Règlements sur les hydrocarbures – Québec propose un encadrement rigoureux afin d’assurer la protection de la population et de l’environnement
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Government announcement
6 June 2018

Québec proposes a strict regulatory framework to protect the public and the environment

Règlements sur les hydrocarbures – Québec propose un encadrement rigoureux afin d’assurer la protection de la population et de l’environnement

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Regulations respecting petroleum resources

Québec City, June 6, 2018 – Determined to ensure personal safety and environmental protection, the Government of Québec is responding to the concerns expressed by the public, local communities, organizations and companies by introducing a new series of regulations to more strictly regulate the exploration, production and storage of petroleum resources found in Québec.

This announcement is part of the drafting process for the regulations for the implementation of the Petroleum Resources Act. Their pre-publication in the Gazette officielle du Québec will begin a new 45-day period for commentary. The changes, as a result of an initial consultation held last fall, provide that:

  • Fracturing is forbidden in shale;
  • Where fracturing is permitted, it is forbidden within 1,000 meters of the surface regardless of the type of rock;
  • No fracturing activity will be permitted in a water environment, regardless of geology;
  • Petroleum exploration and production activities within an urban perimeter will also be forbidden, and an additional 1 km protection zone around this perimeter will be added;
  • Outside urban perimeters and protected areas, separating distances will be doubled for public buildings, schools, hospitals, private residences and recreational and tourist activities.

The development of the regulations falls under the mandate of the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources Naturelles, which is responsible for managing licenses and authorizations for activities. This ministry is also responsible for updating legislative and regulatory frameworks, managing scientific and technical legacies, disseminating information, acquiring knowledge and carrying out specific projects.


The Government of Québec is implementing an even more stringent regulatory framework for the management of petroleum exploration, production and storage activities, in part by making significant changes to the draft regulations on which Quebecers have been consulted. The history of energy transition is in the course of being written, and this history includes both protection of water and economic development. Now, in Québec, the exploration and production of petroleum resources is forbidden unless the most stringent regulations are met, ensuring the protection of the environment.

– Pierre Moreau, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Minister responsible for the Plan Nord and Minister responsible for the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine region

Potential petroleum exploration and production is now regulated very stringently on the environmental front by several laws and regulations, including the Environmental Quality Act, which was heavily modernized and officially put into force on March 23.  We have no wish to leave an environmental liability for future generations. Today, we are working for a new Québec that is greener and more prosperous.

– Isabelle Melançon, Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change

Key points:

  • The four regulations affected by these changes are the following:
    • Regulation respecting petroleum resource exploration, production and storage licences and authorization for pipeline construction or use;
    • Regulation respecting petroleum resource exploration, production and storage activities in terrestrial environments;
    • Regulation respecting petroleum resource exploration, production and storage activities water environments;
    • Regulation repealing the Regulation respecting petroleum, natural gas and underground reservoirs.
  • These four regulations are made up of some 800 sections that are at the heart of the regulatory framework, one of the objectives of which is to consider the specifics of different environments.
  • These regulations are based on the recognized best practices listed in the strategic environmental evaluation reports, made public in May 2016 by the Government of Québec.

Video: Petroleum resources – For responsible exploration and production


Related links:

  • The administrative versions of the draft regulations: