Montreal, April 6, 2023 – The Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement (CQDE) welcomes the reiterated intention to make water withdrawal data public as announced by the Minister of the Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks (MEFCCWP) at the time of tabling the brand-new Bill 20, An Act to establish the Blue Fund and to amend other provisions, but the public is still waiting for the concretization of this commitment, which could have already been directly included in the bill itself.   

If no amendments are made to the legislation, the CQDE, which has been lobbying for greater transparency for a number of years alongside Eau Secours, will be impatiently awaiting the announced regulation that should make it possible to lift the lid of secrecy on this data. The organization emphasizes that transparency must be complete and without exception.

“The government is still at the stage of intention on the issue of transparency. We welcome the renewal of this intention but are still waiting for a guarantee that the secrecy on water will be completely lifted,” explains Me Marc Bishai, a lawyer at the CQDE.

The CQDE reiterates its willingness to collaborate in the legislative work and public consultations related to this issue.

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History and highlights

After a court case in 2018 to find out how much water was withdrawn by bottling companies, the Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement (CQDE), along with Eau Secours, launched a mobilization action in May 2022 to demand a change in the legal framework aimed at lifting the secrecy on water withdrawals. Thousands of citizens participated. Some 60 municipalities also passed resolutions to the same effect.