Part II of Bill 102 entitled An Act to amend the Environment Quality Act to modernize the environmental authorization scheme and to amend other legislative provisions, in particular to reform the governance of the Green Fund, tabled on June 7, 2016, in the Quebec National Assembly, establishes a new mode of governance for the Green Fund and creates another fund under the responsibility of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, and the Fight against Climate Change (Minister).
Bill 102 provides that the Green Fund would be allocated to the funding of measures related to:1
- the fight against climate change, to reduce, limit or prevent greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate the economic and social consequences of measures established for that purpose and promote ways of adapting to the impacts of global warming and climate change and foster the development of, and Québec’s participation in, regional and international partnerships concerning such matters;
- residual materials management, to ensure safe and sustainable management of residual materials by preventing or reducing their production, promoting their recovery and reclamation, and reducing the quantities to be eliminated; and
- water governance in compliance with the general rules of governance established under the Act to affirm the collective nature of water resources and provide for increased water resource protection.2
The measures funded would include activities, projects and programs aimed at stimulating technological innovation, research and development, knowledge acquisition, performance improvement, and public awareness and education.3
The Green Fund would be financed primarily through the sums taken in at an auction or by a sale by agreement under the Regulation respecting a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances,4 the fees prescribed by the Regulation respecting greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles,5 the charges prescribed by the Regulation respecting the charges payable for the disposal of residual materials6 and the charges prescribed by the Regulation respecting the charges payable for the use of water.7 Additional funding would be derived from the amounts paid pursuant to the Act to increase the number of zero-emission motor vehicles in Québec in order to reduce greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions8 and its regulations.
Conseil de gestion du Fonds vert
The proposed legislation would create a Green Fund management board called the Conseil de gestion du Fonds vert (Management Board), a legal person and mandatory of the state, whose mission would be to provide a governance framework for the Green Fund and coordinate its management in keeping with the principles of sustainable development, effectiveness, efficiency and transparency.9 Project-based management would be favoured. Among other things, the Management Board would prepare the Green Fund’s annual accounts, enter into agreements with other departments for the implementation of measures targeted by the climate change action plan, prepare a plan for the measures financed by the Green Fund and assess the Green Fund’s performance.10
The Management Board would be administered by a board of directors made up of nine members appointed by the government, including a president and chief executive officer, three members from the government and five independent members from civil society.11 The board would be required to establish a governance and ethics committee and an audit committee that, in both cases, would be composed in the majority of independent members.12
The amounts required to operate the Management Board would be debited from the Green Fund.13 The Management Board would be required to submit its financial statements and annual management report to the minister each year.14 The financial statements of the Management Board and the Green Fund would be audited each year by the Auditor General.15 The president and chief executive officer would be accountable to the National Assembly for governance of the Green Fund.16
Fund for the Protection of the Environment and the Waters in the Domain of the State
The Bill, if enacted, would establish a new fund called the Fund for the Protection of the Environment and the Waters in the Domain of the State. This fund would be allocated to the financing of any measure the minister may carry out within the scope of his functions, particularly as regards:
- control and assessment carried out under any act or regulation under the Minister’s administration;
- regulation of activities by an act or regulation under the Minister’s administration through, among other things, the implementation of an authorization scheme, in particular with regard to water resources, pesticides, hazardous materials, industrial establishments and dams;
- conservation of wetlands and bodies of water;
- conservation of the natural heritage;
- management of the waters in the domain of the state and of public dams; and
- accreditation and certification of persons and groups of persons.17
As in the case of the Green Fund, the measures financed would include activities, projects and programs aimed at stimulating technical innovation, research and development, knowledge acquisition, performance improvement, and public awareness and education.18
Among other things, this fund would be used to provide financial support to municipalities and to non-profit bodies working in the environmental field.19
The fund would be financed from various sources, including: the sums collected as compensation under the Act respecting compensation measures for the carrying out of projects affecting wetlands or bodies of water,20 the sums collected for the management and conservation of natural heritage under the Natural Heritage Conservation Act,21 the sums collected under the Pesticides Act,22 the sums collected under the Dam Safety Act,23 the amounts from monetary administrative penalties assessed under the Environment Quality Act,24 the fines paid under an act or regulation under the administration of the Minister, and various amounts collected by the Minister under the Environment Quality Act.25
The fund’s financial data would appear under a separate heading in the ministry’s annual management report26 and the fund’s financial statements would be audited each year by the Auditor General.27
This part of Bill 102 could satisfy the recommendations of the Committee on Public Administration and the Sustainable Development Commissioner regarding observed deficiencies in the management of the Green Fund. Bill 102 is expected to be studied in the fall of 2016.
1 Amended section 15.1 of the Act respecting the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs (CQLR, c M-30.001) (AMDDEP) as it appears in section 196 of the Bill.
2 CQLR, c C-6.2
3 Amended section 15.1 AMDDEP as it appears in section 196 of the Bill.
4 CQLR, c Q-2, 46.1
5 CQLR, c Q-2, r 17
6 CQLR, c Q-2, r 43
7 CQLR, c Q-2, r 42.1
8 Bill 104, tabled on June 2, 2016 in the Quebec National Assembly (section 59 of the Bill).
9 New sections 15.4.4, 15.4.5 and 15.4.7 AMDDEP as they appear in section 203 of the Bill.
10 New section 15.4.7 AMDDEP as it appears in section 203 of the Bill.
11 New section 15.4.9 AMDDEP as it appears in section 203 of the Bill.
12 New section 15.4.20 AMDDEP as it appears in section 203 of the Bill.
13 New section 15.4.29 AMDDEP as it appears in section 203 of the Bill.
14 New section 15.4.34 AMDDEP as it appears in section 203 of the Bill.
15 New section 15.4.35 AMDDEP as it appears in section 203 of the Bill.
16 New section 15.4.36 AMDDEP as it appears in section 203 of the Bill.
17 New section 15.4.38 AMDDEP as it appears in section 203 of the Bill.
20 CQLR, c M-11.4
21 CQLR, c C-61.01
22 CQLR, c P-9.3
23 CQLR, c S-3.1.01
24 CQLR, c Q-2
25 New section 15.4.40 AMDDEP as it appears in section 203 of the Bill.
26 New section 15.4.42 AMDDEP as it appears in section 203 of the Bill.
27 New section 15.4.43 AMDDEP as it appears in section 203 of the Bill.