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Environmental Complaint Procedure

The following commitments apply to the ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques

Have you witnessed something that might not comply with Québec's environmental laws?

Here is what you can do...

Information folder (PDF, 332 ko)


The mission of Québec’s Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP) is to protect the environment and natural ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. As part of its mission, the Ministère monitors activities to ensure they comply with Québec’s environmental laws.

As citizens, you can also play a part by reporting to the Ministère any activity you may have witnessed that appears harmful to the environment.

What is meant by an environmental complaint

An environmental complaint consists in reporting an activity which there is reason to believe does not comply with the laws and regulations administered by the Ministère. Such an activity may be, for example:

  • Manure spreading too close to a drinking water well;
  • Dangerous residual materials that are improperly stored;
  • Black smoke coming out of a factory chimney;
  • The presence of heavy machinery in a stream bed.

Where and how to make an environmental complaint

The MDDEP’s Centre de contrôle environnemental du Québec (CCEQ) is responsible for handling environmental complaints. You must therefore report your complaint to the CCEQ branch serving the area where the reported activity has taken place. The complaint may be made by mail, telephone, fax, e-mail or in person. The contact details for the regional branches are given on the back of the pamphlet.

To make the complaint easier to process, provide the following information if possible:
  • The nature, date and time of the activity;
  • The precise location of the activity and directions for getting there;
  • The identity of the person responsible for the activity;
  • If relevant, a photograph showing the damages;
  • Your name and contact details to enable the Ministère to reach you.

It is also possible to file a complaint anonymously. In this case, however, the Ministère will not be able to inform you on the steps taken to follow up on your complaint.

How your complaint is handled

  • The right complaint at the right place

First, the CCEQ checks whether the complaint is within its jurisdiction, that is, if it has the power to intervene under Québec’s environmental laws. It may happen that your municipality or another organization or government department is responsible for handling your complaint.

  • The inspector's role

Your complaint will be treated confidentially and with due care. No later than 10 business days after your complaint is filed, a CCEQ inspector will inform you on how the grounds for the complaint will be investigated.

The inspector is mandated to check whether the reported activity complies with environmental regulations. Your complaint will be addressed as quickly as possible, depending on the nature and scope of the actual or potential environmental impacts.

In most cases, the inspector visits the area to investigate the site and installations and, if necessary, to take samples. If there is something wrong, the person responsible will be informed and asked to remedy the situation.

  • Follow-up with the person who filed the complaint

The processing of your complaint concludes when the inspector contacts you to inform you of his findings about the grounds for the complaint and, if applicable, the subsequent steps to be taken, as determined by the Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies and the protection of personal information. In most cases, the inspector gets in touch with the person who reported the complaint within 40 business days following receipt of the complaint.

In the event that you feel that the staff handling your environmental complaint have acted inappropriately or if certain service commitments were not upheld, we suggest you first get in touch with the regional director concerned.

If you are still not satisfied with the service you received, you can contact the Bureau des plaintes sur la qualité des services of the Ministère at 418 521-3859 (collect calls accepted).

What happens after your complaint has been processed

In the event that the reported activity is non-compliant, the inspector will check whether the requested remedial measures were taken and ensures that the activity is appropriately monitored. In most cases, the situation is resolved with the inspector’s intervention.

It may be necessary, however, to conduct an investigation in view of legal proceedings to issue a penalty for the offence. For this, an MDDEP inspector must establish proof beyond any doubt. The evidence is then submitted to the office of the Attorney General of Québec’s Ministère de la Justice, which issues a notice of offence to the alleged offender if it is deemed there are sufficient grounds to do so. CCEQ inspectors do not have the power to give out fines; only judges can fine offenders, once they have been found guilty of an offence.

When circumstances warrant, the MDDEP may, in accordance with the Environment Quality Act, order the execution of certain measures or revoke an authorization.

You may exercise your rights by personally asking a superior court judge to grant an injunction to prevent any act or activity that adversely affects or is likely to adversely affect the quality of the environment, its protection and the protection of living species living there.

Regional offices of the centre de contrôle environnemental du Québec (See list of regional offices)

Urgence-environnement

To report the accidental presence of a contaminant in the environment 1 866 694-5454. More details

For all information, contact the Centre d’information of the Ministère:

Telephone: 418 521-3830 / 1 800 561-1616 (toll-free)
Fax: 418 646-5974
Request for Information


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