The Sustainable Development Act
(Claude Béchard, Ministre du Développement durable, de
l'Environnement et des Parcs,
The Sustainable Development Act, a core element of the Sustainable Development Plan that the government presented to the population in the fall of 2004, underwent a vast public consultation held in 21 towns of Québec, followed up by a parliamentary commission in 2005.
Québec’s sustainable development legislation created a new sustainable development accountability framework for all departments and numerous government agencies.
The approach taken by the Québec government in sustainable development stems from the will to create a context for innovation and renewal of practices first within Québec’s public service and then expanded to municipal organizations, and educational, health and social services networks with their approval. Legally establishing an accountability framework for sustainable development is a way to make actions taken by players in these areas more coherent, since this framework helps to channel efforts that have already been undertaken to reach common goals.
In other respects, the Sustainable Development Act gives the Québec government the ability to meet its international commitments. Along with the governments in attendance at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg (2002), Québec pledged to develop and implement a national sustainable development strategy.
It is also the culmination of one of the conclusions of the Forum des générations held by the Québec government in October 2004; a forum whose participants had recommended the application of measures favouring sustainable development. Also, the Sustainable Development Act’s assent is a response to the recommendation formulated in the 2003 –2004 report submitted by Québec’s interim Auditor General, which establishes the following with respect to sustainable development:
Québec’s Sustainable Development Act confirms the commitment of government departments and agencies and ensures the perenniality of the government’s sustainable development approach.
Québec has focused its approach on legislation that puts sustainable development at the heart of government action by setting clear rules. Thus, the law:
With this Act, the Québec government has entered an important phase by making sustainable development an intrinsic part of its activities.
The Rapport sur l’application de la Loi sur le développement durable takes stock of the first years of the implementation of the government’s approach, from the time the Sustainable Development Act came into force on April 19, 2006 to April 19, 2013.