Canada – Quebec Agreement on Wastewater Regulation


On March 21, 2015, the Minister of the Environment (“Minister”) published a Notice of a proposed Agreement entitled “Canada–Quebec Agreement on Acts and Regulations Applicable to Quebec’s Municipal Wastewater Treatment Sector” (“proposed Agreement”).

The Minister also published a draft “Order declaring that the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations Do Not Apply in Quebec” (“draft Order”). Together, the proposed Agreement and the draft Order would affirm that Quebec’s wastewater regulations meet the standard set by federal wastewater legislation.

Wastewater regulation would then become the responsibility of the province and not the federal government. The objective of the proposed Agreement and the draft Order is to reduce regulatory duplication and to increase regulatory efficiency and clarity.

The specific federal legislation referred to in the proposed Agreement and the draft Order is the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations(SOR/2012-139) (“WSER”) and section 36(3) of the Fisheries Act (RSC1985,cF-14) (“Act”). The WSER set a national standard for wastewater management.

Provisions at s.36(3) of the Act prohibit the discharge of harmful substances into waters frequented by fish. Under the proposed Agreement, Canada would notify Quebec of any changes to these or any other relevant legislation, and Quebec would notify Canada of any change to its wastewater regulatory system. The proposed Agreement would be evaluated every five years.

Interested persons have until April 20, 2015, to comment on the proposed Agreement and the draft Order. Representations should cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, the date of publication of the notice (March 21, 2015), and be addressed to James Arnott, Wastewater Program, Department of the Environment, 351 Saint-Joseph Boulevard, Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3 (fax.: 819-420-7382; email:

To read the proposed Agreement and the draft Order in the Canada Gazette, please click here.

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