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Sustainable Development

The Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles actively supports the Québec Government’s commitment to sustainable development. Sustainable development is clearly mentioned in its mission and is a major consideration in all its reflections.

Since its first sustainable development action plan was adopted in 2008, the MERN has worked hard to ensure that all its interventions are sustainable. For example, the new Mining Act, adopted in December 2013, clearly specifies its sustainable development aims.

Sustainable Development Act

The Sustainable Development Act picto-fleche, assented to on April 19, 2006, establishes a new management framework for all Québec Government departments and agencies. The purpose of this shared framework is to ensure that the pursuit of sustainable development is fully integrated into the exercise of their powers and responsibilities.

The Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte aux Changements climatiques picto-fleche is responsible for coordinating the Government’s actions in this field.

The legal definition of sustainable development for Québec:

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development is based on a long-term approach which takes into account the inextricable nature of the environmental, social and economic dimensions of development activities.

The Act identifies 16 principles to be taken into account by public authorities when framing their actions:

  • Health and quality of life
  • Social equity and solidarity
  • Environmental protection
  • Economic efficiency
  • Participation and commitment
  • Access to knowledge
  • Subsidiarity
  • Inter-governmental partnership and cooperation
  • Prevention
  • Precaution
  • Protection of cultural heritage
  • Biodiversity preservation
  • Respect for ecosystem support capacity
  • Responsible production and consumption
  • Polluter pays
  • Internalization of costs

Government Strategy

The Government adopts a sustainable development strategy to ensure the consistency of government actions. The strategy must be reviewed every five years, and the review period may be extended by no more than two years.

Sustainable Development Commissioner

The Sustainable Development Commissioner picto-fleche, who reports to the Auditor General of Québec, is responsible for examining the application of the Sustainable Development Act and the implementation of the Strategy. He or she must produce a report each year, which is published as part of the Auditor General’s report and tabled in the National Assembly of Québec.


Directory of Sustainable Development Tools picto-fleche (in French only):Outils_dev durable

  • There are a number of tools available to organizations that may be useful when setting up a sustainable development process. The directory also provides information on financial assistance programs and training, and contains guidelines and materials to raise awareness of eco-responsible practices for inclusion in business models..

Sustainable Municipalities picto-fleche (in French only):municipalité durable

  • This platform provides information for regional and municipal authorities on the steps required to apply an integrated sustainable development process. It also offers a range of tools to help them prepare and implement sustainable practices.