Quebec tables bill to boost economy by fast-tracking major projects
The stimulus Bill 61 would allow projects to move ahead and bypass certain rules under the Environment Quality Act.
In a bid to help boost the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, Quebec’s provincial government is seeking to be able to fast-track land expropriations, environmental reviews, and work permits for public infrastructure projects across the province.
On June 3, Treasury Board president Christian Dube tabled Bill 61, known as an “Act to restart Quebec’s economy and to mitigate the consequences of the public health emergency.”
If passed, the bill will allow the government to bypass some of the usual checks and balances for major spending projects, to get them off the ground as soon as possible; and to streamline some of the provisions under Quebec’s Environment Quality Act.
In all, 202 infrastructure, education and health construction and renovation projects – either underway or to come – could be fast-tracked if the bill passes. This includes 90 infrastructure projects in the health sector and 48 seniors’ homes, as well as several construction plans for Montreal.
During a news conference on June 3, Dube said that the bill, if passed, wouldn’t allow the province would skirt around environmental laws – instead, all major projects identified by the Ministry of Environment would still need to be evaluated by Quebec’s environmental review board, known as the BAPE.
The Federation of Quebec Chambers of Commerce (FCCQ) said it supports the government’s decision to accelerate the province’s infrastructure projects to relaunch the Quebec economy.