The Quebec Government published the Regulation respecting the regulatory scheme applying to activities on the basis of their environmental impact ("REAFIE") on September 2, 2020, following the adoption of the order-in-council on August 19. The provisions of the REAFIE will come into force on December 31, 2020.
As the title suggests, the REAFIE aims to regulate activities on the basis of their environmental impact, in accordance with the environmental authorization scheme applicable under the Environment Quality Act (the "EQA"). Accordingly, the REAFIE will adapt the applicable requirements depending on the type of impact an activity has on the environment or the area where this activity takes place. Activities that require the prior authorization of the Minister under section 22 of the EQA, activities eligible for a declaration of compliance under section 31.0.6 of the EQA, and activities that are exempt from any prior authorization as provided under section 31.0.11 of the EQA are subject to those requirements.
The adoption of the REAFIE is an important milestone in the process of modernizing the environmental authorization scheme undertaken by the Quebec Government in 2017. The REAFIE implements the new environmental authorization scheme by:
• consolidating many elements of the environmental authorization scheme that were previously provided under various industry-specific regulations adopted under the EQA, and thereby repealing some of them, such as the Regulation respecting the application of section 32 of the Environment Quality Act and the Regulation respecting the application of the Environment Quality Act;
• amending a number of industry-specific regulations, in particular, for harmonization purposes;
• adopting new industry-specific regulations, such as:
• Design code of a storm water management system eligible for a declaration of compliance;
• Regulation respecting the reclamation of residual materials;
• Regulation respecting Activities in wetlands, bodies of water and sensitive areas;
• Snow, Road Salt and Abrasives Management Regulation.
Stay tuned for more bulletins in the coming weeks, in which we will examine the key changes brought about by the REAFIE and their effect on businesses and industrial activities that could have an impact on the environment.