Air pollution and climate change 

[expand title="1) Premature death due to poor air qualityexpanded="true"]

In 2008, respiratory illnesses were the fifth leading cause of early death across the country, with the exception of Quebec, where they ranked second. third place. A 2021 report shows that Quebec was the province with the second highest number of premature deaths caused by air pollution, with 4,000 deaths. However, the province ranked first in terms of deaths caused by air quality per 100,000 inhabitants, with a rate of 48 per 100,000 in 2016. The same report shows that in In 2016, Ontario and Quebec were the provinces most affected by air pollution in terms of number of deaths.The Windsor-Quebec City corridor in particular, where the fine suspended particles responsible for air pollution are highly concentrated. In fact, these fine particles cause a number of health problems, particularly premature death in children. people with heart and lung problems. The same region also obtained high NO2 - between 5.1 and 12.4 ppb. Visit health effects of NO2 are similar and have a particular impact on the respiratory system.

To find out more about the sources of these pollutants, read 'Air pollution from wood-burning' and 'Burning poor-quality fuels in the shipping industry'.


[expand title=" 2) Greenhouse gas emissions continue to riseexpanded="true"]

In Quebec, between 2016 and 2019, greenhouse gas emissions increased by 5 megatonnes, despite a decrease between 2005 and 2015. This equates to a reduction of just 4.4%, while the current trend shows an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. So, who's to blame?

Since 1990, the industrial sector has reduced its emissions by 7.8 megatonnes, compared with the transportation sector, which has seen an increase of 9 megatonnes. In fact, transportation emissions have increased by 60 % since 1990, and currently account for more than 40 % of Quebec emissions. Not surprisingly, the 2030 Green Economy Plan focuses on decarbonizing the sector.

The problem is that it focuses on the electrification of transport (for more on this, read "Inadequate emissions reduction plan"). It seems, however, that Quebecers are reluctant to make the switch, as the number of light trucks on Quebec roads has increased by 260 %, while emissions have risen by 150 %. Despite the plan's emphasis on reducing emissions from transportation, there seems to be no incentive to reduce consumption of these gas-guzzlers, since Quebec refuses to limit advertising for SUVs. In the absence of concrete measures, we can expect greenhouse gas emissions to continue rising in the years to come.


[expand title="3) Insufficient emissions reduction planexpanded="true"]

The 2030 for a green economy in Quebec aims to help the province meet its targets of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 37.5 % below 1990 levels by 2030, and becoming carbon neutral by 2050. However, it is focusing on electrifying the transportation industry - with some initiatives to improve energy efficiency in buildings and develop green energies, including renewable natural gas and other bioenergy production. In addition to significantly neglect social reproductionthe plan should only make it possible to reduce emissions by only 15 % from 1990 levels.

What's more, the electrification of transport is not the "green solution" it is claimed to be, given the damage caused by lithium mining for batteries. It has been found that carbon dioxide emissions during the life cycle of electric vehicle production are around 60 % higher than during the production of internal combustion vehicles when lithium is extracted to Chinese standards, whereas North American and European standards are less polluting. However, this is not the case, the extraction of a ton of lithium salt works requires around 500,000 gallons of water, and the subsequent evaporation of water can result in toxic chemicals leaking into the air and the environment. To really reduce the environmental impact of the transport industry, we need to investing in public transitThis would discourage Quebecers from using their personal vehicles.


[expand title="4) Emissions from fossil fuel carsexpanded="true"]

Quebec's 2030 plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is strongly focused on electrification of all modes of transport (cars, trucks, public transport). However, the ban on the sale of new petrol-powered vehicles will only apply to vehicles for personal use, and not to those for public transport. vehicles used for industrial and commercial purposes. In 2020, there were over 6,834,681 million vehicles on the road in the province, and less than 2% were electric vehicles. The number of cars is growing faster than the number of people in the city of Montreal. 415,705 people use public transport to get to work, while 1.2 million drive to work.t, many of them coming from the suburbs or islands to work downtown.


[expand title="5) Emissions from aluminum and cement plantsexpanded="true"]

Quebec's industries account for 44 % of the province's greenhouse gas emissions, just behind transportation. Among these industries, cement plants and metallurgical companies, including aluminum smelters, are the biggest polluters.

The company McInnis Cement has promised that the plant would not be harmful to the environment, claiming that it would use less fuel and energy than its competitors, but in 2020, it became the province's biggest polluter, and not yet at peak production. Emissions from this industry have risen considerably since 2016, contributing to 1,213,002 in tonnes of CO2 in 2020.

Aluminium Alouette is the largest aluminum producer in North America, with an output of over 620,000 tonnes. As a result, it is also the third most polluting industry in Quebec (after oil refineries), contributing in 2020 to 1,124,715 tonnes of CO2.


[expand title="6) Lack of infrastructure to reduce emissionsexpanded="true"]

In the Quebec's 2030 green planIn the United States, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from building construction are limited. These include targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from building heating by using more renewable natural gas and eliminating the use of fuel oil, in favor of electricity. In terms of building materials, it is also proposed to increase the use of wood or other organic materials (no mention is made of which). However, there is no question of limiting the use of cement, bricks or other hazardous materials. In addition, it is still not possible to build a house or building entirely of wood, and underground parking is not permitted. always require the use of cement.

There's a lot of greenwashing going on with new infrastructure projects (for example, the Royalmount project in Montreal or the Turcot), where projects are considered "green" because of the planting of vegetation and gardens around the buildings. In addition, thehe budget tabled in March 2021 by the CAQ government provides for infrastructure projects which will require a lot of cement and are not in line with the Green Plan 2030 vision. Moreover, in this budget, 67.9 million dollars over the next 5 years have been devoted to accelerating the environmental assessmentsThis does not necessarily increase their rigor.

Also, expansion of the highway system, as with the third link for example, contributes to increasing greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging car use.


[expand title="7) Burning poor-quality fuels in the shipping industryexpanded="true"]

The combustion of low-grade fuel in shipping emits a variety of pollutants. air pollutantsThese include carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, sulfate particles, black carbon and particulate organic matter. These pollutants reduce air quality by producing particulate matter and ozone, while nitrogen and sulfur deposits contribute to acidification and eutrophication (see the report here). Black carbon alone has numerous impactsIt also accelerates the melting of ice and snow, reducing the albedo effect and preventing the sun's rays from being reflected back into the atmosphere. It also accelerates the melting of ice and snow, reducing the albedo effect, which prevents the sun's rays from being reflected back into the atmosphere, leading to higher temperatures and hampering plant health and productivity. All in all, it has a warming effect 4.60 to 1,500 times greater than carbon dioxide. Canadian regulations on black carbon emissions in the Arctic are inadequate, It is estimated that between 2024 and 2029, the use of black carbon-based fuel (HFO) in ships will increase.

Despite the air pollution caused by the shipping industry, Quebec insists on port of Contrecoeur near MontrealThis is a key factor in the continued growth of Quebec's share of the shipping industry.


[expand title="8) Poor air quality in schoolsexpanded="true"]

The Ministry of Education has asked Quebec schools to test thehe concentration of CO2to check whether ventilation was sufficient to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Although 95% of Quebec classrooms had favorable air quality, 2,000 classrooms in the province still had higher-than-average carbon dioxide levels. It is also reported that around 30% of classes still have to deal with non-functional CO2 detectors..

Expert groups have commented on the need for air purifiers to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and say it's an effective strategy in the fight against the pandemic.

When CO2 levels are higher than 1500 ppm, air quality is less than optimal, and the government's only recommendation is to open the windows, even in winter.


Find out more:


[expand title="9) The carbon tax is not high enough to encourage a change in behaviorexpanded="true"]

Since 2014, Quebec has had a provincial cap-and-trade system with California known as the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) in which Quebec places a cap on maximum emissions, and companies that exceed it must purchase carbon credits to offset their surplus. The minimum cost of a credit is determined by the government, but the actual cost is left to market forces, with an average of 20.82 per tonne in 2019. In comparison, the new federal tax will be $50 per tonne in 2022, rising by $15 each year until it reaches $170 per tonne in 2030. Quebec has been a member of the WCI for many years, will be exempt from this tax. This means that Quebec companies, and certainly the general public, will not have the same incentive to minimize their carbon footprint.

Essentially, Quebec is left alone with its below-average tax rate. It has been proven that the price on carbon is not high enough to encourage a change in behavior at a time when emissions are continuing to rise, particularly in the United States. the transport industry (to find out more, read "Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise"). This is largely due to the fact that the system is designed to shift the costs onto the private sector. industrial companies than on the general public, although Montreal drivers are taxed at a rate of 3¢ per liter. An increase in the carbon tax would encourage Quebec drivers to use public transit or buy electric vehicles, which is ultimately the goal of the Plan 2030 for a green economy. Without an appropriate carbon tax rate, there will be no incentive for real change.


[expand title="10) Urban heat islandsexpanded="true"]

The urban heat island effect occurs in cities when there is little tree cover, dark materials (such as an abundance of parking lots) that absorb sunlight and give off heat, and the presence of tall buildings that trap heat. The effects of an urban heat island include an increase in energy demand for air conditioning, which increases the amount of pollutants and greenhouse gases in the air; an increase in water temperature, which affects aquatic species; and a negative impact on human health, which can lead to discomfort, exhaustion, respiratory problems and even heat-related deaths.

The urban heat island effect in dense cities like Montreal, which can have significantly higher temperatures than urban areas. Vulnerable populations living in urban heat island zones are twice as likely to die (as we saw in 2018, when 66 people died in 6 days of extreme heat). Because Quebec is built around the use of cars, this type of construction (i.e. parking lots or highways) traps heat and contributes to this heat effect. In downtown Gatineau, temperatures are always a few degrees higher, as more than half of the area (70%) is built of concrete and asphalt. Adding green spaces and greening urban areas can help prevent heat islands from forming.


[expand title="11) Nitrous oxide in fertilizersexpanded="true"]

By 2020, greenhouse gas emissions from carbon dioxide, methane and of nitrous oxide continued to rise despite the pandemic. It has been suggested that nitrous oxide is 300 times more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxideand its concentration in the atmosphere continues to rise. Nearly 70 % of the nitrous oxide added to the atmosphere comes from agriculture and the use of nitrogen fertilizers. This problem arises not only in summer, but also in winter, as the bacteria transform nitrates into nitrous oxidex which is released into the air when the soil melts.


[expand title="12) Reduced air quality due to salty roadsexpanded="true"]

More 1.5 million tonnes of road salt are used every winter in Quebec. A recent study shows that there is a chemical bond formed from a reaction between a propellant gas and road salt, which, when struck by sunlight, can break down and release chlorine atoms and nitrogen dioxide into the atmosphere (nitrile chloride). The study showed that 80 to 100 % nitrile chloride particles analyzed came from road salt aerosols. In addition, theerwinter salting and sanding residues create a thick layer of dust and dirt along the roadside, which, when disturbed by cars, can become a breathing hazard.

This type of salt also has an impact on water sources such as rivers and roadside wells, where salt can contaminate the water, making it unfit for consumption and damaging biodiversity

Find out more:


[expand title="13) Allocation of free carbon permits to large industriesexpanded="true"]

In the cap-and-trade system, companies buy carbon credits to offset their excess emissions (to find out more, read "The carbon tax is not high enough to encourage a change in behavior"). Companies buy credits and, as a result, their products are sold at a higher price corresponding to the higher cost of production. However, Quebec allocates free carbon permits to large industrial emitters known as of emitters exposed to emissions trading (EITE). These are issuers whose competitors are companies located in territories with less stringent environmental regulations. As a result, they are unable to sell their products at higher prices and remain in the market. competitive on the market. Also, the market is not constraining enough to push companies to emit less carbon, and prices are not high enough, which undermines the efficiency of the carbon market system.

Unfortunately for the health of our planet, the EITEs include some of Quebec's biggest polluters, notably aluminum smelters, steel mills, cement plants and pulp and paper mills. Together, these four industries account for 51% of 100 most polluting companies in Quebec and were responsible for over 13 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2019. For reference, total greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 emissions was 78.6 million tonnes. This means that emissions from these four industries in 2019 were equivalent to 16.5 % of Quebec's total emissions in 2017. Once again, Quebec proves that it is more attached to its economy than to environmental protection.

To find out more about polluting industries, see "Emissions from aluminum smelters and cement plants".


[expand title="14) Laws are not strict enough to protect people from air pollutionexpanded="true"]

The Montreal Trudeau Airport Pollution Victims are fighting for compensation because levels of metallic nanoparticles around the airport were higher than those in the city center. If people inhaled them for long periods, they could present a health risk. Unfortunately, their claims were rejected by the Supreme Court due to a lack of sufficient evidence.

Another example of an air quality charge dismissed by the Supreme Court. The Port of Quebec and Stevedoring Quebec were sued by people living in the Limoilou area who claimed that dust caused by port activities and mineral unloading was causing disruption and inconvenience. The case was dismissed because there was no evidence to support the origin of the dust. Also, despite the nickel regulations imposed in Quebec in 2013, no fines or penalties appear to have been handed down. in the Limoilou area, while nickel levels were exceeded on several occasions in the vicinity of the Port of Québec.


[expand title="15) Rising sea levelsexpanded="true"]

Sea levels are rising. Between 2014 and 1993, sea levels have risen by 6.6 centimetresand continues to increase by around 0.32 centimetres per year. This phenomenon is largely due to thermal expansion of the oceans, melting glaciers and sea icewhich are all linked to anthropogenic global warming.

Rising sea levels are having an impact in Quebec. For example, it contributes to shoreline degradationThe houses on the Magdalen Islands are exposed to cliff erosion. The same is true along the Gaspé Peninsula. Rising sea levels therefore have a direct impact on the St. Lawrence River, and the risk of banks and islands being submerged will become more frequent. In addition, the disruption of the hydrological cycle as a whole, which brings more intense precipitation, is leading to an increase in the frequency and intensity of flooding on the St. Lawrence River.Montreal Island. Other possible consequences of flooding include landslides - as of April 30, 2019, spring flooding had already caused 82 landslides in the province. At the same time, 9,070 homes and 273 businesses were flooded, displacing 12,000 people. As sea levels continue to rise and hydrological systems to be disrupted, these effects can be expected to worsen.


[expand title="16) Air pollution caused by wood-burning

The smoke produced when wood is burned in fireplaces and stoves emits a very strong hundreds of different toxic substancesincluding carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, fine particles, nitrogen oxides and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (read here about their impact on health). Wood smoke causes about 900 premature deaths per year emissions on the island of Montreal. In fact, between 2002 and 2008, residential wood heating accounted for 42.7 % of fine particle emissions in Quebec, ahead of both industry and transportation.

Visit CAA estimates that nearly 100,000 homes on the island of Montreal are heated with wood, as are 20 % of homes in the province. Wood heating is responsible for 39 % of fine particle emissions in MontrealThis has led to a 2018 ban on residential wood-burning appliances emitting more than 2.5g per hour. As a result, only appliances approved by the Environmental Protection Agency are allowed, which does not include devices sold before 2009. Also, it seems that wood heating is becoming increasingly popular. It's important to note, however, that apart from the Montreal by-law, the rest of the province is not likely to be subject to the same rigor. In fact, the quebec law on wood heating only concerns the sale of wood-burning appliances, not their use.


[expand title="17) Environmental racism influenced by air pollutionexpanded="true"]

In Montreal immigrant residents suffer from high cumulative air pollution because these areas tend to receive little in the way of investment and public services, with the emphasis on green spaces. In the most disadvantaged areas, population density tends to be higher and environmental quality lower. In areas with fewer trees and less access to green spaces and parks, therents can be lower and therefore attract low-income earners. One study showed that people living in the east end of Montreal (where the majority of industries are located and, consequently, low-income areas) have a life expectancy 9 years lower than people living in other parts of the city, due to increased air pollution. In addition, dn Montréal-Nord, only 3.9% of the borough is covered by green spaces, compared with 11.4% for the rest of the city.

A mapping project, Goodscore, which measures the environmental quality of Canadian streets, revealed that Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver all have poorer households in neighborhoods with less walkability, less green streetscapes and worse traffic-related air pollution. The health consequences of this situation include diabetes, reduced physical activity and poorer birth outcomes.


[expand title="18) The smell of garbage dumpsexpanded="true"]

It's no secret that garbage emits foul smells, but for those who live near landfill sites, the situation is almost unbearable. Landfill smells come from the decomposition of waste. While most of the gases released are carbon dioxide or methane, those that contribute to the putrid smell are the hydrogen sulfide and ammoniaboth of which can be detected by humans even at very low concentrations.

The odor has been a source of contention for communities living near landfills. Pierrefonds-Roxboro landfill subject to odor complaints from local site since 1985. After attempts to capture smelly biogasthe site finally closed in 2020 after thirty-five years of odor complaints. Recently, the Valoris landfill expansion project in Bury was the subject of citizen opposition due to its likelihood of emitting odours. foul odors. In June 2021, the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (environmental public hearings office) ruled on this expansion project and recommended that it could go ahead, but concerns remain, including the deterioration of Bury and Bégin creeks.  



[expand title="19) Overdependence on hydrocarbonsexpanded="true"]

Visit new Plan 2030 for a green economy focuses on the electrification of transportation to reduce Quebec's greenhouse gas emissions. After industry, Quebec's transportation sector represents 30 % of energy end-use in 2018, Quebec consumed 165,000 barrels of gasoline per day.

Despite its attempts to electrify the transportation sector, Quebec's recent history shows no signs of abandoning hydrocarbons. In 2018, Quebec refineries required approximately 350,000 barrels of crude oil per day. According to a report by Canada's Energy Regulator, natural gas accounted for just 14 % of Quebec's energy consumption in 2017, compared with 40 % for refined petroleum products. The same report reveals that Quebec consumed approximately 591 million cubic feet of natural gas per day in 2018. To have a truly "green economy", Quebec must significantly reduce its dependence on hydrocarbons, and not just in the transportation sector. Progress on this point has been made with the recent Bill 21, which aims to ban hydrocarbon exploration and production in Quebec.


[expand title="20) Hydrocarbon transportexpanded="true"]

Transporting hydrocarbons can be extremely dangerous. Let's not forget the Lac-Mégantic disasterwhen a train carrying 7.7 million barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to New Brunswick killed 47 people. A tanker truck carrying oil from Quebec City to Ottawa caught fire as recently as April 22, 2021.

As far as shipping is concerned, Quebec's ports see the ingress and egress of 25 million tonnes of crude oil and other petroleum products per year, of which 89 % pass through the ports of Quebec and Montreal. In addition to the risk of oil spills oil tankers represent 13 % marine emissions emissions worldwide, or 114 million tonnes of CO2 (to find out more, see "Expansion of new ports despite pollution caused by the shipping industry").

There's also the question of pipelines, which is examined in detail in the section entitled "Pipeline safety". In Quebec, some of the main pipelines include Enbridge's 300-million-barrel-per-day Line 9, the 170-million-barrel-per-day Trans-North pipeline, Valero's 100-million-barrel-per-day St. Lawrence pipeline, and the Portland-Montreal pipeline, whose throughput dropped in 2018 to 2.5 million barrels per day.


[expand title="21) Pipeline safetyexpanded="true"]

While there are many issues surrounding pipelines, including Quebec's commitment to the continued use of fossil fuels and questions about the land the pipeline will cross, the main safety risk of pipelines is their potential to leak. Although pipeline companies are required to design protection programs to prevent and control spills, this rate across Canada between 2011 and 2014 was still an average of 1,084 barrels per yearthe equivalent of two tank wagons. Between 2004 and 2017, there were 23 spills of refined petroleum products or crude oil in Quebec alone. No, this number is not decreasing over time: 55 % Quebec pipeline incidents between 2008 and 2018 occurred in 2017 alone. In winter 2021, Ottawa announced that it would invest 500,000 $ in drone manufacturing by Flyscan Systems to help detect pipeline spills. This investment has been portrayed as a step towards a green recovery, but it only supports the continued use of pipelines. To eliminate the risk of spills, pipelines must cease to operate.


[expand title="22) Insufficient use of biomassexpanded="true"]

In 2011, 42 % of total energy potential biomass-derived potential was realized, most of which came from forest biomass: the potential developed for residential firewood, wood processing waste, slash, pulp and paper waste and spent liquor was, respectively, 100 %, 89 %, 0 %, 63 % and 100 %. On the contrary, the energy potential of biomass urban biomass (municipal wastewater and putrescible household waste) and agrifood biomass (crop waste, manure, carcasses and more) has remained virtually untapped. In 2020, biomass accounted for just 7% of Quebec's national energy production . In the meantime, oil and natural gas accounted for 50% of its energy sources. Furthermore, in 2019, 1.5 million tonnes of organic waste  was sent to landfill, despite targets to reduce this amount to zero by 2020, even though the percentage of organic matter has increased in recent years. There's still a lot of work to be done to increase the use of biomass in Quebec, and focusing on urban and agrifood biomass is a great place to start.


[expand title="23) Lack of investment in renewable energiesexpanded="true"]

Although almost all energy in Quebec is produced by hydroelectricity, Quebecers are still heavily dependent on oil for industry and transportation. Energy is responsible for 70 % of greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec.

From additional energy sources will be needed in Quebec as energy requirements increase, especially in winter when demand for electricity rises and with the emergence of electric vehicles. It is unlikely that we will continue to build hydroelectric dams.They are much more expensive than other renewable energy sources. Solar and wind power are attractive renewable energy options for Quebec. With all this evidence pointing towards renewable energy, the Legault government finances a gas pipeline project which promotes natural gas fracking as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, believing that electrification is more difficult to achieve. Yet fracking emits methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than CO2.


[expand title="24) Refusing to withdraw from fossil fuelsexpanded="true"]

McGill University refuses to divest in the fossil fuel sector. The students are pressuring its banks (which dominate the University's Board of Directors) to withdraw their investments in fossil fuels and, in particular, the tar sands, and on the Board of Governors, which is invested in fossil fuel-intensive industries.

The province of Quebec is under pressure to divest itself of fossil fuels as the effects of ocean acidification caused by the combustion of fossil fuels. Today, Fossil fuels account for 1% of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec portfolio, which is equivalent to $4 billion.. However, the Caisse is committed to divesting these investments by the end of 2022, with a view to eventually achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Find out more:


[expand title="25) Delay in the construction of biomethane projectsexpanded="true"]

As early as 2005, Quebec recognized the dangers of methane emissions from landfills and has created programs to reduce or recover biogas emissions. In 2011, Quebec set itself the goal of diverting all organic waste from landfill by 2020. 10 years later, 1.5 million tonnes are still eliminated. In 2019, the biofuel production represented only 7 % of Quebec's energy sources. These figures are far too low.

More recently, new biomethane projects have begun to emerge. The new Coop Agri-Énergie Warwickconstruction of which began in 2020, is expected to produce 2.3 million m3 of renewable natural gas. Visit CBAQ currently under construction, will process 86,000 tonnes of food residues and 96,000 tonnes of biosolids per year from 2023. Rivière-du-Loup plantalready in operation, produces around 3 million m3 of liquefied biomethane per year. Even taking into account the recent spike in new biomethane projects and Quebec's investments in the field, several cities in the province, such as Montreal, are lagging behind in the progress of certain biomethanization projects.


[expand title="26) Lack of energy efficiency in buildingsexpanded="true"]

The carbon footprint of buildings has increased over the years, since 51 % buildings of the province depend on the use of fossil fuels. In commercial and institutional buildings, 46% of the energy consumed was from fossil sources. This high percentage is linked to Quebec's energy-efficient building code, which runs until 2020, had not been updated since 1983. According to experts, glass buildings are one of the main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in urban centers.due to the quantity ofenergy required to cool them. In addition, the use of refrigerants, especially in air conditioning is energy-intensive and poses a considerable challenge for reducing energy consumption in buildings. Reducing fossil fuel consumption in the building sector is possible by improving air-conditioning strategies, opting for more environmentally-friendly building materials such as wood, and introducing strict environmental standards.


[expand title="27) Interest in new hydroelectric dam projectsexpanded="true"]

A Hydro-Québec project (a proposed 100 km transmission line from the Eastern Townships to Maine) is set to begin without consultation with First Nations. The risks to the Innu-Atikamekw-Anishnabeg Coalition are that there have been several cases of flooding on their lands as a result of the dams. Rising water levels endangers their hunting and transportation traditions. A referendum held in Maine put the project on hold.

Quebec is also lagging far behind in the application of safety laws designed to control spring flooding and manage river flow, even though flood damage can be very costly - recall the flooding of the Saguenay in 1996, which cost the province more than $1.5 billion in repairs.. Although hydroelectric dams are a renewable energy source, the environmental costs of flooding caused by a dam are significant. When areas of trees, peat bogs and soils are destroyed, the stored carbon decomposes, which releases CO2 and methane into the atmosphere. The environmental cost of flooding a dam, which causes the rapid decomposition of plantsis rising mercury levels in fish, which can have a negative impact on human health.


[expand title="28) Lack of availability of electric carsexpanded="true"]

In 2015, Quebec planned to put 100,00 electric vehicles on the road by 2020. At the end of 2020, 92,000 electric vehicles were purchasedThis is largely due to the cost of vehicle ownership. Electric vehicles account for less than 2 % of all vehicles purchased in the provinceThis may be linked to the limited range and vehicle models available. The limited offer also means that Quebecers must be placed on a waiting list. several months to a year before they can get their electric vehicle. This situation will be problematic in the years to come, as Quebec plans to ban the sale of all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.

The problem in achieving these objectives is that the cost of manufacturing an electric vehicle outweighs the benefitswhich may not be worth it for these companies.


[expand title="29) Lack of availability of charging stations for electric vehiclesexpanded="true"]

Although Québec is Canada's leader in electric vehicle registrationThere is a lack of charging stations for these vehicles: 6295 terminals stations across the province, including 462 fast ones, by 2021. There's still a lot of research to be done to make these stations more accessible and convenient for consumers. In 2018, Québec amended the Electricity Code to oblige builders to include EV charging wiring in homes, and to offer rebates to existing homes wishing to install them. However, older existing buildings may not have the infrastructure to install a charging station.

Parts of the province, such as Abitibi-TémiscamingueIn addition to the cost of an electric bus, the infrastructure for recharging stations is not yet available or reliable enough to make it a reality. However, in addition to the costs of an electric bus, the infrastructure for charging stations is not yet available or reliable enough to make this a reality.


[expand title="30) Emissions from oil refineriesexpanded="true"]

Most of the gasoline consumed in Quebec is refined in the province. In 2017, Quebec's greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector were 2.1 MT CO2e. Two refineries (Valero Energy and Suncor Energy) represent 10 % of industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Suncor recently invested more money to increase production capacity to 203,000 barrels per day by 2021, and then to upgrade it to potentially add 20,000 to 30,000 barrels per day by 2024-2025, further increasing emissions. Ironically, Suncor's Chief Sustainability Officer was named "Climate Champion" and praised for moving Canada towards net-zero emissions, despite the oil company's increased production.


Food and Agriculture 

[expand title="31) The impact of intensive livestock farmingexpanded="true"]

In Quebec, there are more than 10,075 cattle farmshalf of which are dairy farms, making Québec the largest producer in Canada. Although beef production in the province represents 4 % of Canadian production, veal production represents 80 %. Cattle production requires huge amounts of land for the production of animal feed, and is likely to be grown as a monoculture, which can cause soil erosion and have negative impacts on the soil ecosystem.

Quebec milk producers ask farmers to to stop enriching their cows' feed with palm oil, they are also calling on the government to ban imports of dairy products containing traces of palm oil in the feed. Although this has been going on for more than ten years (to provide cows with extra energy), the Minister of Agriculture stated that he was not aware of this practice. Ingesting palm oil in their feed can cause heart disease in cows, but very little is known about the impact on animals. The main concern is the impact of palm oil production on the environment and how it affects the lives of indigenous populations in different parts of the world. In addition, the main environmental impact of cattle farming is emissions of greenhouse gases. of methanewhich is a natural by-product of feed digestion formed in the intestinal tract of cows. According to a 2015 report, more than 27 % of Canada's methane emissions come from agricultureMost of these emissions are attributed to cows.

In 2022, Québec was the world's leading pork producerrepresenting 40% of hog slaughtering in Canada. A 4,000-pig barn is to be built at Maricourt which has citizens worried about water quality in the region. Producers want to avoid a BAPE evaluationThis would jeopardize their profit potential. More recently, the Quebec government has authorized a piggery project in Saint-Adelphe with more than 12,000 animals, without a BAPE assessment, which has raised some concerns among the public. Some of the risks associated with pork production are the spread of pathogens and diseases such as swine flu, which can infect people living near pig farms, such as workers. Raw, untreated livestock waste is commonly used as fertilizer to grow food for human consumption. However, the manure disposal methods are poorly monitored and documentedThis can lead to health problems such as contamination of drinking water by E. coli bacteria.


[expand title="32) Soil degradationexpanded="true"]

Soil degradation is a worldwide problem. Industrial farming practices favor monocultures, which produce higher yields but require more tillage (see "Monocultures" section). Ploughing weakens soils and increases the need for chemical pesticides. In fact, the United Nations has found that, if farming practices remain unchanged, the planet's topsoil will have been depleted. gone in 60 years. It's a problem we're already seeing in Quebec.

Visit black earth in Quebec, responsible for some of the country's best yields, is eroding at a rate of 2 cm per year, leaving only 50 years before it disappears. Experts blame agricultural practices and urban sprawl, which have destroyed 528 square kilometers of natural land in southern Quebecwhere the black earth is concentrated. To make matters worse, soil degradation releases greenhouse gases and leads to the disappearance of wetlands.

A farming technique known as regenerative agriculture has been shown to improve soil health, but industrial agriculture companies seem to be resisting it, as it could reduce their profits.

Find out more about regenerative agricultureclick here :

Regenerative agriculture for crops

Regenerative agriculture for cattle


[expand title="33) The use of pesticidesexpanded="true"]

Glyphosate, a common ingredient in the herbicide Round Up, used on corn, soybean and canola crops in Canada, has been linked to a number of health risks. cancer, infertility and liver disease. Despite the risks associated with glyphosate, it has not been than in Quebec's forest industry and continues to be used in agriculture. Health Canada has identified "no major risks" associated with this herbicide, continued to approve its use for another 15 years. However, since glyphosate has been banned in many European countries, Canada finds it harder to export its products (particularly cereal products), especially as more and more people are demanding a glyphosate-free environment. Due to the continued use of glyphosate on crops, weeds have developed resistance to this herbicide. In Canada, over 75 weeds have become resistant to herbicidesThis can lead to a loss of yield and the need to use more chemicals, which can be very costly for farmers.

The use of glyphosate and other pesticides, including atrazine and neonicotinoids, has been observed in almost 100 % samples taken from rivers near agricultural farms in Quebecc. Moreover, the presence of some of these pesticides exceeded the "normal" quantity for water quality. In rivers such as the Yamaska, Mascouche and Acadie, researchers discovered 20 to 30 types of pesticides, many of which could be harmful to the aquatic life that resides in these watersand the flora and fauna that depend on them. Despite the harmful effects, Health Canada has not imposed a ban on pesticides such as the neonicotinoid because it considers that it poses no risk to human health or the environment.

Recent studies have shown that the cause of Parkinson's disease (which affects one in 500 people in Canada) is linked to long-term exposure to pesticides, notably paraquat (used to kill weeds) and chlorphrifos (used to kill insects). The number of Quebec farmers who will develop Parkinson's disease is expected to reach double by 2040. Despite these risks, Prime Minister Legault did not ban the use of pesticidesHe believes that the issue needs to be examined in greater depth before the government can take action. However, many Quebec municipalities, such as Laval and Montréal have banned the use and sale of several pesticides, including glyphosates.


[expand title="34) Water pollution from agricultureexpanded="true"]

Phosphorus is commonly found in fertilizer and manureBoth are common in Quebec agriculture. Rainfall can transport phosphorus to neighbouring waters, a phenomenon known as "runoff". fertilizer runoff "This can lead to eutrophication (to find out more, see "Lake degradation" and "Decreasing lake biodiversity"). Essentially, increased nutrients stimulate algal blooms, which in turn create hypoxic environments known as dead zones.

Unfortunately, Quebec is a very heavy fertilizer userespecially compared to the rest of North America with very permissive phosphorus standards. The leniency of the regulations is largely due to the fact that fertilizer manufacturers have seats at the decision-making table. The effects are measurable. Between 2017 and 2019, the nine stations analysing the along the St. Lawrence River reported over 10 % of samples containing phosphorus concentrations above guidelines, including six reported 50 % samples. Between Saint-Augustin and Saint-Charles, Lac Saint-Augustin is classified as eutrophic, while the other six lakes are mesotrophic to mesos-eutrophic (halfway to eutrophic). Water quality will continue to deteriorate unless agricultural regulations are tightened, which is unlikely with profit-seekers at the decision-making table.


[expand title="35) Agricultural land dezoningexpanded="true"]

In Quebec, the agricultural land accounts for only 2 % of the province's land mass. Unfortunately, there is a huge demand for rezoning farmland for residential developments, economic projects, occupation of land by non-farmers, and so on. Development companies tend to build on agricultural land because it's cheaper than decontaminating industrial land.. What's more, there's less land available, the price per hectare of farmland has risen dramatically over the past ten years, from $6,280 to $21,446 in 2015. This figure continues to rise as 2019, where in Montérégie-Est, the average price per hectare was 36,098$. The risks associated with this situation are that once cultivable farmland has been paved over, it would take several centuries for the soil to regenerate. The municipality of Neuville (popular for its sweet corn) risked losing 50 % of its farmland. to make way for residential developments. Although the project was turned down, there is a continuing risk for farmers that even if a small part of their land is dezoned, this could have a negative impact on their livelihoods. negative impact on production rates and farmers' capacities. In 2019, a residential project has been proposed to build 28,000 new housing units on over two square kilometers of the last remaining agricultural land in Charlesbourg, Quebec. Although the Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec is lobbying the city to focus on development projects in already zoned areas.

Early 2021, Google has announced that it will build its first Canadian data center in Beauharnois on 62.4 hectares of land currently zoned for agricultural use.. The Québec government will grant 3.54 $ to the Union des producteurs agricoles to relocate agricultural activity on equivalent land owned by Hydro-Québec and adjacent to the proposed construction project.

Find out more:


[expand title="36) Monoculturesexpanded="true"]

Over the past 50 years, thehe size of Canadian farms has almost doubled, but crop diversity has decreased. Farmland is mainly dominated by four crops: soybeans, wheat, rice and corn. In Quebec, in 2016 it was reported that 4 million tonnes of maize were grown (up from 250,000 tonnes in 1973) and over 800,000 tonnes of soya (up from 50,000 tonnes in 1990) - exporting 75 % of their harvest. Because these four crops are considered to be monocultures often require large quantities of chemicals that are harmful to the environment. These crops require more fertilizer to compensate for greater nutrient loss, more pesticides due to increased pest problems, and require more water than diversified crops due to reduced soil moisture retention. Other problems associated with monocultures are the rs biodiversity, habitat fragility and the use of heavy machinery. which compact less organic soils and promote soil erosion. In addition, the land becomes less fertileThis makes it very difficult to grow other crops on the same soil.

Ehanks to the use of fertilizers and pesticides, many insects and birds are threatened by limited food sources, and the production of monocultures themselves leaves little scope for the expansion of biodiversity..

Despite the environmental impact of monocultures, public subsidies (including farm loans, stabilization insurance and crop insurance) have allowed monocultures to exist over time. Proposals have been made to diversify Canadian farmland, but none has had the same financial value as monocultureswhich is why they continue to exist.

Find out more:


[expand title="37) Lack of greenhouse production capacityexpanded="true"]

Over the past ten years, greenhouse vegetable production has increased in Canada, but Quebec accounts for only 7 % of greenhouse surface areacompared with 70 % in Ontario. This low percentage makes it difficult for Quebec to compete. For these productions to be successful, the government should grant tax credits. Most of these greenhouses produce tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Although Quebec can produce tomatoes in sufficient quantities, unlikely to supply tropical fruits, vegetables or bananasAt least not any time soon. If Quebecers want to eat local, seasonal produce, they'll have to take what they can get. In addition to greenhouses Québec needs to make greater use of crops grown under coverThis is well suited to the production of carrots, potatoes and onions, and will enable the province to extend its growing seasons.

The risk of producing fruit and vegetables all year round is whether the production to support the local market or whether it will be exportede. For some crops, such as cabbage, Quebec production does not correspond to consumption and is therefore exported. However, spinach production meets only 17 % of demand, while strawberry production meets 44 %.

Many of the province's greenhouses still rely on fossil fuel gases to heat and light their facilities. In 2020, a proposal was made to reduce the electricity rate from 0.10 $ to 0.0559 $  for photosynthetic lighting and greenhouse heating, extended to more than 1,000 greenhouses in Quebec. This decision is helping to stimulate growth in the industry. The cost of electricity is one of the main reasons why many greenhouse growers don't operate in winter. due to high electricity costs. More research needed on how to modernize companiesWe also need to provide training so that we have more specialists capable of managing cutting-edge technology. Another challenge, as greenhouse production increases in Quebec, is the lack of personnel. Many local people don't want to work in greenhouses because of the low wages, so Quebec hires people from abroad. Unfortunately, this is not the case, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many difficulties for people traveling to Quebec.


[expand title="38) The inaccessibility of organic vegetablesexpanded="true"]

Provincial incentives pay farmers to convert their land to organic production, the number of organic farmers in Quebec has risen to 2337 in 2019the highest in Canada. Organic farming involves produce food without using man-made chemicals (i.e. pesticides and fertilizers). However, the use of manure in organic farming can be a factor in the spread of bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. Over the past ten years, Canada has seen more recalls of organic products due to these factors.

Another problem with organic food is that it is generally more expensive than non-organic products (between 20 and 60 %). The price increase is due to the absence of chemicals in production, which means higher costs for farmers. In addition, for products to receive organic certification from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, one of the factors is that sellers, transporters and farmers must ensure and prove that their organic products have not come into contact with non-organic products during storage or transportation. Although the demand for local food is on the rise in Canada, many people tend to price over product and buy an imported product, as it's generally cheaper. There is also competition between products labelled "organic" and "natural", which can confuse consumers. Producers of "natural" products are not held to the same standards as organic farmers, and can therefore sell their products more cheaply.


[expand title="39) Lack of adequate farmer representationexpanded="true"]

Quebec has only one organization representing its agricultural producers. The Union des Producteurs Agricoles represents approximately 42,000 Quebec farmers, all forest producers and representing 90 local sections, 12 regional federations, 130 unions and 26 specialized groups. It's the only official organization that speaks for all agricultural and forestry producers in Quebec. All Quebec farmers must pay UPA dues. Under Bill 85, if a farmer does not pay this contribution, he won't get his property tax refund. This monopoly model is unique to Canada, and exists nowhere else in the world. Lhe problem with having a union monopoly is that it favors larger farms that have large scales of production or large export quantities.. Quotas imposed by the UPA are too expensive for small farms just starting upAnd farm financing is only granted to farmers with large-scale production. But people don't want to put an end to the UPA, they want to break it up into smaller unions to give to other producers, a chance to compete. Although the Quebec government is seeking to be more self-sufficient, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, this will be difficult if the UPA monopoly persists. According to Union paysanne co-founder Roméo Bouchard, in 1985, the province was self-sufficient at 80 %, but due to the loss of many small farms under the UPA, this figure has dropped considerably to 30 %. Another negative factor of the UPA monopoly would be its concentration on export of subsidized agricultural products (such as pork in Quebec), which also reduces food sovereignty and increases dependence on food imports.


[expand title="40) Choosing companies over family farmsexpanded="true"]

Quebec's current agricultural laws discourage small-scale local farming and pave the way for factory farms. Act respecting the protection of agricultural land and agricultural activities achieves this in two ways: Section 28 prohibits the division of a single lot, and section 29 prohibits the division of two contiguous lots. This means that a small section of a lot cannot be sold even if the area is not used, as this would result in the lot being divided. This also means that, when an owner buys two neighbouring lots, even if they are divided by a road or river, they become merged forever and may not be divided in the future, in accordance with article 28.

This illustrates Quebec's preference for large, profitable industrial farms. For example, when a farmer in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Rochelle tried to sell the maple grove on his land, he was unable to meet his quota. The MRC concerned refused the request, because she was concerned about the potential profitability of a business on such a small plot of land.

Yet Quebec should be doing what it can to support local farmers. Generally speaking, family-run farms are more likely to be more sustainable than industrial agriculture, as they are not driven solely by profit. Furthermore, as a province that has always been committed to creating jobs for its citizens, it seems logical to support local farmers rather than focusing on industrial farms. Bill 103 voted in 2021 allows land fragmentation, This would make it possible to reduce the size of farms in favor of emerging agricultural activities and family farms.. However, some fear that this will accelerate urban sprawl. and is therefore calling for guarantees that the land parcels will be used for agricultural production.


[expand title="41) Trade agreements discourage local productionexpanded="true"]

Québec is involved in several trade agreements which reduce or completely eliminate tariffs. These agreements are based on free trade, which encourages countries to invest in products for which they have a strong market position. comparative advantage (products they can produce at a lower cost than other countries, due to specialized labor pools, abundant resources, climatic factors, etc.) The aim of free trade is therefore to make the greatest number of products available at the lowest cost. In many ways, this discourages local production in Quebec.

Between 2009 and 2013, Mexico increased its blueberry production of 537 %. Unlike Quebec, whose short growing season Because of our cool climate, Mexico can produce blueberries year-round, making them competitive with Quebec blueberries. The same type of competition exists between Québec and Europe for cheese production. Imports of this kind, with no trade barriers to level the playing field, make Quebec products more expensive and, in the end, Canadians tend to choose Quebec products. the cheapest optioneven if it's not local. This obliges Quebec farmers to increase their yields on a daily basis. of pesticides or to receive compensation from the governmentThis is not a long-term solution - it makes no sense to reduce the cost of products to the public and then compensate farmers with taxpayers' money. At the end of the day, free-trade agreements affect our food supply. food sovereignty and only benefit companies.


[expand title="42) Small-scale animal husbandry is not allowedexpanded="true"]

In Quebec, the quota system prevents small-scale animal farming. The quota system is based on supply managementwhich sets limits on production to ensure that supply meets demand (to learn more about supply management in Canada, click here). here). Quotas apply to with chicken, eggs, turkey and milk without which they cannot be sold. Quebec farmers can be exempt from these quotas if their production is low enough - farmers can produce 99 chickens, 99 laying hens and 25 turkeys without quotas. Unfortunately, these numbers are too low to be able to sell and make a profit as artisan farmers. One farmer says his family eats 60 to 70 chickens, and the rest is spent on dinners with friends, making it virtually impossible to make a profit.

In addition, there are also minimum quotas for those who produce beyond the quota-free limits. These quotas are limited, often unavailable and incredibly expensive. In 2017, the minimum quotas were 775 chickens, 300 turkeys if outside the centralized sales system, whose quotas sold for 900 $ for 75 chickens and 500 $ for 6 turkeys. Note that the minimum chicken quota was 7750 before 2010, and due to strict quota transfer policies, ano new small farmer entered with the new 2010 quota in 2017 (read more about Quebec's quota system here). This quota system therefore limits small-scale breeding practices.

Low exemption limits coupled with unavailable (and therefore expensive) quotas directly discourage small-scale farming. What's more, the UPA, which is the only union representing Quebec farmers, favors large-scale production by financing large-scale farming operations (to find out more, read "Union monopoly").


[expand title="43) Lack of investment in research and developmentexpanded="true"]

Quebec agriculture can benefit from research and development to make these practices more sustainable. For example, cereals must be dried before being stored to prevent rotting. Many Quebec farmers still rely on propane for grain drying, as we saw during the CN strike in 2019We're not going to forget that our grain production depends on hydrocarbons. However, thinking that our grain production depends on hydrocarbons reminds us of our "over-dependence on hydrocarbons" (see "Energy"). In the meantime, other grain-drying technologies exist, such as the natural air-dryingr and the solar grain drying.

Perhaps Quebec tractors need a fresh start too. In addition to the purchase of entirely new electric tractors, which can cost in the region of 100,000 $, research can be carried out into a possible converting diesel tractors to electricity. Even the new cable-powered John Deere tractor offers new perspectives on the future of sustainable agriculture by abandoning the lithium battery (for more on the dangers of lithium mining, read "Inadequate plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" and "Underestimated environmental impacts of electric vehicles").

The advent of automatic weeders can reduce the need for herbicides by effectively eliminating weeds without the need for labor. This is beneficial, as weeds can become herbicide-resistant with continuous use, and they are also toxic for humans and the environment.

Overall, Quebec could benefit from research and development in agriculture to make it a more sustainable industry.


[expand title="44) GMOs developed in the interests of businessexpanded="true"]

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is a plant or animal (or other organism) whose genes have been modified in the laboratory to form a new organism that does not exist in nature. In Quebec, the three main GMOs are corn, soy and canola. Since 1999, production of each of these in Quebec has increased, with genetically modified canola and corn accounting for the quasi-totality of their province-wide production. One of the main presumed advantages of GMOs is the possibility of increase yieldThis can lead to lower feed costs. This is achieved by increasing resistance to viruses and tolerance to herbicides and pesticides. However, according to a 2016 reportHowever, the presumed benefits are not materializing. First of all, there is no no evidence that GMOs have increased yields. Proof or not, food prices continued to rise. to increase across Canada since the introduction of GMOs. As a result, GMOs have failed to reduce food prices. In addition, the sale of herbicides across the country increased from 199% between 1999 and 2016. Not only are herbicides (and pesticides) bad for the environment and for healthHowever, they can lead to the emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds, resulting in lower yields and higher costs (to find out more, see "Pesticide use").

What's more, the industry lacks transparency. Firstly, when new GMOs come onto the market, safety tests are carried out by the companies themselvesand not by Health Canada. Secondly, thee labels are not required to distinguish between GMOs, although 88 % of Canadians want the opposite.

Although there are other potential benefits to be derived from GMOs in the future, such as increased nutrient content, reduced allergens and improved food production systems, it seems that GMOs are primarily intended for commercial use at the moment, and that they should not be used as a substitute for food. improve their resistance to herbicides and pesticides.



[expand title="45) Lack of waste infrastructureexpanded="true"]

Quebec's waste management infrastructure is insufficient to deal with the waste generated in a sustainable manner. To begin with, Nunavik communities have to deal with several infrastructure constraintsThese include a lack of roads to transport recyclable waste from village to village, and a lack of human resources to handle recycling operations. There are no incinerators and so the waste is burned in the open air, and no studies have been carried out to observe the impact of these practices on the environment and on the health of the people living near where the waste is incinerated. Quebec will have to invest in waste infrastructure in the North if it really wants to reconcile the two communities.

What's more, Quebec is sorely lacking in recycling infrastructure. Until 2018, Quebec exported 60 % of its recyclable materials to China - only 40 % were recycled in the province. China has refused to continue to accept shipments, partly because waste was often mixed in. This points to a lack of awareness (or a lack of encouragement) of good recycling habits among Quebecers. Visit hazardous materials found at a recycling center in Gatineau. What's more, in 2019-2020, 1.2 million tonnes of recyclable materials were sent to landfill instead. This also means a lack of infrastructure in Quebec to process recyclable materials here. Following China's refusal to accept the shipments, Montreal turned to other countries. new markets in Asia, notably India, Indonesia and Korea, to ship materials. In just a few months, nearly 8,000 tonnes of materials that would normally have been shipped to China.

Although the focus is generally on densely populated areas, it is clear that Quebec lacks essential waste management infrastructure throughout its territory. To make a significant difference on a global scale, Quebec will need to invest in new technologies to treat its own waste. This will enable Quebec to take responsibility for its waste and, hopefully, encourage waste reduction at source.


[expand title="46) Over-reliance on failing retraining programsexpanded="true"]

With so many new types of plastics and materials coming onto the market, it's becoming increasingly difficult for the average consumer to know what goes in the recycling garbage can and what gets thrown away. There's also a lack of standardization and responsibility with individual brands who add labels and claims to their products, but have no third-party certification, meaning that what they claim to be recyclable may not in fact be accepted by some recycling facilities. Product labeling is also a concern, as individual recycling programs may choose not to recycle certain materials. (even if they specify that they are recyclable) or are unable to do so for a variety of reasons, so the products are thrown in the garbage can.

Because people are confused, they end up throwing everything they find into the garbage cans on the assumption that it will be sorted by someone at the recycling facilities later. Many people in Quebec believe that it's up to the sorting facilities to go through the items and decide what can be recycled, thus ensuring that on the 485,000 tonnes of materials sent to plants, 18 % rejected, sorted or not recycled. The problem with this approach is that mixing recycled (or dirty) products can cause contamination that can ruin pounds of recyclable materials.. Although not the highest on the scale of contamination rates for residential recycling in Canada, the Montreal rate is 7.3 %. Environmental groups stress that the recycling industry should reintroduce the concept of separation of recyclable materials by citizens to facilitate sorting at recycling facilities and reduce the risk of contamination. In Montreal, however, this process was halted decades ago in the belief that making citizens throw everything into one bin would encourage recycling habits in the city.

Studies have shown that 926,000 tonnes of recyclable materials are consumed every year in the home, but more than a third of these materials are thrown away. The reasons for this are that people don't care, it's too difficult for them to recycle, or they know that many items won't be recycled anyway. As a result, waste accumulates in landfills, is burned or is added to islands that are already full of plastic waste.. The problem with recyclable materials that aren't disposed of properly is that they can end up in places where they belong, like the roadside. A farmer in Grand-Saint-Esprit has noticed an increase in cans and metal bottles being thrown into his fields by motorists. These fields are the crops used to feed his cows, which, if not collected, can be harvested, chopped up and fed to the cows, which can be fatal for the animals.. Although fines do exist, they may not be high enough to discourage the increase in litter thrown outside cars.


[expand title="47) Lack of compostingexpanded="true"]

Quebec's composting rate is discouraging. By 2020, 1.5 million tonnes of organic waste were sent to landfill despite the government's plan to bring this number down to zero by then - equivalent to 60 % of provincial waste. No wonder, when only 57 % of Quebecers had access to food waste collection services. Visit 2018 data show that only 31 % of organic waste is composted. Excluding the residential sector, only 5 % of organic waste is composted. In addition, the residual materials sector was responsible for approximately 5.8% of GHG emissions in Quebec. This is a major concern.

Currently, the waste sector emits 4.55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year, and is the fifth largest contributor among the provinces. A new plan aims to make food waste collection accessible to all Quebecers by 2025 in order to eliminate 270,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2030. This is an extremely important objective, as sending organic waste to landfill is a serious problem. harmful to our climatet In landfills, decomposing organic waste produces methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. However, although food waste services are becoming increasingly available, the implementation of composting practices by citizens is not sufficient, as in schools, where although compost bins are available, no training is given on the proper ways to compost. Finally, to effectively reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, Quebec will have to tackle the pollution caused by inefficient waste disposal.


[expand title="48) Insufficient infrastructure for processing single-use plasticsexpanded="true"]

In Canada, more than 3 million tonnes of plastic waste are thrown away every yearThis represents a loss of value of nearly $8 billion, and a huge waste of precious resources and energy. Only 9% of plastic waste discarded in Canada is recycledThe rest ends up in landfill. In 2018, Montreal banned single-use plastic bags, but opted for thicker bags at a higher cost. However, despite this change, behavior hasn't changed one iota. 70% more plastic ends up in landfill due to bag thickness. In Chambly, the municipality has drafted a proposal to ban not only single-use plastics, but also plastic bottles of less than one liter. The risk of this ban is the loss of sales, as customers who want to buy these plastic bottles will have to pay for them. have to go to another municipality to do their shopping, which would reduce Chambly's revenues.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which required the use of more single-use products - including the return of plastic bags (due to restrictions in many stores prohibiting the use of reusable bags), Quebec has set back its waste reduction targets. A study carried out in 2020 showed that, although Canadians are still aware of the environmental impacts of single-use plastics, 29% of people said they had consumed more single-use products during the pandemic. In addition, in 2019, 72 % of people wanted a total ban on single-use plastics, while in 2020, support for such a ban has dropped to 58 %. Most people think the country should wait until the pandemic is completely over before placing new bans on single-use plastics. It is proposed that the ban come into force during the year 2022This includes checkout bags, sticks, six-pack rings, plastic cutlery, straws and food packaging that is difficult to recycle. However, this ban only affects a small percentage of single-use plastics. The Canadian government has argued that many items such as garbage bags, snack wrappers, PPE, etc. will not be banned because the country does not have affordable or available alternatives, and these other items show that they have no major impact on the environment.

As of January 2021, Quebec's Minister of Education had made it mandatory for high school students to wear surgical masks, with each student receiving two masks per day. The Ministry estimates that this will result in more 318 million masks by the end of the year. The problem is that these masks may end up in the landfillespecially if there is no investment in proper mask recycling. The problem of non-reusable masks extends to the workplaceThe Quebec government had made it mandatory to wear medical masks at work by April 2021, rather than reusable masks. On the other hand, recycling masks may not be the best option, as the environmental impact may be higher than if they were thrown in the garbage can. This is because many of the recycling programs that do exist don't work in Quebec. This would mean travelling to the United States, for example, which would increase carbon emissions.. What's more, the costs associated with mask recycling are higher than the value of the recyclable material.


[expand title="49) Soil contaminated by wasteexpanded="true"]

The technical landfill site (LET), which contains 80 % of residual materials, located on the border of Haut-Saint-Francois and Sherbrooke, is due to reach capacity in the spring of 2021. An appeal has been launched for an expansion to enable it to operate for a further 54 years. The expansion would add 29.5 hectares that could hold 5.34 million tonnes of waste.. The environmental risks associated with this disposal and landfill expansion would include contamination of the immediate environment by emissions or leachates, health risks associated with contamination, odours, unpleasant changes to the landscape and degradation of wetlands.

More than 600 tonnes of hazardous materials from Montreal's REM project to be landfilled in Ontario instead of being decontaminated in a more environmentally-friendly way to reduce costs. It was possible to send the material to Saint-Ambroise, in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, where contaminant-neutralizing treatment could be used, but managers chose not to do so because of the high costs involved. The environmental impact associated with landfilling hazardous waste is that it can produce vapors that can escape into the atmosphere, and liquids accumulated from the waste can seep into the ground. and affect drinking water supplies in neighbouring regions. In Point Claire, it took nearly 6 years to clean up an illegal PCBS landfill (an artificial chemical composed of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine atoms, found in electronics and plastics). Exposure to these chemicals can cause respiratory and liver problems in humans.

Many questions have been raised about how to dispose of PFAS (used in heat-, oil-, grease- and stain-resistant coatings, such as on textiles or food packaging). These products generally end up in landfills, leading to soil and groundwater contamination. Once they're in the water or soil, they take at least a thousand years to disappear. February 2021, AFP found in Lake Memphremagog's drinking water supplywhich were linked to a nearby landfill. Unfortunately, in Canada, there is a lack of policy or regulatory support for the disposal of PFAs. There are over 5000 PFAs in use in Canada, and none of them are restricted. Furthermore, Health Canada has indicated that they are not a concern for human health, especially at the exposure levels they present.. However, a recent study to reveal that children may be adversely affected by AFP, notably through breast milk.


[expand title="50) Automobile wasteexpanded="true"]

Quebec's scrap yards are increasingly bearing the brunt of abandoned vehicles. The situation is even worse for isolated communities, whose scrap metal has nowhere else to go. Chevery, for example, is a municipality on the Lower North Shore with a population of just 236, but whose junk piles up and piles up, monopolizing the territory.. A big part of the problem for this municipality is that it's not not connected to a main roadAs a result, waste collection companies don't bother to remove their waste.

Similarly, many vehicles are illegally abandoned. This creates a huge problem, as long as the vehicle is registered in someone's name, it cannot be sold or recycled without his signature. In addition, if the vehicle has been abandoned on private landThe Sûreté du Québec has no power over it. As a result, the vehicle remains in place and can be contaminate the soil if, over time, the gasoline or oil begins to leak.

There seems to be no shortage of automotive waste, and one can only imagine the amount of waste generated by abandoned vehicles and appliances, and the number of scrap yards that would result. The fact that Quebec doesn't encourage the purchase of used vehicles doesn't help either: while buyers of new electric vehicles are entitled to discounts of 8,000 $buyers of used electric vehicles are only entitled to 4,000 $. In trying to save the environment by electrifying the transport sector, Quebec has forgotten too much about the waste generated by the purchase of new vehicles.


[expand title="51) Ecotax does not encourage changeexpanded="true"]

When you buy electronics, you may have noticed that a small fee called an "ecofee" is added to your bill. This fee is administered by ARPE-Québec to ensure the proper treatment of end-of-life electronic devices (see the importance of this fee in the "Electronic waste" section). Visit fees cover the cost of collection, transport and recycling electronic products, as well as funding from ARPE-Québec. Fees are relatively low: between 5.50 $ and 24 $ for the purchase of a new TV set, depending on its size, 1.25 $ for printers, 0.80 $ for laptops and 0.07 $ for cell phones, among others. These fees were introduced in 2012 and have been controversial since then.

Essentially, the cost of recycling electronics falls on the consumer. It's important for consumers to be aware of the real environmental costs of the products they buy, as this may encourage them to make more sustainable purchases. However, with fees reaching a maximum of $24 and some amounting to just a few cents, these charges are too marginal to encourage a change in behavior. What's more, eco-fees don't raise awareness of the waste problem in the way that education campaigns might. Given that these taxes are unlikely to change consumer habits, one wonders why they aren't paid by manufacturers instead. When products are created, it should be common practice to take responsibility for all stages of the product life cycle. Manufacturers should therefore produce products with the understanding that they must also take care of them after use. This logic would probably encourage a more circular economy.

So, to make the most of ecofees, costs should either be raised as a kind of environmental tax to encourage sustainable consumption habits, or transferred to manufacturers to manage the end-of-life of their own products.


[expand title="52) Electronic wasteexpanded="true"]

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is on the increase in our ever-changing world, where people prefer to buy new rather than repair. E-waste is particularly toxic for the environment. In "Inadequate plan to reduce emissions", "Underestimated environmental impact of electric vehicles" and "Mining for electric vehicles", the environmental impact of lithium extraction has been studied, but pollution also continues during its end-of-life phase. Lithium from the batteries contained in electronic waste is flammable. When batteries are disposed of improperly, the presence of lithium mixed with an abundance of paper makes for a dangerous combination, as some recycling centers have found. more fires. In addition, electronic products contain a variety of toxic materials such as beryllium, cadmium, mercury and lead. These toxins can infiltrate the sludge at the bottom of landfills and contaminate groundwater and surrounding waters, harming wildlife and humans alike.

The problem is largely due to our consumption of new electronic devices. The fact that purchase of a new printer is often cheaper than buying new ink, or that it's far more affordable to upgrade our phones than to repair them, doesn't help. Of course, these practices are highly unsustainable. In Quebec alone, 140,000 tonnes of electrical products have been recycled since 2012. In the province, only 9% of cell phones are recycled and 3% of laptops are recycledProgress in this area is therefore essential.


[expand title="53) Food wasteexpanded="true"]

Visit food waste refers to food thrown away by retailers or consumers, including food scraps, spoiled food and plate waste. On a global scale, food waste is a major environmental problem; when food decomposes, it releases methane, which is 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That's why it's imperative that food waste is composted rather than landfilled (to find out more, see "Lack of composting"). The British organization WRAP found that if food waste in the UK was removed from landfillThis would be equivalent to removing 20 % of cars from British roads. In Quebec, the province's organic waste is equivalent to approximately 3.48 million tonnes per year.

In Canada, 58 % of food is lost or wastedThis represents a total value of $10 billion worth of food lost at the consumer level. This emits some 56.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Quebec is stepping up its fight against food waste. In 2017, it launched the supermarket recovery in which grocery stores donate surplus food to food banks. In addition, Quebec participates in various initiatives to reduce food waste. Let's hope that their plan to make composting services accessible to all Quebecers will help solve the province's food waste problem.


[expand title="54) Industrial wasteexpanded="true"]

In Canada, millions of tonnes of waste from industrial activities are produced every year. These include acids, phenols, arsenic, lead and mercury. Industrial waste can also include waste from petroleum refining, chemical manufacturing and metal processing. Spills of untreated industrial waste can pollute the air, lakes, rivers and soil, and can affect all living organisms in these areas. In 2019, over 320 substances from industrial waste were reported to emit 4.9 million tonnes of emissions. 2.9 million of these emissions were released directly into the air (from sulfur and carbon monoxide), water (ammonia) and soil (heavy metals). 822 kilotonnes of mine tailings were reported. which could have negative impacts on lakes and rivers. In Quebec, the government does not prohibit a mining company working on the Bloom Lake iron ore mine from destroying lakes and wetlands in order to store the ore. 872 million tonnes of tailings.

In addition to the environmental impacts of landfills for industrial waste, the expansion of landfill sites can degrade the sites and make the land unavailable for other uses. As wind power develops, the pallets (which only last for around 20 years) are made from composite materials, i.e. glass or carbon fibers, making them very difficult to recycle. Although these materials don't necessarily infiltrate the soil, they do end up taking up a lot of space in landfills. Another problem is the impact of these landfills on neighboring communities. In Kanesatake, more than 400,000 cubic metres of industrial waste are piled up on their land.The site was once covered with trees, bushes and vegetation. In addition to the terrible smell, the landfill is located one kilometer from ten wells used for drinking water and irrigation. It is also three kilometers from the Lake of Two Mountains, which extends to the northern suburbs of Montreal and the western edge of Laval.


[expand title="55) Textile wasteexpanded="true"]

In Quebec, over 190,000 tonnes of textiles are thrown away every year. Montreal alone accounts for 60,000 tonnes of this waste, of which 90 % is still portable, but ends up in landfill. As there is a lack of infrastructure for recycling textile waste in Quebec, less than half of all textile waste is recycled. 40 % of textiles are recovered each year. What's more, this also represents a significant cost for businesses, who have to pay fees to landfill these textiles. Although second-hand stores are an environmental alternative to the disposal of unwanted textiles, they still have a long way to go. a problem where a large proportion of unsold goods tend to end up in landfill sitesThis forces community and charitable organizations to pay hundreds of dollars to landfill waste containers.

People are buying twice as many clothes as 15 years ago, and wearing them for shorter periods. More 50 % of clothing is thrown away within a year of manufacture. To reduce the number of items ending up in landfills, Canada sends large quantities of unwanted clothing overseas. However, the clothing sent back is generally of poor quality and ends up in local landfills. African countries, for example, are now imposing tariffs to reduce the amount of textile waste collected by Canada and dumped in their landfills.. Many companies don't know how to deal with their excess waste, especially from returns. Many returned items are either sent to landfill or destroyed. because it's cheaper and easier for companies than trying to resell them.

While Montreal wishes to reduce its textile waste by 85% by 2030, its strategy is minimal. The city emphasizes textile donation and increased donation garbage cans, and wants to ban the disposal of unsold products and production rejects in industry and retail, but doesn't specify how it intends to do this, and doesn't include a plan for individuals who throw away their textile waste.


[expand title="56) Household wasteexpanded="true"]

Montreal's daily wastewater production varies between 2.5 million m3 on dry days and up to 7.6 million m3 on rainy days. Although the city boasts the largest wastewater treatment plant in North America, it performs only primary treatment of wastewater, i.e. it removes solids and nutrients, but leaves behind bacteria, viruses, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals and other contaminants. Sewage sludge is the main waste product produced by a wastewater treatment plant. The average wastewater treatment plant produces around 40 grams of sludge per inhabitant per day, in Québec, more than 124,000 tonnes of domestic sludge are produced annually. A study conducted from 2018 to 2020 revealed that seven out of ten municipalities in Quebec are contaminating rivers by discharging wastewater (which can include human waste, street drainage, cigarettes, plastic, food waste) from obsolete water treatments. According to the study, these wastewater treatment plants discharged wastewater into their rivers 53,645 times in 2018. This represents a discharge of more than 21 million cubic meters of untreated wastewater into the environment.. In Quebec, more than 60,660 wastewater discharges recorded in 2019. The city of Longueuil is said to have the worst record in Quebec for such spills. Since 2014, Quebec municipalities have been waiting to receive new standards that would set the number of acceptable overflows from treatment statements. In March 2021, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu dumped 25 million liters of wastewater into the Richelieu River, bringing the total to 210 million liters over three years. Currently, 80 municipalities of the province do not have a wastewater treatment plant.

In 2015, it was announced that the city of Montreal would be dumping more than 2 billion gallons of raw wastewater in the St. Lawrence River. It is Montreal's main source of drinking water. Quebec's Minister of the Environment has stated that this wastewater discharge will have minimal environmental consequences. This way of cleaning our sewers has not been acceptable since the 1980s, but the City of Montreal has obtained permission from the Ministry of the Environment to go ahead with the demolition of the Bonaventure Expressway. In Canada, 215 billion liters of untreated wastewater were discharged into lakes, rivers and oceans in 2017a process considered "normal" in the country...


[expand title="57) Agricultural wasteexpanded="true"]

Animal waste (particularly from cows) is a cause for concern, because although it is used as manure on crops, it is also a source of pollution, they can be spread on land without treatment. Manure disposal methods are poorly monitored and documented in CanadaStandard practices and regulations are rarely followed. Due to the large scale of animal husbandry and manuring, there is often too much manure applied beyond the soil's natural absorption rate, which can run off into water sources. Poultry waste is just as harmful, as it contains high levels of phosphorus, which can also leach into water sources. Waste and recyclables from farms are generally disposed of on site by the producer or by companies specializing in farm waste management, which results in a high cost of disposal. mismanagement by local governments.

In Québec, farming operations generate more than 11,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year and only 2,300 tonnes end up being recycled. At present, there are no recycling guidelines or provincial programs to enable farmers to dispose of their plastic waste (which includes bailing twine, grain bags, hay packaging and pesticide containers) in a sustainable manner. Burying and burning plastic waste on farms is common practice in Canada and can have a significant impact on air quality.


[expand title="58) Construction, renovation and demolition wasteexpanded="true"]

Construction, renovation and demolition (CRD) waste includes residual materials from the construction, renovation or demolition of buildings and other civil engineering infrastructures. This waste can include concrete, wood, asphalt, gypsum, metal, glass, etc. Recycling this type of waste is extremely important for the environmentThis avoids the additional damage caused by the exploitation of virgin resources, and preserves landfill space by preventing the leakage of these materials (see the "Electronic waste" section for more on this issue). As such, the Quebec Residual Materials Management Policy aims to reduce residual waste, sending only the ultimate residue (waste that can no longer be recovered) to landfill. The action plan 2019-2024 aims to recycle 70 % of CRD waste by 2023.

While it's important to recycle, we also need to think about our consumption habits. How often is it necessary to build, renovate or demolish existing infrastructures? Is it because they're falling into disrepair, or because they're out of fashion? In 2015 alone, the Recyc-Québec's CRD program has prevented 1.8 million tonnes of CRD from going to landfill. That's a lot of CRD waste to recover. in 2020, a sorting site overflowed while the building was buried in garbage. There was no more access to the inner courtyard without having to climb over piles of waste, and two fires resulted in the spillage of contaminated water.



[expand title="59) Conservation percentage targetsexpanded="true"]

L'Aichi Goal 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) requires states to protect 17 % of inland areas and 10 % of coastal and marine areas by 2020. These areas had to be "of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services" and "ecologically representative" (to find out more about this target, click here). In March 2021, the protected networks in Quebec cover 16.7 % of land and 12.22 % of marine and coastal environments. To this end, Quebec has protected 19.15 % du Plan Nordan area of approximately 1.2 million square kilometersor approximately 78 % of the surface area of the province of Quebec. This means that, of the 16.7 % of protected terrestrial environments, 89.4 % were above the 49th parallel (in the Plan Nord zone). This proportion is disproportionate to the actual surface area occupied by the Plan Nord in Quebec.

This poses a number of problems. Firstly, the Plan Nord closely follows boundary of the northern limit of the forest allocation. As a result, protected areas provide forestry companies with access to the hardwood of the temperate zone. Not only is this a strategic move on the part of the Quebec government (for more on this subject, read "Protected areas only in the North"), it's not ecologically representative either. It could also be argued that these areas are particularly important for biodiversity, not least because they are threatened by deforestation.


[expand title="60) Extinction of species/lack of biodiversityexpanded="true"]

Scientists estimate that between 0.01 and 0.1 % of species disappear every year, an extinction rate 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. The number of species coexisting with us is uncertain, but is estimated at between 2 million and 100 million. If we calculate an average of 60 million species, this means that between 6,000 and 60,000 species disappear every year. A new average of 33,000 means that 90 species disappear every day. Another report indicates that around a million species could become extinct within a few decades.

A 2005 report showed that several known species had already disappeared, at least locally in Quebec. Among the species currently at risk in Quebec include the beluga whale (for more information, see "Whales/Beluga population decline"), the North Atlantic right whale and the woodland caribou (for more information, see "Woodland caribou at risk"). Officially extinct (locally extinct) species include the American burrowing owl, grizzly bear, Atlantic walrus and the rusty-legged bumblebee. On a global scale, climate change has led to the disappearance of species, mainly due to habitat destruction and invasive alien species (to find out more, see "Invasive species" and "Impacts of climate change on biodiversity").

Although this is a global issue, its effects are felt here in Quebec. We can't pretend that the source of the problem lies on the other side of the world, or that Quebec has no responsibility. At home, Quebec indulges in many unsustainable practices, as this page hopes to reveal, including the reduction of number of wildlife protection officers. These decisions illustrate Quebec's superficial concern for the environment.


[expand title="61) The impact of climate change on biodiversityexpanded="true"]

Climate change results from a number of different factors, most of which are anthropogenic, but the real crisis of climate change lies in the associated positive feedbacks. A positive feedback is a sequence of events that occur consecutively to amplify the initial change. For example, methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that warms the Earth's temperature. However, as temperatures warm, permafrost melts, releasing more methane and further warming the Earth. The increase in carbon molecules, such as methane, contributes to ocean acidificationThis is because they absorb carbon from the atmosphere (to find out more, see "Acidification of waters"). This contributes to the "bleaching" or death of corals, which are among the world's most endangered species. the world's most diverse ecosystems biologically.

Another important feedback linked to climate change is the arctic sea ice. Sea ice is highly reflective, so it reflects sunlight rather than absorbing it, resulting in cooler temperatures. However, global warming is accelerating the melting of sea ice, resulting in higher surface temperatures and further melting. The effects can be seen right here in Quebec. Warmer temperatures have prevented the formation of sufficient sea ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, resulting in the irregular absence of harp seal pups and other animals protected by ice.

Although these are just two examples, the effects of climate change on biodiversity are very varied. Higher temperatures can increase the risk of forest fires. On the whole, the climates that are evolving at the current rate do not give enough time to species to adaptThis leads to a loss of biodiversity.


[expand title="62) Sacrificing wetlands for developmentexpanded="true"]

Wetlands have been sacrificed time and again in Quebec for development purposes. The fight for Save Sandy Beach Woods in Hudson for the potential construction of 214 housing units. The project involves the backfilling of 4,266 square metres wetlands. Similarly, the Saint-Laurent Technoparc has begun destroying wetlands. Since the construction of the REM (to find out more, see "Privatized public transit"), increased human disturbance is expected to have a significant impact on wetlands. lasting effectss on the wetlands, with the most noticeable effects occurring during the migratory season. The city's objective is to make the Technoparc the privileged place sustainable development and clean technology companies. One developer has already filled in 75 square meters of wetland in the area.

These examples are in addition to the planned expansion of the Bury landfill and the project to dump tailings from the Champion mine in Bloom Lake, both of which can cause damage to surrounding wetlands (for more information, see "Destruction of lakes by mining projects"). Clearly, wetland protection takes a back seat when it comes to industrial and residential development projects, whether or not they carry a social license.


[expand title="63) Dependence on pesticidesexpanded="true"]

Because of their dependence on chemical fertilizers containing nitrates and phosphates, Quebec farmers are the biggest consumers in North America. Excessive fertilization can contaminate waterways and drinking water, and can contribute to excessive algae growth. Visit Quebec farmers also apply too many pesticidesThis is due to limited regulation and an outdated law governing agronomists that has not been updated since 1945. Neonicotinoids are one of the most widely used pesticides in Canada. They are mainly used to control pests on agricultural crops such as corn and soybeans. They are dangerous for biodiversity, because they spread through plant tissue and can kill insects (especially bees and butterflies) by attacking their central nervous system. These pesticides can last a long time, ending up in soils and waterways. What's more, even at very low doses, they can have negative effects on birds, causing them to lose their sense of direction and lose weight. Ironic, a study carried out in 2020 revealed that neonicotinoids have no real benefit for corn and soybean crops, and therefore offer no advantage to farmers. They found that only 5 % of these crops were at risk of insect infestation.

In Quebec, a larvicide called Bti has been used to kill mosquitoes, but it has a very low toxicity. negative impact on bird speciesThe larvicide also kills other insects that these birds need to survive. Studies have shown that the use of Bti, some bird species have declined by 30 to 60 % over the past 50 years.


[expand title="64) Invasive alien speciesexpanded="true"]

Invasive alien species are species that are introduced in one way or another into new ecosystems outside their typical geographical range. They are a cause for concern, as they can seriously alter the stability of the ecosystem they have invaded, by many ways In the absence of predators, they can grow to enormous abundances, increasing competition with other species with similar resource requirements; they can alter the local food chain; and they can spread foreign diseases. In so doing, they can increase the fragility of the ecosystem and lead to the extinction of competitive native species. Invasive alien species are often the result of increased globalization (to find out more, see "Lake degradation").

The same can be said of Quebec, which is home to numerous invasive alien species. Among the aquatic examplesExamples on land include the Eurasian water milfoil, which threatens the biodiversity of waterways by forming dense colonies. Terrestrial examples include the Asian ladybug, Japanese beetle, emerald ash borer, mute swan and ring-necked pheasant. In 2019, the city of Montreal had to cut 40,000 trees infested with emerald ash borer.

The complete list of invasive alien species in Quebec is available at here.


[expand title="65) Habitat fragmentationexpanded="true"]

Amphibians, reptiles, fish and marine life are endangered due to the pressure exerted on their habitats by human activity, particularly the residential, industrial and commercial development, and the intensification of agriculture. The copper redhorse, an endangered fish that lives only in Québec, is in danger of disappearing due to the construction of the Contrecœur port terminal project approved in early 2021. The construction of the wharf, dredging activities, the installation of the pipeline, as well as the increase in marine traffic and contaminants, are all factors that will have a major impact on the environment. factors that negatively influence copper redhorse survival. The project proposes mitigation measures to protect this fish, but biologists don't believe this will have much of a positive influence on the fish.

In urban areas, habitat fragmentation caused by development or neglect also has an impact on biodiversity. In Sainte-Julie, the MELCC is under scrutiny for having agreed to transplant a rare or endangered species of ginseng to allow the construction of houses. Citizens fear that the transplant will not be successful and that this plant species will be lost forever if construction is approved. In Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, some rare maples near Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital are in danger due to soiled snow (mixed with garbage and de-icing salts) illegally dumped by the hospital.

Monocultures are also a source of habitat fragmentation. Monoculture fields of blueberries and cranberriesAlthough good for local producers, they are not good for bees that don't produce honey, leading to the death of many native bee colonies. Christmas tree production is one of the most intensive types of monoculture, since only four tree varieties (Balsam, Fraser, Canaan and Cook) are grown. To make room for these monocultures, dndigenous grasslands or multi-species forests are destroyedThis reduces the number of birds, insects, mammals, plants and other elements of biodiversity previously found. Monocultures also use large quantities of pesticides, which can further damage ecosystems and pollute soils and watersheds.


[expand title="66) Lack of protection for endangered speciesexpanded="true"]

The protection of endangered species in Quebec doesn't seem to be taken seriously. While at the federal level endangered species are protected by the provincial Species at Risk Act, these organisms don't receive the special attention they need, and are often sacrificed to economic growth and residential development.

For example, populations of western chorus frogs in Quebec have decreased over the years - their historical range in Montérégie decreased by more than 90 % in 2009, and their range in the Outaouais has decreased by 30 % since 1993, both largely due to agricultural development and intensification. The environmental impact report for the Port of Contrecoeur expansion project confirms that the frog is present in the region, but that the project will not encroach on its habitat, although inventories of this information are not available. were not accessible to the public for verification. A residential development project in the white oak forest of L'Île-Perrot, where the western chorus frog is also found, attracted the attention of demonstrators who called for federal intervention to protect the species, as the provincial government had failed to do so.

The woodland caribou is another species at risk in Quebec (for more information, see "Disturbance of woodland caribou habitat" and "Woodland caribou at risk"). A proposed logging road in the Broadback Valley would cross the habitat of three woodland caribou herds. The refusal to declare Pipmuakan a protected area, home to one of the world's largest southernmost caribou populations in the provincehas increased the vulnerability of these animals, victims of the forestry industry.

Clearly, the provincial government needs to do more to protect Quebec's endangered species. It should not be the duty of citizens to demand their protection, or to call for federal action.


[expand title="67) Decrease in lake biodiversityexpanded="true"]

Eutrophication and invasive alien species both contribute to the loss of biodiversity in Quebec lakes. Eutrophication involves algal blooms that create hypoxic environments, as the inevitable decomposition of phytoplankton absorbs oxygen, reducing its availability in the water (to find out more about the eutrophication process, see "Lake degradation"). Hypoxic environments are also known as "dead zones"They also lack fish and shellfish resources. They hinder biodiversity by reducing species growth and reproduction, increasing physiological stress and reducing habitat suitability, leading to forced migrations. The surface area of hypoxic waters in the Saint-Laurent continues to rise.

Invasive alien species can also lead to a loss of biodiversity in Quebec lakes. For example, the Eurasian water milfoili is known to form large monospecific colonies that may provide shelter for some animals, but deter some fish species and lead to loss of diversity of aquatic life. What's more, its rapid, dense growth crowds out native plants. In 2018, the plant had been found in the St. Lawrence River and 180 lakes, and 87 other harmful invasive species have been documented across the province.


[expand title="68) Decline in whale and beluga populationsexpanded="true"]

Since the late 2010s, beluga whales found in the St. Lawrence Estuary have moved from the from "threatened" to "endangered" status. In 2016, the beluga population in this area was around 900 individualsHowever, their population size has decreased by 1% since the early 2000s. Studies have shown that population decline is linked to a change in migratory patterns caused by warmer water temperatures. As a result, whales find themselves in areas outside their traditional migration routes, where few protection measures exist. As a result, whales die from collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing lines. Studies have shown that small fishing boats can also have an impact on whales, because even if the collision doesn't break the whale's bones, it can cause fatal internal damage.

Water pollution can also have an impact on beluga populations. Visit belugas are the species most affected since they are exposed to pollutants in the St. Lawrence all year round, compared with species that frequent the river only in summer. Several anthropogenic pollutants have been found in whale carcasses. Contaminants from aluminum smelters in the Saguenay region have been linked to intestinal cancer in beluga whales. These whales have the highest cancer rate of any cetacean population in the world.


[expand title="69) Woodland caribou in dangerexpanded="true"]

The decline of woodland caribou populations in Quebec is linked to various factors, the main threat being the habitat deterioration caused by loggingoil and gas exploration and extraction, and road networks. Due to the significant modification of habitats, caribou are more vulnerable to predation by wolves which causes high mortality rates among these animals. What's more, the more disturbed an area is, the more the caribou have to watch out for predators, which leads to higher mortality rates. reduced feeding time. Pipmuacan is a traditional gathering place for the Pessamiulnut and is home to one of the southernmost populations of woodland caribou, an endangered species.. Hazards arise mainly from station construction, logging and snowmobiles. A study carried out in 2020 showed that the number of woodland caribou in this area has been declining since 2012, and that the size of the animals has also decreased.

Hunting is another factor contributing to the population decline. Although there is a moratorium on sport hunting of migratory caribou, thehe risk of reducing the caribou population is enormous if people continue to do this illegally.. Long-term, climate change is expected to have an impact on woodland caribou populationsThis is because extreme weather conditions and events, and the increased frequency of the freeze-thaw cycle, will make it harder for caribou to find food on the ground in winter.


[expand title="70) Western chorus frog population declineexpanded="true"]

The western chorus frog, although not globally endangered, at risk of disappearing in Quebec due to habitat destruction. These frogs are often found near Canada's major cities. In Quebec, They are found near the Gatineau suburb, and in the suburbs east of the St. Lawrence River.. These tiny frogs live in seasonal marshes, and once these dry up in summer, the frogs move into the forest. However, the frogs due to rapid residential and industrial development and the expansion of agricultural areas (which entails an additional risk of contamination by pesticides or fertilizers), the Western Chorus Frog population could disappear by 2030. A proposed real estate project in L'Île-Perrot would destroy the white oak forest, an area where this frog is found.. The demonstrators are lobbying the federal environment minister to sign a decree to protect this habitat and endangered species. Before this call to sign the decree, protectors have been ignored by municipal and provincial governments who authorized clear-cutting. In addition, this area is home to the largest population of white oaks, a rare species in Quebec..

Another area where construction was to begin is in Gatineau, where a half-billion-dollar development project was halted due to the presence of western chorus frogs in a green space. The developer, who was awaiting authorization from the provincial government, argued that the project promoted sustainability and curbed urban sprawl, and that he had proposed an alternative area of land for the frog, which had a higher environmental value. Port of Montreal expansion project also threatens western chorus frog populationsThe Port of Montreal's environmental director argued that the project would not cause a major loss of frog habitat because it is located on the other side of the river. The environmental director of the Montreal Port Authority argued that the port project would not cause a major loss of frog habitat because it is located on the other side of the project, but experts believe that the species will still suffer.


[expand title="71) Bee population declineexpanded="true"]

In Canada, eight species of wild bees are listed on the Canadian Register of Species at Risk. Three species (the rusty-legged bumblebee, the gypsy cuckoo bumblebee and the macropis cuckoo bumblebee) have all lost at least 50 % of their populations and are considered endangered. Climate change is one of the factors influencing the disappearance of native beesThe increase in the frequency of events (e.g. heat waves and droughts) is pushing bees beyond what they can tolerate. Another factor influencing the disappearance of native bees is an increase in the number of honeybees, which many people tend to keep in their gardens (either to produce honey, or as a pollination service with economic or food safety benefits, or in the belief that it will increase the bee population). The negative impact of the presence of honey bees is that not only are they not threatened with extinction, but they compete with native bees for flowers and pollen.. In addition, honeybees can produce 50,000 to 100,000 individuals in a hive, whereas native bees are solitary.

Wild bees are important for pollinating crops in rural areas, residential gardens and even rooftop gardens. With fewer native species, plants will be pollinated differentlyThis is likely to have a negative impact on the ecosystem as a whole.

Studies have shown that the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on crops such as corn, soybeans, squash and pumpkins influence the behaviour, reproduction and growth of honeybees, bumblebees and ground beeswhich play a crucial role in crop pollination. Studies have also shown that when honeybees ingest the neonicotinoid, they are less likely to groom themselves and eliminate parasitic mites, which can lead to premature death.


[expand title="72) Bird population declineexpanded="true"]

Since the 1970s, birds that depend exclusively on native grasslands for breeding have declined by 87 %, swallows and swifts by 59 %, shorebirds by 55 %, and seabirds by 20 %. found in Canadian waters are threatened species. A major factor in this decline in bird populations is climate change.The interval between plant growth in spring and the arrival of bird species has increased by an average of one day per year. Although many birds were able to adapt to these changes, cThose that haven't are missing a critical window to find good nesting sites and feed on early spring insects. An increase in extremely cold winters in Quebec, breeding of migratory Canada geese to fall from 192,000 in 2016 to 112,000 in 2018. In addition, the extended spring period in 2018 left many breeding sites snow-covered until the end of June.

Visit Habitat loss is another factor influencing bird decline. We observe a trend towards more monoculture food crops which dries out marshes, destroys forests and removes important feeding and nesting sites for birds. Springtime, cornfields are bare to the ground, offering no camouflage for birds which are accustomed to nesting in three-foot-high hayfields. The Green Coalition, which has been fighting for many years, loses in court development of the Technoparc area. The city's aim is to make it a prime location for companies specializing in sustainable development and clean technologies. However, it is a ecosystem home to over 80 species of breeding birds, including herons, birds of prey, songbirds and ducksIt's a popular place for birdwatching. However, the city of Montreal has recently announced that it will protect some of the technopark's land..

The increasing number of glass buildings in the province is a growing problem in the decline of bird populations. In Gatineau, an increasing number of birds have died in recent years after colliding with glass buildings. In Canada, collisions with glass can kill between 16 and 42 million birds a year.

Find out more:


Water and water management 

[expand title="73) Lake degradationexpanded="true"]

The quality of Quebec's lakes has deteriorated over time, due to eutrophication, invasive species and acidification (to find out more, read the "Acidification" section). First and foremost, eutrophication is a natural process whereby an increase in phosphorus in the lake leads to the proliferation of phytoplankton. When it dies, it sinks to the bottom and decomposes - a process that requires oxygen. Over time, a eutrophic lake becomes less transparent, more oxygen-depleted and more full of sediment. While this phenomenon tends to occur in any lake over time, human activities that discharge in the water accelerate this process. Among the major anthropogenic causesThese include the use of fertilizers, shoreline modification, the discharge of wastewater into waterways and the reduction of vegetation cover. Visit lac Saint-Augustin and theac Memphrémagog are just two Quebec lakes undergoing accelerated eutrophication.

There's also the question of invasive species. Invasive species create an imbalance in the native ecosystem, as they increase competition for resources. Among the invasive species These include Eurasian water milfoil, common reed, round goby, snakehead, giant hogweed, zebra mussel, Japanese knotweed, flowering rush, purple loosestrife and goldfish.


[expand title="74) Toxin bioaccumulationexpanded="true"]

Canada throws 3.3 million tonnes of plastic every year where only 9% are recycled, the rest goes to landfill, which is discharged into water systems that can harm marine animals. In 2014, researchers discovered microbeads at the bottom of the St. Lawrence River that threaten the fish, birds and wildlife that consume them by mistake. The study revealed that one liter of sediment taken from the St. Lawrence River contained 1000 pieces of microplastics. The St. Lawrence River is one of the world's worst rivers in terms of microplastic pollution. From microplastics were also found in Lac Saint-Charles. Two-thirds of the samples analyzed were microfibers (from clothes) from the nearby wastewater treatment plant, which does not filter all the particles released by clothes washing.

In addition, the St. Lawrence River contains other pollutantsThese include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), mercury, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). Most of this accumulation of pollutants in the St. Lawrence comes from urban wastewater and agricultural waste.

Toxic blue-green algae a growing problem in Quebec waters. Increased rainfall, which causes runoff into the water, and very hot summers lead to an overabundance of cyanobacteria in the water, which can be harmful to human health.

Find out more:


[expand title="75) Flood maps influenced by policyexpanded="true"]

Visit concerns about flood maps indicate that they are created arbitrarily, with no mention of government assistance in creating appropriate infrastructure. Residents of Pierrefonds, whose area has been placed on the flood map, have seen property values fall and insurance rates rise. They can't even get a permit for minor renovations, improvements or landscaping on their property. This area has not experienced extreme flooding since 2017..

Updated maps show flood risks along the Mille Îles and Prairies rivers, but they may not be adopted for months.This means that construction can continue in these areas, but citizens will wonder whether their homes are in flood zones, and will remain uncertain about the consequences for insurance rates.

Find out more:


[expand title="76) Industrial water useexpanded="true"]

Companies in Montreal's industrial sector pay only a fraction of what it costs in Toronto and other major North American cities to use and discharge drinking water into the sewer system. A typical large Montreal company pays approximately 185,660 $ for its annual water consumption in Anjou, versus 960,000 $ for the same consumption in Toronto. The industries, businesses and institutions use 62 % of water in Montreal, but pay only 55 %, while residents use 38 %, but pay 45 %. 70 $ per million liters of water for companies that use water as a component of their product. It costs 2.50 $ per million gallons of water for companies that use water in their manufacturing process. Also, companies in Quebec pump billions of liters of water a yearHowever, it is difficult to obtain precise figures, as water consumption by companies is a matter of industrial secrecy, making it difficult for the public to have access to the quantity of water pumped by companies. A tax on water has been proposed for 2019, but it would apply to homeowners and residences, not industries.


[expand title="77) Overfishingexpanded="true"]

On a global scale, 31.4 % (3 times more than 40 years ago) of fish stocks have been affected by overfishing. As well as climate change altering the state of the oceans, overfishing is transforming the population of fish in the ocean and their geographical distribution. This can increase fish exposure to pollutants, thus raising methylmercury levels present in many fish (e.g. cod or Atlantic bluefin tuna) consumed by humans. Over the last few decades, Canada has lost half of its total fish populationmainly due to overfishing. In the St. Lawrence River, the best-known case of overfishing involved cod, of which the population fell by nearly 100 %. In 2019, the shortage of fish due to overfishing was so severe that a Saint-Laurent IGAin Montreal, had to close its fish counter for a while.

Unfortunately, overfishing in Quebec does not serve to feed the population, since most of the fish caught is exported, and the population is not able to feed itself. what is consumed in the province is imported from elsewhere.


[expand title="78) Destruction of lakes by mining projectsexpanded="true"]

Fer Québec's Bloom Ore Lake claims that to store 872 million tonnes of residues that it will produce over the next few years of operation, it must destroy lakes, streams, wetlands and woodlands. At least eight lakes will be destroyed. Unfortunately, Quebec does not prohibit such actions, and until recently, the province has gave the green light for the storage of tailings from the Bloom Lake mine

Visit Nouveau Monde graphite mine project, 2.6 km longis located in an ecologically sensitive and touristic area in the watershed of the Lac Taureau regional park. It is the largest and closest recreational lake north of Montreal. This project will dump mineral waste in the Eau Morte stream which, after seven o'clockwill flow into the Matawin River and Lac Taureau. The water is likely to be contaminated with acid due to the 400 tonnes of chemicals which it is estimated will be used annually by the mining project.


[expand title="79) Coastal degradationexpanded="true"]

More frequent storms, mainly due to climate change, accelerates coastal degradation in the province. L'anthropization of coastlines, industrial pollution and off-road vehicle traffic are other causes. It increases the vulnerability of people living on the coasts and along the St. Lawrence River, as more 2100 kilometers of coastline under threat. Over the past ten years, the annual erosion rate of Eastern Quebec coasts has varied from 0.5 to 2 meters.

Private watercraft are having an impact on Quebec's coasts, with an increase in the number and size of boats on the water. The impact of energetic waves stirs up sediment at the bottom of lakes, which can increase the amount of phosphorus in the water.


[expand title="80) Destruction of ecosystems by motorboatsexpanded="true"]

The environmental impact of motorboats are as follows: they can promote the growth of algae and the expulsion of sediments, which can have an impact on water quality. In addition, the chemicals used to clean, protect and operate boats can seep into the water and have a negative impact on marine ecosystems.

On the Lake Memphremagog, a major drinking water reservoirWater activities can affect lake water quality. Although the Quebec Environment Quality Act stipulates that the province may prohibit, limit or restrict the use of motorboats on a lake in order to protect the quality of the environment, people living on Lake Memphremagog have been informed that the use of motorboats is prohibited. lakes are governed by federal legislation. This means that Quebec municipalities have no control over boat activity on the lakes.


[expand title="81) Maritime trafficexpanded="true"]

A Canadian impact assessment has given the green light to expansion of the Contrecoeur container portto be built downstream of Montreal. However, concerned citizens have raised environmental issues that may have been overlooked during the environmental assessment. The project calls for the excavation of more than 750,000 cubic metres of beach near the area. Moreover, erosion was not part of the impact study. In addition, marine species such as the copper redhorse found only in Quebec in a small area of the St. Lawrence and Richelieu rivers, will be affected by this project. Shipping traffic will destroy and/or modify the habitat, and the increase in contaminants caused by shipping activity will influence the species' reproductive system. The population of Western chorus frogs that live on the banks and in the wetlands of the proposed project will also be threatened by the development of shipping.

Find out more:


[expand title="82) Water acidificationexpanded="true"]

The acidification of water refers to a decrease in its pH. Since industrialization, the acidity of the oceans increased by 30 %. One of the causes of this increase is the nitrogen and sulfur deposits emissions from ships, and Quebec seems in no hurry to reduce the number of ships on its territory (to find out more, read the section entitled "Low-Grade Fuel Burning in Shipping Industry"). A more pressing cause of acidification is absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide by water. Remember that Quebec's emissions have not stopped rising (to find out more, read "Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise"). Acidifying molecules can also precipitate and fall as acid rain.

Acidification can cause immense damage to ecosystems. This is because organisms need specific pH levels to function properly. An acidifying ocean can seriously harm phytoplankton, which are responsible for the production of 60 % of terrestrial oxygen. We also found that shellfish showed a higher mortality rate in low pH waters. In the St. Lawrence River, this means that lobsters, prawns, crabs and oysters. are particularly vulnerable. Without a sufficient reduction in our emissions, Quebec's marine species will be seriously threatened.


[expand title="83) Contamination of drinking waterexpanded="true"]

In Quebec, some drinking water is contaminated with lead, but some is also contaminated with PFAS. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substancesare man-made chemicals that can have serious adverse effects on human health, including low birth weight, immune system effects, thyroid hormone disruption and even cancer. Lake Memphremagog, which crosses the border between Quebec and Vermont, is a source of drinking water for 175,000 Quebec citizens contaminated by this substance. It is assumed that thehe source is leachate from the Newport wastewater treatment plant.Vermont, and a four-year moratorium was put in place in 2019 to stop the contamination. However, given that this is the second time since the moratorium that PFAS have been detected in the lake, citizens are fighting for a permanent moratorium which has not yet been accepted.

For lead contamination, the testing method used by Quebec was criticized as imprecise, since it flush taps for five minutes before collecting sample. This greatly underestimates the concentration of lead in tap water, as an independent study has revealed that 466 samples in 96 municipalities had lead concentrations exceeding the limit between 2015 and 2018, which was then 10ppb. In Montreal, 58 % samples had levels exceeding the new Canadian limit of 5ppb. More recently, several First Nations schools and daycares found that the lead concentration in their tap water exceeded the limit, although many were not notified until several months after the results were discovered. Worse still, the solution was to let the water run for 10 minutes every day before school opened. It is important to note that despite the existence of an official limit, no blood lead levels have been identified as safe. In addition, side effects include learning and attention problems, diminished intellectual capacity and behavioral changes.


[expand title="84) Bulk water exportsexpanded="true"]

In June 2018, Quebec announced a water management plan that seemed to close the door on the idea of bulk water exports. Before that, Quebec had a major problem with this issue. For example, in 2017, only nine companies levied 2,084,284,500 liters of water and paid only 145,899,92 $ in royalties. This is due to the fact that, since 2010, water royalties have been from 0.07 $ per 1,000 liters for companies pumping more than 75,000 liters per day. This rate is far too low for a resource that is a common good, and one that will become increasingly scarce with climate change. What's more, exporting water in large quantities jeopardizes aquatic ecosystems and watersheds.

Despite the 2018 planwater continues to be exported en masse. In 2019, there were at least 18 companies which drew more than 75,000 liters of water a day (see list here). This means that at least 1,350,000 liters were extracted per day for just $94.50. What's more, the Ministry of the Environment conceals most informationincluding the exact quantities extracted and their uses. This is simply no way to treat such a precious resource.


[expand title="85) Increased risk of flooding due to urban sprawlexpanded="true"]

Visit Quebec flood map from 2017 to 2019 shows the areas affected by spring flooding. Although most flooding seems to occur in agricultural fields along the coast, an increasing number of residential areas are also subject to spring flooding. Although information on the subject in Quebec is scarce, an interesting report which studied the relationship between urban sprawl and flooding on a global scale, revealed that urban sprawl could exacerbate the effects of flooding, which are ultimately caused by climate change. Urban sprawl refers to the expansion of low-density urban development, where homes and businesses are located further apart than in city centers. The report explains that urban sprawl has led to expansion of development into marshes, wetlands and floodplains. Not only does this mean that more people are living in places prone to flooding, but the concrete coating As a result, floodwaters have found it increasingly difficult to drain away, exacerbating flooding. Given the recent spring flooding in Quebec (for more information, see "Rising sea levels"), any worsening of the situation could have serious consequences.



[expand title="86) A lack of public transportexpanded="true"]

According to a report by the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM), among the CMM and neighboring municipalities, 94 % of workers mainly use a car to get to work. According to Ms. Plante, the reason for this is that neighbouring municipalities are not obliged to comply with the same density rules than the CMM, resulting in low-density, car-dependent neighborhoods. What's needed is better urban planning and transit infrastructure to discourage the use of private vehicles. Meanwhile, the Quebec government continues to focus on road expansion at the expense of public transit. to the detriment of public transit(Rad talks more about this in "L'expansion sans fin des routes"). A study conducted by the David Suzuki Foundation revealed that young Montrealers hesitate to use public transit because it's unreliable and the services aren't flexible.

To combat these shortcomings, Quebec needs to invest in public transport. More frequent schedules and more extensive networks could help the metro, bus and train systems. This could even discourage the use of individual vehicles sufficiently to reduce traffic, which would contribute to the reliability of bus service. Furthermore, the government cannot continue to privatize public transport, which could discourage their use by raising fares for users and proposing routes guided by profit rather than the public interest (for more on this subject, read "Privatized public transport"). For example, the REM project may encroach on the planned expansion of the blue metroThis is because the two lines will now share similar routes, a feature that private REM has conveniently overlooked. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic will have a major impact on transit company revenuesThis pushes them to reduce their service and further contributes to the problem.


[expand title="87) The underestimated environmental impact of electric vehiclesexpanded="true"]

Electric vehicles are presented as the ultimate solution to Quebec's environmental problems, while the negative effects of electric vehicles are conveniently overlooked. The main environmental problem with electric vehicles stems from the lithium required for their batteries. In 2016, a leak at the Ganzizhou Rongda Lithium plant in Tagong led to the release of death of fish, cows and yaks floating down the river after drinking contaminated water. Lithium mining in South AmericaA hole is drilled into the salt flats to pump the mineral-rich brine to the surface. After 12 to 18 months of evaporation and filtration, the lithium can be extracted. In all, it takes around 500,000 gallons of water to produce one ton of lithium. For reference, the battery in a Tesla Model S contains around 12 kilograms of lithiumThis requires approximately 41,670 gallons of water. Evaporation ponds can also release hazardous minerals into the environment. In the NevadaFish 150 miles downstream have been affected by lithium processing. The recycling of lithium batteries is also extremely difficult for a a number of reasonsThis makes recycling them 5 times more expensive than extracting new lithium.

All that said, electric vehicles remain a solution. The transition to electric vehicles was probable and expected. However, it cannot be considered the perfect solution for reducing our impact on the environment - additional efforts are needed to compensate for the disadvantages of electric vehicles. In addition, we need to reduce the overall consumption of personal vehicles by switching to greater use of public transport.

For more information on electric vehicles, follow these links:


[expand title="88) Over-reliance on air transportexpanded="true"]

Starting in 2019, Air Canada no longer offers flights in many regions of Québec, and underserved areas are looking to the government to provide assistance to more regional airlines. The problem for airlines still offering regional services is thatsmall carriers using ageing aircraft which are inefficient in terms of energy consumption and air and noise pollution. What's more, these companies offer services from Montreal to Quebec City, for example, which represents a one-hour flight. A round trip between these two destinations would contribute to the emission of 82.2 KG of CO2 per passenger. In the "2020 Green Economy Plan"In Quebec, the government has earmarked $3.6 billion to reduce emissions from the transportation industry, but there is no mention of reducing emissions from air transport, which accounts for more than half of all emissions. 2.5 % of global CO2 emissions.


[expand title="89) No high-speed trains for inter-regional transportexpanded="true"]

VIA Rail passenger trains in Quebec run from Montreal to Quebec City. However, services are frequently delayed, timetables are inconvenient and the projected time between stations is no more efficient than taking the car. A survey conducted from January 2017 to March 2019 estimated that one in three trains crossing Quebec arrived more than an hour late. The reasons for these delays are passenger trains use the same tracks as freight trains and priority is given to the latter, which limits the availability of service schedules. The "high-frequency train" plan, proposed by VIA Rail, would involve building new tracks or reallocating unused ones, a project that would cost, according to the latest estimates, more than $12 billion. However, the high-frequency trains targeted by VIA Rail would run faster, arriving at their destination some 30 minutes earlier than current trains. In Quebec, the proposed plan would include a additional station in Trois-Rivières.

There has been a reduction in inter-regional transport in Quebecbut little or no funding has been allocated for this.


[expand title="90) A lack of freight transportexpanded="true"]

More than 6302 km of track are located in Quebec. 73 % of these lanes are under federal jurisdiction and 27 % are under provincial jurisdiction. Regulation of freight transport and infrastructure for unloading or delivering goods is weaker in Quebec than in Canada, which requires railroads to carry any product that can legally be transported. The level of rail utilization depends on policies, available technologies and infrastructure availability. Eight years after the derailment of a train carrying crude oil and damaging the town of Lac-Mégantic is still waiting for the bypass project, construction of which is scheduled to begin in 2022. All this while the railroad continues to run through the town, endangering the lives of citizens.

The lack of additional infrastructure can also harm the local economy in the event of rail damage or blockages, as was the case in 2020 when members of the First Nations of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory blocked the tracks. This disrupted freight transport, led to rail worker layoffs and delays that cost companies thousands of dollars in additional costs..


[expand title="91) Increase in the number of vehicles registered each yearexpanded="true"]

Although the city of Montreal has made efforts to be green, its reliance on cars is not leading to adequate GHG reductions. Emissions from road transport account for over a third of Quebec's carbon footprint, and rising, emissions have fallen by only 3.1 % since 1990. Quebec has the second highest number of registered vehicles in the country, with more than 8.9 million vehicles. And this number increases every year. In response to this dependence, Quebec's cars and roads generate spending of more than 51 billion dollars a year. The Quebec government plans to develop 100 kilometers of reserved lanes on main freeways which would be reserved for buses at certain times to encourage public transport. However, the these lanes will not restrict carsThis will make it possible for electric and hybrid vehicles to use them. According to the experts, this plan will onlyfurther encourage the use of private vehiclesThere will be more possibilities and more space to drive.


[expand title="92) STM Blue Line extension project postponedexpanded="true"]

The extension of Montreal's STM Blue Line to Saint-Léonard and Anjou has been promised for over thirty years. Now that it's underway, the project is behind schedule by more thanat least 18 months due to the construction of the REM de l'Est in this area. This project is expected to cost 600 million dollars. Initially, the construction of this extension was placed on a fast track under Bill 61, but the CAQ government abandoned this project. The Saint-Léonard area has been waiting a long time for the extension of the Blue Line, because this project would bring more sidewalks, 200 trees and more public spaces, but this has all been postponed due to delays. The government of CAQ also expressed concern as to the construction of the REM, which would be built in an area similar to that of the Blue Line, as it does not want to duplicate the service, which would force the City of Montreal to re-evaluate its plan to optimize the project. It is likely that this extension project will not be ready by the scheduled date of 2026..


[expand title="93) Increase in SUV market shareexpanded="true"]

The number of SUVs purchased in Quebec continues to rise. Sales of these vehicles represent 70 % market share in the province. According to data from the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, the number of SUVs in Québec has jumped by more than 260 % since 1990. More cars on the road means more congestionThis doubles journey times and increases the rate of traffic jams. And because of their size, they increase greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Internal Energy Agency, the manufacture of SUVs is the second-largest contributor to global CO2 emissions since 2010after the electricity sector. However, the There are no plans to reduce advertising for these vehicles, and SUV sales will continue to grow.


[expand title="94) Lack of active transportation infrastructureexpanded="true"]

In order to reduce emissions in the transport sectorQuebec should be encouraging its citizens to adopt active modes of transport such as walking, cycling, in-line skating, skating and so on. Yet, at least in the Montreal region, 94 % of people mainly use a car to get to work. A study conducted among Montreal students revealed that, although 75 % of them hope for a multimodal future, many are discouraged from using active transportation due to their vulnerability to traffic, accidents and weather conditions. While weather is essentially uncontrollable, the other two factors that limit young people's participation in active transportation can be corrected by better urban planning.

In 2019, 71 pedestrians and 8 cyclists were killed in road accidentsIn all, 210 pedestrians and 56 cyclists were seriously injured, and over 4,000 suffered minor injuries. With these statistics, it's hardly surprising that citizens don't feel safe. To combat this phenomenon, initiatives must be taken to facilitate active transportation. However, it is possible to have poorly planned initiatives if the population is not consulted - a host of projects aimed at facilitating active transportation across Quebec have failed. Increasing the number of bike lanes, redesigning intersections, lowering speed limits, integrating multimodal networks, building balcidoos... while all good ideas in theory, public consultation is essential to identify the best solutions to today's transportation problems. Not to mention the fact that low-density urban planning depends on the use of personal vehicles, so priority must be given to high-density urban planning (to find out more, read "Road expansion without end").


[expand title="95) Few tolls on the roadsexpanded="true"]

In particular, Québec is toll-free on the roads. With the exception of Highway 30 and autoroute 25 bridgeThere are virtually no tolls on Quebec roads. Toll rates range from 1.20 $ to 3.46 $ (for those with a customer account, otherwise it's 9.24 $) for category 1 vehicles. At both tolls, electric vehicles are exempt. This creates an incentive to drive electric vehicles, which is in line with the Plan 2030 for a green economye. However, given that there are only two tolls in Quebec, the incentive is still quite low.

This is the case even without driving an electric vehicle. Increased tolls can not only alleviate the expense of roadworks (read "The never-ending road expansion" for more on this), but can also serve to encourage Quebecers to opt for public transit. This may be particularly important given that Quebec's carbon tax is arguably low (for more on this, read "Carbon tax not high enough to encourage behavior change"). Quebec drivers are hardly taxed at all, with the exception of the 3¢ per liter imposed on Montreal drivers. Overall, Quebec lags far behind in encouraging sustainable travel. Increasing the number of toll roads could be a simple first step.


[expand title="96) Less privatized public transportexpanded="true"]

In recent years, the question of privatizing public transit in Quebec has been raised. In particular, the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) project, a light-rail train in Montreal to be owned and operated by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)which manages Quebec's pension plans) for 99 years. The project is criticized for being financed by the private sector, the CUPE arguing that CDPQ is more concerned with making profits than serving the public good. This means that rates are likely to rise, that the public will be less involved in the decision-making process and that social priorities such as reducing greenhouse gases will be neglected. CUPE members will also suffer, as privatization will foster downward pressure on wages and working conditions, with some maintenance work even being outsourced to reduce CDPQ's expenses. In addition, its integration into Montreal's existing public transit system will make it difficult to expand public transit networks, and will also hinder connectivity between existing networks.

On the whole, transit privatization does not benefit the public. By creating more obstacles for users, it can discourage the use of public transit. At a time when we need to bring about ecological change, privatizing public transit is a step backwards.


[expand title="97) User fees too highexpanded="true"]

Although the Plan 2030 pour une économie verte du Québec emissions in the transportation sector, Quebec's strategy is to electrify the industry rather than encourage drivers to drive. to use public transit. This is clearly reflected in the fact that user fees in Quebec remain comparatively high. For example, the cost of a single bus ticket in Montreal is 3.50 $. Compared with major cities in other provinces, this is the highest fare for a single bus pass, tied with Calgary. A monthly bus pass in Montreal costs 90.50 $. Compared to major cities in other provinces, prices in Montreal are much better, with costs lower than a monthly bus pass at Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. . however, a study carried out in the United States shows that the average price of a bus pass in major American cities is 67.07 $ US, or 81.12 CAD.

Montreal's ARTM has a habit of raising fares. In 2013, demonstrators denounced the 3 $ bus fare. Between 2004 and 2014, single bus fares rose by increased by 20 %. From 2013 to 2021, the cost of a single bus pass rose by 16.6 %. Apparently, these continuous increases reflect inflation ratesThis is a consequence of the privatization of public transport (to find out more, see "Privatized public transport"). If Quebec's goal is to reduce emissions in the transportation sector, increasing the cost of public transit is not the way to achieve it.


[expand title="98) The endless extension of roadsexpanded="true"]

The Quebec government seems to be putting a lot of effort into road infrastructure - perhaps too much. In the Plan québécois des infrastructures (PQI) 2021-2031, Quebec devotes $28 billion to asphalt, i.e. road rehabilitation and construction, versus $12.8 billion to public transit (read here). This represents a 3 % of expenses in public transit compared with the last budget. In the Quebec Infrastructure Plan 2021-20222.6 billion is being invested to "ensure the road network remains in good condition. "Of this amount, $471.4 million is earmarked for the construction of new lanes at the flexibility and reliability of the public transit network, as well as increasing subsidies to reduce fares (see "Fares too high"). This would encourage more motorists to switch to public transport, easing congestion on the roads and eliminating the need to build new lanes.

Urban sprawl is also largely responsible for Quebecers' dependence on personal vehicles. Poorly planned, sparsely populated suburbs leave residents dependent on the use of their personal vehicles to get to work. Of the 82 municipalities in the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal and the 100,000 other commuters in border municipalities, 94 % mainly use a car to get to work. Better urban planning is needed to discourage the use of personal vehicles, a phenomenon that is a major contributor to the environmental problems of our cities. Quebec's greenhouse gas emissions. With better support, building new roads could finally become a thing of the past.


[expand title="99) No regulations for private yachtsexpanded="true"]

In 2019, a project by the Saint-Benoît Yacht Club has raised concerns. among residents of Sargent Bay and Lake Memphremagog, as they wanted permission from the Ministry of the Environment to install 99 sites only in front of their property (up to 150 meters from the shore) to avoid paying rental fees. Residents living in the area feared that their quality of life would suffer from the increased number of boats on the waterfront. Although the project was rejected by a judge, the municipality was at fault, as it had initially allowed the project to go ahead and had granted permits to the Saint-Benoît Yacht Club.

Speed limits for private boats and ships in Canada, particularly along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, fluctuate. depending on whether a whale is spotted or not, which can lead to inconsistencies for drivers. In 2019, six vessels, including a luxury yacht, were fined for exceeding the speed limitThis can increase shipping traffic around sites frequented by North Atlantic whales. In addition, although there is a limit to the protected areas, there is no consistency in speed limits around these zonesThis means the whales run the risk of being struck.



[expand title="100) Disruption of the forest's natural cycleexpanded="true"]

One of the resources consumed by government organizations is paper.. Ironically, since the advent of technology, paper consumption in government has actually increased. It's just one of many resources that require additional tree-cutting. In Canada, every minute, an area of boreal forest (the size of seven NHL field hockey rinks) is felled. Instead of protecting the remaining forest areas, the Ministry of Forests plans to doubling forestry activities by 2080. An increase of almost 15 % in logging activity is expected over the next five years. In addition, Pierre Dufour, Minister of Forestry, stated that cutting down more trees would be a solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. His argument was that Quebec would increase the amount of wood harvested (which would store carbon in the future) and open up more forests for harvesting (as younger trees could absorb more carbon) and increase government incentives. Increased forestry activity could also lead to forest harvestingAccording to the Forest Stewardship Council, these forests are supposed to be sustainably managed. In reality, forest areas are generally left littered with forest residues and tree trunks.

As logging increases, so does the amount of unused forest product waste. Quebec mills produce nearly four million tonnes of bark a year, but only half of this is exported or used as a by-product and Quebec's forest industry has nowhere to put it.


[expand title="101) Job losses due to automationexpanded="true"]

According to a study conducted by IRISjobs in the forestry sector have declined sharply in recent years. Between 2001 and 2018, employment fell from 94,000 to 59,900, excluding self-employed forestry workers. These losses include a decrease of 53 % in logging, 37 % in paper manufacturing and 27 % in wood manufacturing. While the small loss in wood manufacturing can be attributed to a number of factors, the loss in paper manufacturing can be at least partially linked to electronization. More importantly, the loss of logging jobs can be attributed to the automation of the forest industry. An episode of Radio-Canada's "Semaine verte" entitled "Automation of forestry machinery"explores the speed and scale of automation in the forestry industry. From one worker driving two vehicles, to the projected possibility of trucks driving themselves, it seems that the need for employees in the industry will continue to diminish as automation increases, coupled with a significant labor shortage.

What's more, the forest industry's objectives are changing. In the documentaryBoreal ErrorIn the past, the purpose of forestry in Quebec seemed to be to employ the population. Today, its sole purpose seems to be to generate economic growth (to find out more, read "Corporate control of the forest industry").


[expand title="102) Indigenous rights ignored by industryexpanded="true"]

In 2020, Quebec announced a major expansion of protected areas in Eeyou Istchee, the Cree homeland, which would increase the area from 12 to 24 %. However, the this expansion does not provide sufficient protection in the region Broadback, one of the last unspoiled forests in the Cree territory, a refuge for boreal caribou and one of the world's largest the world's most carbon-dense places. 30,000 km of logging roads mark the landscape around this region, so Broadback is likely to become part of it. The addition of protected areas in areas reserved for the forestry industry is also raising concerns in the forestry industry, which is denouncing possible job losses in the industry, whereas for First Nations, it's a question of protecting their ancestral lands.

Companies, which continue to dominate logging practices in many of Canada's forests, rare failing to operate sustainably and respect the rights of indigenous populations without the solid, binding protection that government intervention can provide. This is also the case for Atikamekw communities, who receive financial assistance from the Ministry of Forests to help them participate in various forestry consultations. However, First Nations' recommendations or development plans are often ignored, and forest areas are often cut no matter what. Moreover, when aboriginal peoples are involved in forest management, they are not recognized for their achievements over the years.


[expand title="103) Loss of urban forestsexpanded="true"]

Increased residential construction and infrastructure development and renovation in the province have increased the loss of urban forests. Building in forested areas doesn't just reduce the vegetation coverIt also damages tree roots, which can persist for many years, reducing the chances of tree regrowth. A forest is being cut down in Saint-Jérôme In Point Claire, the Cadillac Fairview Corporation, in collaboration with Ivanhoe Cambridge of the Fairview shopping center, proposed a "green" residential development. convert Fairview Forest into a 50-hectare development. This forested area is not only an important green space for citizens, but it is also home to a variety of trees and wildlife, including foxes, owls, snakes and birds of prey.. Moreover, cutting down the forest would only intensify the heat island effectwhich is already a problem in the Fairview area.

Many projects involving the loss of urban forests are carried out without public consultation. For example, at the entrance to Quebec City's Jean Lesage International Airport, more than 500 trees to be felled to make way for a 1.2 million square metre development park. In addition to the loss of forest, citizens are concerned about the increase in aircraft noise, which was previously blocked by forest cover. However, citizens were not consulted, as they only learned of the project when deforestation had already begun.

However, even when there is a public consultation, it doesn't always have an effect in favor of citizens. For example, in 2008, the Lac Kénogami region forest was declared a protected area, but in December 2020 the trees were felled anyway. Kénogami residents are fighting to protect the forest, home to trees over 400 years old, and feel that the Ministry's public consultation is having no effect.


[expand title="104) Pollution from sawmills and paper millsexpanded="true"]

In Quebec, the paper and pulp mills top of the list of the province's most polluting industries, emitting millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Between 2012 and 2019, the Domtar paper mill will has almost doubled its greenhouse gas emissionsfrom 70,000 to 130,000 tonnes during this period. The Westrock paper company in Trois-Rivières issues 1.25 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, more than the Quebec City and Montreal refineries.

Sawdust particles from the sawing process are dispersed in the air and can be dangerous if deposited in people's lungs. Visit sawmills also emit toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. What's more, if they're located near water, runoff from sawmills can harm the biodiversity of these areas.


[expand title="105) Disturbance of woodland caribou habitatexpanded="true"]

Increased logging leaves behind degraded forests and disturbed soils, reducing the forest's growth potential. As a result, it drives woodland caribou to extinction. In Charlevoix, less than twenty caribou in 2020, and the Gaspésie mountain caribou, whose population numbered around 150 ten years ago, is no longer present. than fifty in the region. In Val D'Or less than 10 caribou. In 2018, the Québec government has refused to fund efforts to protect woodland caribou. Environmentalists claim that the forest industry's short-term gain doesn't come close to the parks that are home not only to caribouBut they will also attract tourists and hunters all year round.

What's more, when the government rejected 83 proposals for protected areas in 2020, it's clear that he's given priority to protecting the forest industry over protecting wildlife (to find out more, read "Protected areas only in the North"). Pipmuakanwhich has been excluded from government protected areas, is home to 140 caribou and represents one of the southernmost populations. In February 2022, two Innu communities in Quebec sued the Quebec government.In the case of the Lac-Saint-Jean and Côte-Nord regions, the province had not fulfilled its responsibility to protect the caribou. Clearly, woodland caribou are literally being sacrificed in the name of logging.


[expand title="106) Lack of responsibility and controlexpanded="true"]

The Quebec government allows the forest industry to establish the market value of wood cut on public land, costing the province millions of dollars in forest royalties because companies fail to declare up to 25 % of the bill. Since there is no official government intervention in the forest industry, sampling, the weight of wood handled, the quality of wood declared as inferior to reality are all ways in which companies falsify figures to make extra profit. Le wood prices have risen threefold more than at the beginning of 2021, yet timber producers are not seeing the benefits. However the Quebec government does not want to discuss forest management to regulate the price and discuss the distribution of wealth among private owners. In addition to the increase in the price of wood, the wood does not stay in the province to be used by Quebecers. it is exported to the United StatesThis has led to a shortage of wood in Quebec.

Environmentalists are protesting this lack of management of Quebec's forests because of the destruction of biodiversity in the region. They claim that the Ministry of Forests is too preoccupied with the forest's economic motives rather than the environment..


[expand title="107) Timber subsidiesexpanded="true"]

In 2018, the Trump administration imposed a tariff of 20 % on Canadian lumber after allegations that Canadian lumber was iSubsidized adjustment. The argument, essentially, is that Quebec forestry operations are carried out on public land with low harvesting costsAmerican wood is harvested on private land. Quebec lumber is therefore less expensive than American lumber, so the tariff in place puts both suppliers on an equal footing. However, in 2020, the World Trade Organization ruled that the tariffs were unfounded, because softwood lumber from Ontario and Quebec is not subsidized by Canada, which has led to a 9 % reduction in customs duties in December.

If Quebec nie subsidize industry, the government still seems to subsidize it, only it does so indirectly. For example, between 2019 and 2020, the Quebec government spent 100 million dollars for the construction of logging roads under the guise of multi-use roads. By claiming that they can be used by anyone, Quebec claims not to be subsidizing the industry, thus avoiding customs tariffs in the United States. Meanwhile, a episode published by RADIO-CANADA shows that these roads really are in the middle of nowhere, with nothing nearby but La Patate du Gouin. Although the roads can be used by anyone, it's clear that their primary intention is to serve the forestry industry.


[expand title="108) Forest road constructionexpanded="true"]

In March 2021, Québec will have 468,000 km of forest roads, enough to circle the planet 10.5 times. Following the documentary The Boreal Error that Quebec's forestry companies have begun to reduce the size of their cutting sites to make the landscape more visually appealing, but this has necessitated the construction of logging roads to access the new sites. This has serious consequences for the environment. Not only do dispersed sites require additional travel, thus increasing the diesel consumptionBut they also seriously damage biodiversity. Unlike a clear-cut forest, which may eventually grow back, paved roads don't allow trees to regrow. As a result, logging roads leave their mark on Quebec's forests. What's more, their construction can also affect animals. In 2020, a proposed 126-kilometre logging road in Cree territory would have cut in half the habitat of three caribou herds, a species whose numbers are already declining. Bare roads help predatorsmaking their prey increasingly vulnerable. Even today, the construction of new logging roads continues. In May 2021, a logging road in Charlesbourg is scheduled to undergo an expansion that would threaten nine wetlands, ten terrestrial environments and seven rivers114,000 sq.m. at risk.

For more information, consult these resources:


[expand title="109) Impact of forestry operations on tourismexpanded="true"]

Northeast of Lac Saint-Jean, a logging project is proposed to begin this summer. The Péribonka River, where the project would take place, has been proposed as a protected area for protect 80 km of river including a rare forest ecosystem in Quebec. This proposal was one of 83 protected area projects which were rejected by the Legault government, which authorized logging in the area. Ironically, the government has granted grants for the development of ecotourism and adventure tourism in Quebecwhile the logging project would be carried out at the site planned for recreational tourism, and would destroy tourism potential along the Péribonka River and Lake Tchitogama. And more, roads and infrastructures will have to be built to access the areas where the trees will be cut. However, logging projects in this region have been put on hold this year by the Quebec government.which is committed to registering this region as a protected area.

The logging project destroys and reduces trail quality popular hiking trails such as the Récré-eau des Quinze in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Clearcutting of this area was said to be necessary because of the spruce budworm infestation.

Residents of the Écodomaine des Forges were surprised to see trees cut by Hydro-Québec along a bicycle path. Hydro-Québec stated that the trees were too tall and could impact power lines. The project had been postponed due to the pandemic, and citizens were not reconsulted.


[expand title="110) Protected areas only in the Northexpanded="true"]

Quebec was held by theAichi Goal 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to protect 17 % of land and freshwater representative of Quebec's global biodiversity by 2020. As a result, Quebec will is committed to protecting 20 % of the Plan Nord territory (including at least 12 % of boreal forest north of the 49th parallel) and to establish a representative network of protected areas covering at least 10 % of the estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence. As of January 1, 2021, Quebec had protected 17.03 % of its territorye, but notably lacked protected areas under the northern limit of forest allocations.

Firstly, this area is not representative of Quebec's biodiversity if most of the protected area is in the north (for more information, see "% conservation objectives"). Worse still, the chosen protected areas conveniently allow logging activities to continue undisturbed. Quebec is doing the extraordinary by appearing to respect its international environmental commitments while simultaneously giving priority to cutting down forests rather than protecting them. By strategically protecting areas that do not interfere with the province's economic objectives, Quebec masks its unsustainable practices under the guise of environmental protection.


[expand title="111) Unsustainable biomass practicesexpanded="true"]

In 2011, 0 % from biomass of residues has seen its potential energy realized. In forestry residues refers to tree debris that remains after logging. This residual material is apparently what is used today to generate biomass energy. While the increase in the use of residues is impressive, Quebec apparently wants to go further lawn Cutting white birch, red maple and aspen for energy, increasing the harvest of unwanted trees.

Felling trees for the sole purpose of burning them is by no means sustainable, and burning biomass is not considered a sustainable option. Wood debris are essential to the habitats of hundreds of speciesincluding woodpeckers and fungi. Cutting down trees also releases the carbon dioxide stored in their tissues. What's worrying is that this carbon dioxide is not taken into account in greenhouse gas emission inventories, because it is assumed that it will be absorbed by the forest or by the necessary reforestation. This assumption is misleading for two reasons. Firstly, if trees continue to be harvested, forests will not be able to absorb all the carbon that has been released. Secondly, the Quebec government does not check how many trees are replanted. While biomass energy may be a step in the right direction, better management is needed to ensure its sustainability.


[expand title="112) Corporate control of the forest industryexpanded="true"]

The forest industry is almost entirely controlled by foresters and companies, rather than by the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs. At the same time, Quebec's forests are a public good and must be carefully protected to help maintain biodiversity and mitigate climate change. Yet the ministry, which has more than 2,000 forestry employeesis submitted to the industry. A Radio-Canada episode entitled "Money grows on trees has revealed the secrets of the forestry industry. Firstly, it seems that around 25 % of cut wood is not accounted for, and that reforestation is overestimated (to find out more, read "Lack of responsibility and monitoring"). It has been stated that the Quebec government has not no way of knowing what percentage of our forests is virgin or how many trees are being replanted. The Ministry of Forests is also highly influenced politically by industry lobbyists - they had financed the survey, but withdrew after the results were revealed.

The fact that forest control is dominated by industry can have serious repercussions for the environment. The Ministry and the Vice-Ministry both show a disproportionate economic interestThere are many more meetings with industry than with environmental groups. Some "special ordersIn order to keep them in business, companies that fail to comply with environmental standards are given a "green light". Without proper monitoring, there's no way of guaranteeing sustainable forest management. When those charged with protecting forests serve the interests of those who want to destroy them, something must be done. Inquiries into forestry in Quebec are useful, but they are meaningless if nothing is done about them.



[expand title="113) Lack of regulation of the mining industryexpanded="true"]

Quebec's mining industry faces a number of legislative challenges. Firstly, there is no not required that all proposed new mining projects go through a BAPE (Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement). In itself, this wouldn't necessarily be a problem if there were some sort of legal force to ensure that mining companies respected environmental issues, but that's not the case. The guideline 019 establishes a list of recommended guidelines to which mining companies must adhere, but it is not legally binding. For example, Directive 019 provides a framework for the proper management of residuesThis is a growing issue in the province (for more information, see "Destruction of lakes"). However, this framework has no legal basis. As a result, the government has entrusted mining companies with policing their own operations, rather than enforcing environmental regulations. Between problems with Iron ore Quebec and New World GraphiteBut that's clearly not enough.

For real safety, Quebec needs environmental regulations that are legally binding. This will become increasingly important as Quebec continues to electrify the transportation industry.


[expand title="114) Surface water pollutionexpanded="true"]

Surface water pollution caused by mining comes from acid mine drainage (sulfuric acid is produced when sulfides in rocks are exposed to air and water), heavy metal contamination and leaching, processed chemicals that spill, leak or leach into water, and erosion and sedimentation. Disposal of waste from mining activities is prohibited. unless a permit is issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada's Ocean Disposal Program - a program that specifies the non-hazardous wastes that may be considered for disposal in water. Despite these regulations, some mining projects do not have adequate waste management plans. Here are a few examples, the Champion iron mine at Bloom Lake plans to dispose of mine tailings in nearby waters, which would have a negative impact on 151 hectares of lakes and rivers. The Bécancour River at Thetford Mines, which is bordered by mountains of asbestos mine tailings, has increased sediment from landfills, as well as fecal coliform contamination (caused by years of sewage spills), which, if not cleaned up, will continue to contaminate the lake into which the river flows. It is estimated that cleaning up the river would cost $2 million.

Many Saint-Michel-des-Saints residents oppose Nouveau Monde graphite mining projectThey fear that the mine's waste will contaminate and increase the flow of acidic liquids into Lac Taureau, which boasts 240 km of shoreline and sandy beaches, and is an important vacation and leisure destination.


[expand title="115) The destruction of lakesexpanded="true"]

In the past, mining projects have contributed to the destruction of lakes, and this practice continues today. As we explained in the section "Lack of regulation in the mining industry", there is virtually no legal way to prevent mining companies from committing environmental damage. Recently, Champion Iron declared its intention to stockpile 872 million tonnes into Bloom Lake, destroying eight lakes and affecting 38, 41 streams and rivers. nearly 75 hectares of wetlands. Tailings are the residual materials left over from mining operations. fine particles which can release toxins, increase erosion and contaminate water and soil. Unsurprisingly, the French Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change (MELCC) has declared that there is no no bans fill in lakes or other water reserves. This is an important issue for the Quebec Green Party, which has already taken a stand to stop this mining project.

Similarly, Nouveau Monde have proposed a 2.6-kilometre open-pit mine in the basin Lac Taureau watershed. The project is based on experimental measurements to prevent acid-rich waste from affecting the lake. In 2018, the government also authorized the ArcelorMittal projectwhich was to destroy 11 lakes, 15 ponds and 25 streams. Mining projects are constantly destroying the surrounding lakes, and the Quebec government allows this to happen with no environmental regulations. While seemingly powerless, the government has the power to enforce restrictions.


[expand title="116) Impact on the local environmentexpanded="true"]

Mining has many environmental impacts. Waste rock and tailings may be discharged into water or soil. When rocks are dug up and crushed, they can release a significant amount of dust into the air. In addition, mine tailings, which may contain toxic waste, can become airborne. These two phenomena can have an impact on human health. Road construction and the use of heavy machinery can destroy wildlife habitat. Birds and other wildlife can be poisoned if they drink contaminated water found in tailings ponds.. In Alberta, more than 100 birds died after being found near an oil sands tailings pond. There have also been reports of trout, salmon and other aquatic organisms dying as a result of increased sedimentation or water acidity caused by mining activities. At In British Columbia, the trout population declined by 93 % downstream of Teck's Elk Valley coal mines..

The proposed iron mine on Bloom Lake in Fermont will destroy lakes, rivers, wetlands and woodlands to store 872 million tonnes of tailings. Environmental organizations believe that the mining company has not proposed sufficient solutions or alternatives to its environmental destructionespecially since there is already a record of environmental damage caused by another mining project in the same region in 2014. The graphite project Nouveau Monde has received the go-ahead to begin mining operations while several studies concerning the risk of water pollution, acid waste management and the overall environmental impact of this mine were absent.


[expand title="117) Subsidies to the mining industryexpanded="true"]

The Québec government supports the mining industry with a wide range of tax incentives companies engaged in exploration and mining activities in the province. The combined corporate tax rate in Quebec is 26.6 % (starting in 2019), which is one of the lowest in North America. This allows the mining industry to operate competitively, while providing the Quebec government with fair compensation for the minerals extracted. A study that analyzed the amount of subsidies granted to industries in Canada from 2010 to 2016 indicated that the Quebec is the province that spends the most on subsidies ($44.3 billion for this period).

In 2020, the Quebec government launched the Plan québécois de développement des minéraux critiques et stratégiques (PMCS) to promote the development of minerals used in technology and green energy over the next five years. As part of this plan, the government will provide subsidies to companies for training costs and the payment of workers' wages. The federal government has announced thatit would pay a wage subsidy to mine workers who were unable to work during the pandemic. Not only does the government want to support the thousands of people whose jobs depend on the mining sector, it also wants to enable mining activities to resume in the country. These subsidies encourage a highly polluting sector that has a huge and negative impact on the environment. The province should instead direct its investments towards renewable energies, for example.


[expand title="Railway constructionexpanded="true"]

In 2020, the Cree Nation and the Quebec government signed the Grand Alliance agreement, which would allow the planning and execution of a 30-year infrastructure program to facilitate the transportation of people and goods. As part of this agreement, the rail network would be extended to reduce the negative impacts of trucking. In addition, Premier Legault believes that this infrastructure will enable new nations to take advantage of northern Quebec's mining potential.

According to Premier Legault, a proposed 800-km rail line linking the port of Sept-Îles to a mining region north of Schefferville, Quebec, is important because it would give mining companies easy access to untapped lithium deposits.

In 2020, the Quebec government awarded a 150,000 $ grant to Val-d'Or-based Minrail for the development of a new mining system, which will bring together a series of machines that can be moved around the mines by rail.


[expand title="118) Mining for electric vehicles (EVs)expanded="true"]

As described in the sections "Inadequate plan to reduce emissions" and "Underestimated environmental impacts of electric vehicles", EV mining could be seriously polluting. In these sections, the impacts of lithium extraction from salt flats have been explored, although Quebec lithium is mainly extracted from pegmatites. Although this product does not drain water and does not risk contaminating nearby ecosystems as brine does, extracting lithium from pegmatites is not an entirely ecological solution: it requires nearly three times more carbon dioxide to produce a tonne of lithium carbonate equivalent than extraction from brine. It has been found that the carbon dioxide intensity of battery-grade lithium hydroxide is also seven times greater for lithium extracted from pegmatites. But that doesn't mean other environmental impacts can't occur. Between 2013 and 2018, the North American Lithium mining company in Quebec caused more than 80 environmental accidents, leaking hundreds of thousands of liters lithium sulfate, hydraulic oil, diesel and other pollutants into the surrounding groundwater.

While Quebec tries to be a leader in green EVs by encouraging sustainability at every link in the supply chainExcessive mining is never green. Even with the most environmentally friendly options, as long as mining persists, so does the potential environmental damage associated with it.


[expand title="119) Mining companies fail to implement clean-up measuresexpanded="true"]

According to the Quebec Mining ActUnder the Mining Act, mining companies are responsible for drawing up a plan to restore and rehabilitate mining sites before the start of operations, and for doing so within three years of the end of operations. It's surprising, then, that Quebec has so many abandoned mines that the government itself has to pay to clean up. According to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, there are still over 400 sites to be inspected and restored that are under the "real and probable responsibility" of the state. Since 2006, $178.5 million of public money has been invested in restoring mining sites, even though these are supposed to be the responsibility of the mining companies. Meanwhile, the "liability" value of these sites remains at $1.2 billion, the same as in 2010-2011. The 2013 amendment to the Mining Act requires mining companies to provide the 100% government with remediation costs, however, this does not necessarily put the responsibility for mine cleanup in their hands. Even if the costs are covered by the mining companies, it may be some time before Quebec "catches up" with recently abandoned projects, while there are still 400 sites to clean up first.

Time will tell whether the amendments will relieve Quebec of its abandoned mines, although stronger legislation requiring companies to be responsible for actual cleanup could be a stronger means of enforcing proper management.

Here's a list abandoned mine sites and their current stage in the restoration process.


[expand title="120) Lack of local autonomyexpanded="true"]

In Canada, provincial governments are responsible for regulating mining operations in their jurisdictions. The federal government's involvement is limited and concerns the uranium nuclear fuel cycle, mining activities related to federal Crown corporations, as well as activities on federal lands and in offshore areas. Municipalities have no say in the location of mining activities, nor in the proximity of mineral exploration and mining operations. As in the case of Montebello, where residents fear that mining projects will affect their local environment and tourist activities. They have written to the Quebec Ministry of Energy and Resources to ensure that residents and tourism operators are consulted before mining projects begin.

The Quebec government has revised its guidelines for municipal powersUnder the new legislation, regional county municipalities can exercise new land-use planning powers and identify areas incompatible with mining activity in their land-use and development plans. However, the we believe that despite this new power, the Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles and the Québec government have established strict guidelines that leave little room for manoeuvre for local decision-makers.The Pinnacle, Sutton and Hereford mountains in the Eastern Townships have not been protected from mining activity.


[expand title="121) Harassment of towns by mining companiesexpanded="true"]

In Quebec, mining companies have fought hard against towns and communities to ensure that their projects go ahead, despite towns' fears of environmental disruption or damage. In the case of Canada Carbon Inc.'s "Miller project" in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, the mining company received authorization to operate in the municipality from the previous council, but in the following election, a whole new slate of council members was elected by the public with a mandate toto prevent the mining project in their town the Miller project was sorely lacking in social acceptability. Environmental concerns, such as water contamination and noise from explosions, were expressed. The Board therefore adopted a new resolution so that the mine no longer complied with regulations. In response, Canada Carbon Inc. sued the city for $96 million in lost profits from the mine. finally won. The Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) conducted an investigation to determine the social acceptability of the project, but the recommendations made by the BAPE are not legally binding and would therefore not necessarily encourage the company to change. In addition, the municipality has commissioned studies to determine whether the water would be contaminated, whether there would be any potential impact on farmland and whether the health of the forests would be threatened, but these studies could not be carried out because the company refused access to its property.

A similar situation arose between Nouveau Monde Graphite and the Atikamekw. The government had approved the project while key environmental studies were missing, as was consultation with the Atikamekw. The community erected a roadblock to dissuade the workers, who apparently switched to the bulldozer.


[expand title="122) Expropriation for miningexpanded="true"]

According to the Quebec Mining Act, the area of land intended for mining activities must consist of a single perimeter with a maximum surface area of 100 hectares (unless special authorization is granted by the Minister). For peat production, the area must not exceed 300 hectares. If a proposed project is located within a municipality, zoning and property tax laws must be respected. An open-pit mine must be located a minimum of 600 m from a dwelling or a minimum of 150 m in the case of a new mining project. These distances have raised concerns in many municipalities. In the Petite Nation region of the Outaouais, residents fear that a graphite mining project close to neighbouring towns does not affect their quality of life, as well as recreational and tourist activities, because of potential contamination of lakes and rivers. In Chibougamau, Vanadium One Iron Corp plans to operate an iron mine at 18 kilometers from the town center.



[expand title="123) Inadequate wastewater treatment infrastructureexpanded="true"]

Quebec has notoriously authorized the discharge of wastewater into its natural waterways, simply because there is no other option (for more information, see "Approved wastewater discharge"). A simple solution, at least for accidental overflows during periods of heavy rainfall, would be toincrease the province's absorption capacity, for example, by planting more trees and creating more green spaces. Indeed, the concrete coating prevents water from draining naturally, reducing the soil's capacity to absorb excess water.

In March 2021, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu discharged wastewater for the fourth time in three years210 million liters in 2019. This was apparently due to maintenance work necessary to avoid future overflows, but there must be better ways of carrying out such work. Future water treatment facilities should certainly be built to avoid overflows from the outset, although having plans for emergency procedures should also be customized. March 2021, 80 municipalities still lacked wastewater treatment facilities. In addition, many municipalities do not comply with regulatory standards in this areaThis indicates that the government should strive to enforce these standards legally. In addition, existing wastewater treatment plants must be upgradednot only to remedy their ageing process, but also to be able to deal with new, harmful compounds.

To find out more about this issue, click here.


[expand title="124) Accelerated sacrifice of wetlandsexpanded="true"]

With the implementation of Bill 66, construction projects are being pushed through the province with little consideration for environmental risks. This will accelerate 181 infrastructure projects across the provinceincluding the extension of the REM project. Many environmental groups are concerned about the environmental consequences of these accelerated projects. Projects with modern or low environmental risks will be allowed to go ahead. and will only be required to provide environmental assessments halfway through construction. The risk of this acceleration is that some projects will result in the loss of wetlands or water bodies, threatening already vulnerable species.. In addition, the bill will limit citizen participation in decision-making on certain projects.

Passage of the bill was also controversial. Two of the three opposition parties voted against the bill Québec Solidaire and the Parti Québécois. The Liberal Party supported the bill, believing that certain strict environmental rules were needed to protect the environment. can be neglected in the name of economic recovery. The consensus is clear: Bill 66 will definitely have a negative impact on the environment.


[expand title="125) A lack of infrastructure for renewable energiesexpanded="true"]

Although 95 % de l'énergie du Québec is currently supplied by hydroelectric dams, 70 % of our greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil fuels. energy sector. Worse still, Hydro-Québec has revealed that its dams have capacity to supply energy until 2026 and electricity until 2025. To meet its energy needs, Quebec seems more than willing to invest in natural gas, but what about non-carbon-based renewable energies?

Although the issue of privatized wind farms is currently on the agenda, some municipalities in the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie regions have experienced a great success in the implementation of wind energy. In addition, energy efficiency ratio (the amount of energy produced relative to the amount needed to obtain it) is much higher for wind power than for fossil fuels; 35 to 70 versus 3 to 30 respectively. This is due to the fact that fossil fuels require more energy over time, as they become more difficult to extract.

As far as solar energy is concerned, it currently represents less than 1 % of Quebec's energy mix. Meanwhile, Québec receives more solar irradiation than Germany, which was the fourth largest producer of solar energy in 2019. Rather than investing in combustible energy resources, Quebec should diversify its sources of clean, renewable energy with solar and wind power.


[expand title="Lack of infrastructure for soil decontaminationexpanded="true"]

In Quebec, approximately two million metric tons of contaminated soil are disposed of each year.. In 2015, studies showed that more than half of all landfills and dumps designated for contaminated soil are located on public land and even under municipal parks. While toxic soils are supposed to be dumped on designated sites, contaminated soils have been dumped on agricultural land. In Saint-Rémi, a lettuce grower is located next to an open dump of bricks, concrete and other building materials. Contaminated soil found in the landfill seeped into farmland. However, although this site is considered an illegal landfill, no charges have been laid, although notices of non-compliance had been given to the culprits in 2018. A similar case of PCBS (used to manufacture coolants and lubricants) by an electrical equipment company in Pointe-Claire's drainage systems occurred in 2013. The barrels containing the substance were withdrawn in 2013The contaminated soil was not touched until 2021.

The City of Montreal has issued grants for municipal and private projects to decontaminate their land before the end of 2022. However, during the construction of the LRT, it was found that over 600 tonnes of hazardous materials to be landfilled in Ontario instead of being decontaminated in a more environmentally friendly way; in order to reduce costs, Quebec issued a similar subsidy, investing 1 billion to decontaminate soil over 10 years. Also, more than 400 problem sites have been identified across the province, including primary and secondary schools, CEGEPs and administrative buildings (many of which have been built close to existing mining areas), but despite financial incentives, concrete action is lacking.


[expand title="126) Inefficient waste management and recycling infrastructureexpanded="true"]

In Canada, a large proportion of recyclable materials is sent abroad because the country does not process a large part of its recycling at the national level.l. In Quebec, in 2017, more than  60 % of materials are sent to China, while only 40 % are processed and transformed into new products. The Canadian government argued that not only did it not have adequate infrastructure to manage its own waste, but that it also justifies the economic advantages for developing countries of sending their waste to it. However, waste sent to these countries is unregulated and can be mixed and contaminated, making it impossible to recycle. This has led to a ban on Canadian waste shipments to Asian countries. On the one hand, Canada has circumvented this ban by sending its waste to the United States for subsequent exportOn the other hand, much of the waste remains in treatment facilities, waiting to be collected. In some Canadian cities, residents have been informed that recycling companies would accept fewer items in order to reduce the amount of waste. If this continues, more potentially recyclable waste will end up in garbage and landfills.

Montreal's recycling companies are turning to the provincial government for funding to solve the problem caused by the ban. For plastics to be properly processed, products entering the recycling facility must be clean and well sorted. Existing machines can't clean everything, and if other materials get through, the machines can jam.. In addition, the increasing number of different types of plastic ending up in recycling facilities makes it difficult to recycle them satisfactorily. And as sorting facilities vary from one municipality to another, with certain types of plastic being accepted in one and not in another, this reduces the amount of well-sorted, high-quality raw plastic available for processing. Investment needed to promote quality improvement and the development of recycling outlets in Quebec repairing old machines and producing higher-quality recyclable products.

In the Arctic communities of Nunavik, Quebec, we've found that, while they don't produce the same amount of waste as southern regions, they do have a significant impact on the environment, they do not have access to services or infrastructures that would enable them to treat their waste. There are no incinerators, no programs to recycle paper and cardboard, no household recycling programs.


[expand title="127) Insufficient resources to apprehend environmental criminalsexpanded="true"]

In Quebec, many environmental actions go unnoticed and environmental criminals go unpunished because of the absence of environmental policing in the province.  Under Canadian environmental law, there are environmental regulators in Canada appointed to conduct environmental investigations, as well as enforcement officers with powers similar to those of police officers. However, this has not reduced the number of environmental fines over the years, particularly in Quebec. In 2017, environmental fines increased by 29% with over $9$ million in penalties. Many of these unregulated activities occur in different sectors. In the forestry industry, there is no regulation of forest exploitation and environmental impact, the focus being solely on economic benefits. In the mining sector, Environment and Climate Change Canada's enforcement officers discovered that a Quebec mining company had disposed of dredged materials outside the authorized offshore disposal zone on four occasions. The company was finally fined 400,000 $ in damages. In Montreal, waste collection problems have made headlines in recent years. An investigation revealed that Services environnementaux Richelieu (SER) (a waste management company) was charging Montreal the waste they took from other municipalities, that commercial waste was mixed with residential waste at the city's expense, and that on several occasions, recyclable materials were mixed with waste.. In addition, it was found that due to inadequate monitoring, trucks were not systematically weighed before starting collection, and city employees did not pay attention to the trucks' GPS trackers.


[expand title="128) Greenhouse production capacity is insufficientexpanded="true"]

In Canada, due to the sudden drop in cannabis production in 2019, there are thousands of square feet of empty cannabis greenhouses that can be used to produce fruit and vegetables all year round. Quebec greenhouse fruit and vegetable production rose to 9.3 % in 2019, a small increase compared to Ontario (65 %) and British Columbia (19.2 %).. Premier Legault has promised to double the value of greenhouse production in Quebec, estimating a budget of 50 $ over five years. However, he gave no details of how this money would be used. Experts suggest that for greenhouse production to be a success, it will require technology, training, agronomists, all of which will be needed. things missing in Quebec. In terms of technology, these experts addressed the issues of heat and light (both of which are needed to produce a greenhouse efficiently). As of 2021,  it has been estimated that just 40% of Quebec greenhouses have artificial lighting, which is a necessity during winter, and heating is provided by natural gas or biomass when it should be supplied by the unused hydroelectricity in Quebec's dams.

Green roofs are another issue in Quebec when it comes to greenhouse fruit and vegetable production. Quebec has the strictest green roof policies in the world. Large cities like Montreal and Quebec City have no concrete laws requiring green roofs, there's no funding from local governments, and no policy to install green roofs on existing buildings. Also, in Quebec, the majority of municipalities do not require green roofs. Most of the problems associated with green roofs stem from the risk of water infiltration, as well as a building's ability to support the additional weight of a green roof. Currently, in Montreal, roofs can support about 40 pounds of snow per square foot of surface, while a cubic foot of wet soil can weigh up to 100 pounds. In January 2020, Gatineau's new regulations will require companies to install green roofs on all buildings over 2,000 square meters. However, construction companies are opposed to this new environmental requirement, as they believe it will increase the cost of construction.

Find out more:


[expand title="129) Inadequate flood management infrastructureexpanded="true"]

Spring flooding in Quebec is becoming increasingly frequent and severe, but municipalities at risk don't seem well equipped to cope. Until 2019, the map of flood-prone areas along the Rivière des Prairies had not been updated since the 1980s. Even in 2017, it was planned to update the map using 2006 data. Outdated maps make flood prevention planning incredibly difficult, as it's hard to predict which areas need to be protected and to what extent. The new card includes the flood zones for the spring floods of 2017 and 2019 - a useful tool that was made available far too late.

The obvious solution would be to discourage development in river flood plains, by granting them what is known as a "floodplain".space of freedom". This would allow rivers to discharge according to their natural capacity and water to be absorbed, thus preventing downstream flooding (to find out more about concretization and flooding, see "Increased flooding due to urban sprawl"). These measures will be necessary in the long term, as climate change will continue to worsen the situation.

In the meantime, municipalities need to be better prepared for spring flooding. In 2019, residents of L'Île-Bizard, Pierrefonds and Ahuntsic have been warned to be prepared. preparing for evacuationWe didn't know which dikes would overflow. A few days later, a natural dike at Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac broke, and in response, the town built two gravel dikes. At the end of April9,070 homes and 273 businesses were flooded, displacing 12,000 people, and 82 landslides occurred to cope with the excess flooding. The "Flooding: How to protect your homeMontreal's "flood proofing" program gives residents tons of steps to take to protect their homes from flooding, including building sandbag walls. However, it shouldn't be up to citizens to protect themselves from flooding. If the Quebec government hasn't updated its flood maps in decades and developers are building homes in unknown risk zones, the government should be responsible for protecting homes. In 2018, Quebec announced that every municipality had two years to establish flood emergency plans. Hopefully, Quebec citizens will be better protected with increased flood management infrastructure, such as larger dikes, more efficient drainage and no new development in flood-prone areas.


[expand title="130) A lack of public transport infrastructureexpanded="true"]

According to a report by the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM), among the CMM and neighboring municipalities, 94 % of workers mainly use a car to get to work. According to Ms. Plante, the reason for this is that neighbouring municipalities are not obliged to comply with the same density rules as the CMMThe result is low-density, car-dependent neighborhoods. What's needed is better urban planning and transit infrastructure to discourage the use of private vehicles. Meanwhile, the Quebec government continues to prioritize road expansion at the expense of public transit, while the budget allocated to public transit represents nearly half that of asphalt (Rad talks about this at greater length in "L'expansion sans fin des routes"). A study conducted by the David Suzuki Foundation revealed that young Montrealers hesitate to use public transit because it's unreliable and the services aren't flexible.

To combat these shortcomings, Quebec needs to invest in public transport. More frequent schedules and more extensive networks could help the metro, bus and train systems. This could even discourage the use of individual vehicles sufficiently to reduce traffic, which would contribute to the reliability of bus service. Furthermore, the government cannot continue to privatize public transportThis could discourage their use, by raising fares for users and proposing routes guided by profit rather than public interest (for more on this subject, see "Privatized public transport"). For example, the REM project may encroach on the planned expansion of the blue metro lineThis is because the two lines will now share similar routes, a feature that private REM has conveniently overlooked.


Land use 

[expand title="131) Increased urban sprawlexpanded="true"]

Urban sprawl is the phenomenon whereby urban planning favors development at the expense of the environment. low density. The creation of suburbs around dense city centers is a case in point: sprawling neighborhoods that force citizens to be dependent on their personal vehicles. In Montreal's surrounding municipalities, 94 % of workers drive to work every day. This type of urban development not only increases greenhouse gas emissions, but also seriously harms wildlife.

As this type of development requires a lot of space, nature is often sacrificed for the sake of development. Farmland, forests and natural habitats under threat. In "Urban green spaces", "Habitat fragmentation", "Sacrificing wetlands for development" and "Sacrificing wetlands", the negative environmental impacts of urban sprawl are examined. From the transplanting a rare species of ginseng for development purposes in Sainte-Julie, in the destruction of a forest in Hudson to build housing units, at the construction of apartments on an area supposed to be a park in Val-d'Or, to the sacrifice of a Montreal ecopark for the development, the construction of a retirement home in a park in Lavaland elimination of a green space in Anjou for an industrial project - these are the effects of urban sprawl.

Urban sprawl has also worsened the consequences of flooding. By converting wetlands, marshes, forests and other areas into concrete other natural soils that generally absorb excess waterWater accumulates during spring floods and heavy rains, increasing the risk of flooding. This is known as concreteization, a land-use change that can have devastating effects on human well-being and infrastructure (to find out more, see "Increased risk of flooding due to urban sprawl").


[expand title="132) Sacrificing wetlandsexpanded="true"]

Time and again, Quebec's wetlands are sacrificed for new development. Wetlands are important to us because they shelter biodiversity, reduce greenhouse gases, prevent drought by retaining water during dry periods and prevent flooding by reducing the amount of water sent downstream (to find out more, see "Increased risk of flooding due to urban sprawl"). Countrywide, wetlands are often drained to be converted to farmland - a problem closely linked to urban sprawl - or drained for infrastructure construction or extraction sites.

Hudson, a wooded wetland called Sandy Beach Woods is in danger of being converted into housing. The project would involve backfilling of 4,266 square metres wetlands. Montreal's Technoparc is also threatened by development. Until 2017, it was the island's largest wetland, but now it's under threat. sacrificed for REM developmentThis affects more than 100 species. In addition, the Bloom Lake iron mine has proposed an elimination plan in which 872 million tonnes of tailings would be stockpileddestroying several wetlands, but by allocating 160. The same plan would encroach on 151 hectares of lakes and rivers. Also, the proposed expansion of the LET at Bury would destroy 4.9 hectares of wetlands.

Sacrificing wetlands for development is really in nobody's interest. Greater environmental awareness in urban planning is needed to stop low-density neighborhoods encroaching on important natural habitats. Other projects, such as the REM, the iron mine and the LET, must also give greater priority to the environment.


[expand title="133) Land use for animal agricultureexpanded="true"]

Today, 80 % of the world's agricultural land is used for livestock production. One third of arable land is used to produce feed for animals, while 26 % of the Earth's ice-free surfaces are used for grazing. Ironically, despite the enormous amount of land used for livestock, it accounts for only 18 % of global calories and 37 % of total proteins. In Quebec, more than half of agricultural production is linked to livestock farming, Beef and dairy production are the most important, followed by pork and poultry.s. In Quebec, there are approximately 8908 farms devoted to beef production. Cattle (and lamb) production takes up most of the land, around 2.89 billion hectares for pasture, then 43 % of cultivated land for animal feed production. The problems with extensive use of land for animal agriculture are that it reduces the diversity of landscapes and natural habitsespecially since most crops are monocultures (like corn). These crops can cause soil erosion and have a negative impact on the soil ecosystem.. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that dietary changes, which include plant-based diets and sustainable animal-based foods, could free up several million square kilometers of land by 2050 and potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.7 to 8.0 gigatons per year. However, in Quebec's Sustainable Agriculture Plan, published in October 2020, there's no question of reducing land use for animal agriculture.


[expand title="134) Loss of urban green spacesexpanded="true"]

In Quebec, there are many examples of existing green spaces being destroyed to make way for residential or commercial developments. Developers plant a few new trees or create a small park to compensate for the damage and make their project appear "greener". The Mercier-Hochelaga borough's greening plan has raised concerns. Although plans call for the planting of trees and the creation of green spaces and gardens, many trees have been cut down and gardens relocated to make way for infrastructure projects.. The plan also calls for demineralizing sidewalks while mineralizing skate parks. An industrial project is proposed to be built on the site of the Golf Métropolitain d'Anjou, comprising 1 million square feet of buildings and a parking lot for 1,200 cars and trucks. This project would would result in the elimination of a green space in this area, as well as the obstruction of a green corridor between Montigny Creek Park at the northern end of the island and Bellerive Parkway Park. The mayor of Anjou wants to go ahead with this project, believing it to be a good economic investment for the borough. In the town of Val-d'Or, part of the land earmarked for the future Parc des Pionniers is to be sold to enable the construction of apartment blocks, as the mayor feels that this is a good investment and that there is very little other land to build on.. A similar problem has arisen in Laval, where a home for the elderly was built on the waterfront, despite protests from residents, who preferred that the entire park land be preserved. And the area where the retirement home is to be built is in a flood zone.

In Montreal, the Green Coalition loses its court battle against the Technoparc zone. The city's aim is to make it a prime location for companies specializing in sustainable development and clean technologies. However, this ecosystem is home to a wide variety of endangered bird species, which could suffer a significant loss of population with the construction and felling of the trees. However, the City of Montreal has stated that it will protect 16 hectares of land in the Technoparc zone. 


[expand title="135) Forest harvestingexpanded="true"]

There have been many cases in Quebec where rare or mature trees or forest areas have been cut down to make way for real estate developments, and very often there has been no public consultation with citizens. In Sainte-Foy, Quebec City, mature trees are cut down to build a home for the elderly. The particularity of this area is that it is occupied by a former church that had been sold to the Quebec government to be transformed into a retirement home and surrounded by trees. Although CIUSS claims thatit will replant hundreds of trees to compensate for the lossThis means citizens don't need to cut down existing trees. In addition, citizens received very little information about the overall church redevelopment project.

On Île-Perrot, citizens were dismayed to see crews cutting down a white oak forest to make way for a housing development. Not only is the white oak a rare species of tree in Quebec, it also has significant ecological and historical value for the town. It is also home to a frog species protected by the federal government (the western chorus frog), as well as birds and foxes. According to citizens, there was no public consultation on the project.

In Pointe-Claire, there have been several cases of tree felling and pruning to make room for paved roads and the new Pioneer condo project.. According to the town, these operations were necessary to reroute power poles and wires. They say they will compensate for the loss of trees by planning four new fast-growing trees in the village.

Along the Turcot interchange and Montreal West, a 2.8-kilometre park will be laid out, including bicycle and pedestrian paths. However, between 400 and 600 trees will be felled as part of the redevelopment plan.. The city argues that felling the trees is necessary because workers need access to the cliff to ensure proper drainage and protect the stability of the land surrounding this area. Environmentalists are angry about the plan, as this wooded area is home to over 65 species of birds, which are now threatened once the felling begins.