administration of the Joint Plan for Québec Maple Syrup Producers;
- $0.0075 for quality control expenses;
- $0.0675 for market development costs;
- $0.04 for costs related to surplus production management under the Règlement sur le Fonds des producteurs acéricoles.
the Règlement sur la division en groupes des producteurs acéricoles
This regulation facilitates QMSP’s ability to hold delegate elections for attendance at its general meetings, through the division of producers into 12 regional associations.
the mapaq Loi sur les produits alimentaires, Règlement sur les aliments
The purpose of this provincial law is to ensure the health safety, hygiene, and authenticity of food products prepared or marketed in Québec. Article 8 defines the standards applicable to the operation of sugar bushes, the manufacture of maple products, the grading of maple syrup, and the packaging and labelling of maple products and maple substitutes.
canadian agricultural products act, maple products regulations, administered by the canadian food inspection agency
This federal law regulates the interprovincial and international marketing of agricultural products, including maple products. Maple producers wishing to market products outside the province or country must comply with these requirements. (see inspection.gc.ca)
* There may be omissions to this legislative overview.