Quebec Standard

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Legault government commits to raising royalties on water

Quebec

Key takeaways: 

  • Environmentalists expect the move to be almost electioneering and lead to more vital freshwater conservation.
  • Quebec charges $70 per million liters of water used by bottled water firms, a far lower rate than Ontario.

The Quebec government is shifting toward expanding the amount it charges commercial water users in what amounts to an early campaign contract months before the next election. 

Environment Minister Benoit Charette hopes to table a proposed law this week to raise the royalties assigned to commercial water users. 

There are few details regarding the coming legislation, first reported Monday by La Presse and later approved by Radio-Canada.

Such a bill has almost no chance of becoming the rule, given that this is the final week at the National Assembly before the summer holiday, and the subsequent regional election is set for Oct. 3. 

The region charges $70 per million liters of water drunk for one industry category, including bottled water firms.

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The Quebec government is shifting toward expanding the amount it charges commercial water users in what amounts to an early campaign contract months before the next election

Another type of user, which has pulp and paper mills, mines, and aluminum smelters, spends only $2.50 per million liters. According to budget papers, the province got in only $2.8 million in income from 811 billion liters of water consumption last year.

The royalty rates in Quebec are far more down than in Ontario, which raised the rate charged to bottled water firms to almost $500 per million liters in 2017.

European nations charge far more. Denmark, for instance, charges $10,000.

The rates in Quebec have not been raised since they were put into place in 2010. 

‘Smells of election politics’

Philippe Duhamel, a representative for the environmental group Eau Secours, said the move “smells of election politics,” given that the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government opposed raising the rate for the previous four years. 

Source – cbc.ca

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