Since the start of the pandemic, the Québec government has adapted its services to ensure the ongoing enforcement of environmental legislation by verifying compliance for activities that could impact the environment, the citizenry and/or property.
Inspections carried out in situations where there is a significant risk to environmental quality or the health and safety of the population will continue and remain a priority.
Site inspections will continue to comply with government directives in force.
Given the special safety rules to be followed due to COVID-19, inspectors will be asked to contact clients before conducting an inspection so long as it does not affect the quality of the inspection. However, some situations require intervention without prior notice.
Furthermore, in collaboration with the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST - labour standards, pay equity, occupational health and safety commission), inspectors are part of the government prevention team whose goal is to inform employers and workers and make them aware of the health standards required in the workplace in order to reduce and control the spread of COVID-19. Inspectors will monitor and/or visit workplaces in tandem with their environmental monitoring duties.
Legal obligations of clients
Legal obligations continue to apply. All clients (municipalities, farmers, industries, businesses, etc.) need to do their utmost to avoid harming the environment.
The government will be lenient with clients whose activities have been affected by the new restrictions and yet have environmental obligations that include filing reports and other documents.
In cases of non-compliance, the Québec government will assess the consequences of each breach based on the rules that are in force but will take into account the current situation and the contextual factors specific to each case. This will likely impact the number of administrative monetary penalties issued.
If you encounter problems or special situations, contact your regional office of the Québec Environmental Control Centre, which will be able to assist you in determining appropriate action under the circumstances.
Want to report an environmental emergency?
Call 1 866 694-5454.
Last update: March 31, 2021