Québec joined the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) in April 2008. The WCI is a group of American states and Canadian provinces that have decided to adopt a common approach toward addressing climate change, in particular by developing and implementing a North American system for capping and trading GHG emission rights.
In order to create a common carbon market, each WCI partner must first adopt a regulation establishing a GHG emissions cap-and-trade system on its territory. Once the cap-and-trade systems of all WCI partners are linked through intergovernmental recognition agreements, a regional North American carbon market will be born.
From 2007 to 2010, the WCI partners devoted most of their efforts toward developing a GHG emissions cap and trade program. The program’s operating guidelines were unveiled in September 2008.
Subsequently, the Design for the WCI Regional Program, setting out how the WCI’s cap-and-trade system would work, was made public in July 2010, as was the Offset System Essential Elements Final Recommendations Paper, which set out the final recommendations on how to define offset credits and qualifying criteria. - Press Release (French - 2010-07-27)
On June 18, 2009 the Government of Québec unanimously adopted the Act to amend the Environment Quality Act and other legislative provisions in relation to climate change, giving the Government the power to implement on its territory, by regulatory means, the regional cap and trade system of the WCI. - Press Release (French - 2009-06-19)
On December 14, 2011 the Government of Québec adopted the Regulation respecting the cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances. Québec is the first Canadian partner to adopt its regulation, officially placing it on the starting line on January 1, 2012 next to California, which adopted its regulation on October 20, 2011. - Press Release (2011-12-15)
On December 12, 2012, the Government of Québec enacted the Regulation to amend the Regulation respecting a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances that seeks to harmonize and link Québec’s systems with California’s and eventually, with potential partners such as Ontario and British Columbia. The Regulation also provides Québec’s operational rules for the “offset credits” component of the system aimed at acknowledging GHG emission reductions from projects completed by businesses in industries that are not targeted by the cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances itself. – News Release (French - 2012-12-13)
On October 1, 2013, the Québec Minister of International Relations, La Francophonie and External Trade, Jean-François Lisée, the Québec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks, Yves-François Blanchet, and the Chair of the California Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols, announced the signing of an agreement specifying the steps and procedures for fully harmonizing and integrating their respective cap-and-trade systems for greenhouse gas emission allowances. The agreement provides that the linkage of the two systems will officially take effect on January 1, 2014. – Press release (2013-10-01)
On November 5, 2013, the members of the National Assembly of Québec unanimously approved the agreement between the Government of Québec and the California Air Resources Board on the harmonization and integration of the cap-and-trade programs for greenhouse gas emission allowances. – Press release (2013-11-05)