In the wake of last summer's increase in the presence of blue algae affecting Québec's lakes, the government tabled the Draft Regulation to prohibit the sale of certain dishwashing detergents that was published in the Gazette officielle du Québec on December 12, 2007. Anyone wishing to comment on the draft regulation may submit written comments to Mr. Didier Bicchi of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks at didier.bicchi@mddep.gouv.qc.ca within the 60-day consultation period following the publication of the draft regulation.

The purpose of the draft regulation is to reduce the phosphorous content in waste water from dwellings associated with the use of household dishwashing detergents. If the draft regulation is adopted then, as of July 1, 2010, only products meeting the phosphorous content requirements will be permitted to be sold or distributed in Québec.

According to the draft regulation, no dishwashing detergent may be offered for sale, sold, distributed or otherwise made available to consumers if it contains 0.5% or more phosphorous by weight or if the package does not indicate the percentage by weight of the phosphorous content of the product. The phosphorous content must be determined by a laboratory accredited by the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, or if the detergent is manufactured outside Québec, by a laboratory certified by a competent authority.

The draft regulation provides that anyone contravening the regulation commits an offence and is liable, in the case of a natural person, to a fine of between $2,000 to $20,000 or, in case of a legal person, to a fine of between $6,000 to $120,000 for a first offence, the fines being doubled for any subsequent offence.