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Five things that the Quebec Government needs to deliver on in 2023

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Although we need to do more, do better and with greater ambition and consistency, the Quebec government needs to make up for lost time on five key issues. Here is where things stand now and where we need to go in 2023.

1. The Government Sustainable Development Strategy

It’s a strategy to guide the government in its actions and progress towards sustainable development. The government must take this strategy into account to ensure that its services, laws, policies and programs are all contributing to Quebec's transition to a greener, more innovative and responsible society.

Why is it important?

The government needs to set an example, demonstrating best practices and policies in the area of sustainable development.

Where are we at now?

The Government Sustainable Development Strategy expired in 2020. Its review was postponed until after the election.

How can we move this dossier forward?

After the election, Équiterre called on the government to prioritize this dossier at the beginning of its new mandate. We are grateful to all those who emailed the government calling for action on this strategy as part of our DoBetter campaign this spring.

Quebec must be better prepared for environmental challenges! Discover our DoBetter campaign!

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2. An Implementation Plan for La Politique nationale de l’architecture et de l’aménagement du territoire (PNAAT) [National Policy on Architecture and Land Use Planning]

While the policy sets out the main themes and overall direction for land use planning, the implementation plan will determine how the policy is applied by proposing concrete measures, timetables and investments. The implementation plan will provide a true picture of the government's ambition on land use planning.

Why is it important?

Land use planning is at the root of the problem, but also at the core of the solutions when it comes to climate change. The PNAAT implementation plan will need to reflect an integrated vision of economic and industrial development, transportation, agriculture and land use planning in order to respond to current environmental challenges.

Where are we at now?

An implementation plan is expected to be tabled in the winter of 2023.

How can we move this dossier forward?

We had encouraged our members to participate in the consultation process to develop the policy. Following the election, we wrote to the Minister of Municipal Affairs to remind her of our high expectations for this policy. We will be closely monitoring the tabling of the implementation plan and we will provide you with our analysis and recommendations.

3. The Plastic Reduction Strategy

It’s a roadmap for reducing the use of single-use (and short-life) plastics. The strategy seeks to manage the use and end-of-life processing of plastic products by industry and by the public, so as to promote circularity.

Why is it important?

Canada recycles a mere 9% of the plastic it produces (and don’t forget that plastic is produced from fossil fuels). Canadians discarded 3.3 million tonnes of plastic in 2016, 12 times more than was actually recycled. The rest goes to landfill sites or elsewhere...

Where are we at now?

The strategy is ready! It should have been released by now, but there have been delays, due to the pandemic. It’s now time for it to be implemented..

How can we move this dossier forward?

We met with the Ministry of the Environment during their last mandate to share our observations and recommendations on the subject. After the election, we wrote to the Minister asking him to release the strategy without further delay. We will not relent in our efforts to address the harmful effects of pervasive plastic in our environment.

4. The Expanded Deposit-Refund System

Our deposit-refund system, which currently applies to beer and soft drink containers, will be greatly expanded. All ready-to-drink glass, plastic, metal, cardboard or multi-layered beverage containers of 100 millilitres to 2 litres will be subject to a 10¢ refund, while wine and spirit bottles will have a 25¢ refund.

Why is it important?

An expanded deposit-refund system will encourage people to return a wider variety of containers to retailers, which will allow for improved sorting at the source, making it easier to reuse or recycle containers.

Where are we at now?

Announced in 2019, the system was supposed to be implemented this fall, but it has been pushed back to the fall of 2023. Industry is still lobbying the government to delay implementation until 2025.

How can we move this dossier forward?

Over 20,000 of us signed a petition calling for the expansion of the deposit-refund system before it was announced in 2019. An important pressure tactic that paid off! After the election, we wrote to the Minister of the Environment to tell him that any further delay on implementation was not acceptable. Équiterre will continue to pressure the government to meet its fall 2023 deadline and to encourage the use of refillable containers.

Learn more about multi-fill containers

5. The Consumer Protection Act

It’s the law that governs consumer rights in Quebec and defines various standards for the durability of everyday items. It includes a legal guarantee, which stipulates that an item must have a reasonable lifespan when used normally. Considering how goods are breaking down more quickly and are becoming increasingly difficult to repair, this law can help us reverse the trend.

Why is it important?

63% of electronic devices and appliances break down on average 2.6 years after purchase! And according to a recent study by Équiterre, only 25% of Quebecers have them repaired. As a result, far too many appliances end up in the landfill or are sent to recycling, and additional raw materials are then needed to manufacture replacement items.

Where are we at now?

In March 2021, Bill 197, An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act to fight planned obsolescence and assert the right to repair goods, passed a first reading in the National Assembly. Since then, it has been radio silence.

How can we move this dossier forward?

Équiterre took part in consultations with the Justice Department and the Office of Consumer Protection on the issues of durability, reparability and obsolescence of consumer goods. After the election, we contacted the Minister of Justice to ask that this important issue be brought back onto the agenda. We also launched a petition calling for goods to be more durable and more easily repaired in Quebec.

Demand more durable goods that are more easily repaired

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Many more projects necessary to bring us up to date

These five dossiers should have already been delivered on, so we’re continuing to pressure the government. But at Équiterre, we’re not slowing down to wait or hoping that things will happen on their own. We’ve identified numerous other issues and demands that we will continue to press the government on :

  • A Quebec climate change adaptation strategy

  • A Quebec energy strategy

  • A strategy for healthy food autonomy

  • An increase in Quebec’s GHG emission reduction target and the adoption of a carbon budget

  • Improvements to the Plan for a Green Economy (which only addresses 50% of our current GHG reduction target)

  • Completion of public transit lines in Montreal (East end and Lachine) and the development of the network in other cities (Longueuil, Gatineau and Sherbrooke)

  • And finally, we are continuing to push for the government to abandon:
    • The 3rd link tunnel project;

    • The law concerning the acceleration of infrastructure projects;

    • Highway extensions and expansions on wetlands and farmland.

Stay tuned! We'll keep you posted on our progress and on how you can contribute to the necessary systemic changes.