Overview of the bylaws governing VQA Ontario

Governance and Corporate Strategy

VQA Ontario's governance is structured by its corporate bylaws, the framework of the VQA Act and the Administrative Agreement between VQA Ontario and the government of Ontario. VQA Ontario maintains and reviews a five-year strategic plan and follows accepted good governance practices to ensure the corporation is properly managed and discharges it statutory duties effectively and in a manner that serves the public interest.

2018-2023 VQA Strategic Plan

The VQA Act

The VQA prescribes the duties and powers of the wine authority Act. Regulations under the VQA Act establish winemaking and labelling standards and reporting requirements for wineries. These regulations are made by the Ontario government. As the delegated authority responsible for the VQA Act , VQA Ontario may make rules that govern the processes and fees for wine evaluation and testing, inspection frequency and other procedural rules.

The main feature of the VQA Act is to establish a regulated appellation system where wine producers must meet a specified standard and seek the approval of the wine authority before they may label wines with related terms. The regulated terms include wine appellation names and methods of production, such as Icewine. A compliance regime is also set out under the Act including provision for audits and inspections, compliance orders, hearings and fines of up to $100,000 per offence.

Administrative Agreement with Government

VQA Ontario operates under an Administrative Agreement with the Ontario government. This agreement stipulates the contractual requirements under which VQA Ontario acts as Ontario’s designated wine authority. It covers such things as:

  • Accountability to government
  • Independence of inspectors and investigators
  • Directors conduct
  • Conflict of interest rules
  • Fee setting
  • Insurance
  • Record keeping and privacy
  • Business planning and reporting


Bylaws were established for VQA Ontario on May 2, 2000, and updated on July 14, 2010. The bylaws govern:

  • Corporate and financial operations of VQA Ontario
  • Composition and business of the Board of Directors
  • Winery membership requirements
  • Meetings of the members

View or download the complete VQA Bylaws document.


VQA Ontario establishes various policies to govern its operations. The following policies are published at the request of the Ontario government:


Consumers will use the VQA appellations as their guide to identifying authentic wines of origin and quality.


Provide a strong foundation for consumer confidence by enforcing relevant standards that recognize Ontario's regions and styles. Communicate the value of a credible appellation system.


  • Integrity and Fairness – VQA Ontario will carry out its statutory authority with transparency and fairness, and strive to uphold high ethical standards.
  • Responsiveness and Communications – VQA Ontario will conduct its operations openly, providing its members and the public access to information and timely responses to inquiries. It will promote the value and benefits of the appellation systemand VQA wines.
  • Firmness and Responsibility – VQA Ontario will discharge its regulatory responsibilities firmly to ensure VQA terms, descriptions and designations are not misused.
  • Accountability – VQA Ontario will be accountable for its decisions and promote effective and fair dispute mediation to resolve conflict.
  • Effectiveness – VQA Ontario will strive to carry out efficient and cost-effective operations, and will provide a high level of service, without unnecessary regulatory burden.