Quebec to introduce water use fees

By ,

Below is my interview (in French) with Hervé Pageot, of Daigneault Avocats Inc., who discusses Quebec’s proposed regulations that would impose fees for water use in the province. The fees, two to three times higher than similar fees in Ontario, would apply to use of both ground water and water from municipal distribution systems. Interestingly, actions that result in the decrease or diversion of underground water would also be subject to the fees. Targeted industries are the water-bottling sector, mineral and oil & gas extraction, as well as 21 other types of manufacturers, including food and beverages producers, the tobacco industry, textile manufacturers, producers of wood, paper, chemical, plastic, metal and electronic products, and producers of transportation material.

The regulations would apply to anyone using an average volume of water equal to or exceeding 75 cubic meters per day, calculated on a monthly basis with fees determined based on annual usage. The regulations will come into force in 2011. The fees are generally set at $0.0025 per cubic meter used, although certain activities are charged a significantly higher rate of $0.07 per cubic meter used. The more modest fee is intended for industries that return most the water used back to the ecosystem. The chemical products and beverage industry (including water bottlers) will be the hardest hit.

A 60-day comment period was opened on the date of publication of the notice. Any interested person or parties are invited to submit their comments during this time.

To see the proposed regulations (in French only), click here.