The purpose of the Regulation respecting the regulatory scheme applying to activities on the basis of their environmental impact is to identify activities that are considered to be of moderate, low or negligible risk. Moderate risk activities that result in environmental impacts and require mitigation measures must be submitted for ministerial authorization. The Environment Quality Act contains specific provisions regarding ministerial authorizations for projects in wetlands and bodies of water (“WBW”).
Moderate risk activities involving WBW are also subject to the Regulation respecting compensation for adverse effects on wetlands and bodies of water (“RCAMHH”). The RCAMHH sets out, among other things, the activities that are exempt from the payment of a financial contribution to compensate for adverse impacts on WBW; the parameters for determining the amount of the contribution; and the activities for which the financial contribution may be replaced by work carried out to restore or create WBW.
On July 7, 2021, a draft regulation was published to amend the RCAMHH (“Draft Regulation”). The following amendments may affect real estate developers:
- New activities that are exempt from the payment of a financial contribution, including projects that result in a loss of 300 m2 or less of wooded wetland area;
- New activities that are eligible to replace the financial contribution, in particular to cover all industrial parks, not just those owned by municipalities;
- Revised guidelines for work carried out in place of a financial contribution to ensure that specific objectives are met so that the restored or created WBW fulfil the desired functions;
- A revised calculation of the financial contribution to ensure that regional differences are taken into account and to limit urban sprawl.
Public consultation on the Draft Regulation will end on August 20, 2021. The final regulatory amendments are expected to be published in late fall 2021. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the framework applicable to wetlands and environmental authorizations.