On March 18, 2009, Québec’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Park, Ms. Line Beauchamp, tabled Bill 27 titled An Act to affirm the collective nature of water resources and provide for increased water resource protection (the “Bill”).
The Bill attempts to establish the legal status of water by providing that surface water or underground water is a shared resource, and is a part of the collective heritage of the Province of Québec. The Bill also creates a civil action that will allow the Attorney General to require the reparation of any ecological damage to water resources. In addition, it establishes a new water withdrawal authorization scheme that increases water resource protection.
Bear in mind that this Bill was first tabled in the National Assembly in June 2008 and, in September 2008, was the target of a public consultation led by the Committee on Transportation and the Environment of the Government of Québec. Following this public consultation and submission of briefs, some modifications were made to the Bill.