Montreal, April 27, 2023 – The Québec Environmental Law Centre (CQDE) deplores the fact that the government continues to renege on its commitment to create a public register that would provide one-click access to essential environmental information. Through an open letter signed by 80 environmental organizations and public figures, published on March 27, and more than 1,000 emails sent by citizens to the Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs, the CQDE and civil society asked the government to commit, within 30 days, to the creation of this register in 2023. The government’s response, given at the last minute to our organization and repeating the same unsatisfactory justifications of the last few years, shows that it does not consider this file a priority.

As a reminder, March 23, 2023 marked the 5th anniversary of the coming into force of the Environment Quality Act (EQA), which provided for the creation of a register that records all ministerial authorizations requested or granted. The register represents a considerable gain as regards access to environmental information. However, five years later, this is the only section of the EQA that has still not been put into effect.

“The situation is unacceptable. We’ve been confronted with the government’s inertia for the past five years, despite the strong mobilization of civil society and organizations from a vast array of sectors, and while the National Assembly has made a democratic choice for Quebec by deciding to create this register,” explains the CQDE’s interim executive director, Caroline Poussier. “We’re not going to let this denial of democracy stop us in our tracks. Quebecers have waited long enough.”

Following unsatisfactory justifications and a lack of real commitment from the government (with concrete timelines, a budget dedicated to the implementation of the register, and a decree setting an effective date), the CQDE is currently considering a number of options to push the government to respect its commitment, including legal recourse.

“We’ll use every legal means at our disposal to ensure that the register is created. We would have preferred that the government take its responsibilities and respond on its own to this need for transparency in order to protect the quality of the environment,” affirms Marc Bishai, a lawyer with the CQDE. “But in the absence of a commitment on its part, if we have to go to court, that’s exactly what we’ll do. The stakes are too high for this register to remain a dead letter.”


– 30 –