To ensure the preservation of public land and fairness to all users, the government grants land rights and oversees the use of land. The development, enhancement and free access of public lands must not be compromised by illegal occupation or misuse of the land.
In Québec, you have the right to enjoy many recreational activities on public land without having to apply for authorization. You can camp on parts of these lands and even erect hunting and fishing structures if they are temporary, removable and removed after your activity.
However, you cannot use public land permanently without an authorization issued by the government or one of its delegates. Without this right, you are considered an illegal occupant.
Illegal occupants are not granted any acquired rights. The permanent use of public land without authorization involves administrative and, where appropriate, judicial proceedings.
Prohibited structures without authorization
The following buildings, facilities or structures are considered permanent and require authorization to construct:
The following structures must not be erected without permission:
- trailers or non-functional vehicles used as lodging
- other permanent structures
How to report an illegal occupation
Clearing the site after a report
The government or the delegated RCM will follow-up on any illegal occupation cases submitted to it as a result of a report or verifications carried out on the territory.
Steps in clearing the site
The following steps are taken when initiating a site clearing process:
- Posting: A notice of confiscation is posted on the illegal building.
- Voluntary clearing: The building’s owner has seven months to clear and restore the site. After that period, if the illegal occupant has not cleared the site, the Gouvernement du Québec may take possession of the building.
- Dismantling: The Gouvernement du Québec is authorized to clear the building and carry out the site restoration.
Waste materials on public land
No person shall dispose of or store waste materials on public land, except in a place where the storage, treatment or disposal of the waste is authorized by the government.
All users of public lands must comply with the law, which applies as much to small amounts of waste as to illegal dumps. In the case of an illegal discharge on public lands, the person in charge of that place (lessee or otherwise) is required to take the necessary measures to ensure that the waste is stored, processed or disposed of in an authorized place.
In order to enjoy the public land legally, plan your outings by learning about the regulations of the places you are visiting and bring your garbage to a designated place.
How to report the presence of waste materials or an illegal dump
If you notice waste materials on public land, contact the Centre de services du territoire public. All information will remain strictly confidential.
Other complaints and reports
If you witness an offence relating to the use of public land, contact the Centre de services du territoire public of the government. All information will remain strictly confidential.
If your report involves seemingly illegal forestry activities (cutting without a permit, building forest roads near watercourses, etc.), see Offences in public forests (in French only).
If your complaint relates to slurry spreading near a drinking water well, an improper storage of hazardous materials, a presence of heavy machinery in a watercourse, a spill or a diversion of watercourses, complete the Environmental Complaint form (in French only).