Que­bec gov­ern­ment’s sec­ond at­tempt at ac­cel­er­ated in­fra­struc­ture bill

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL NEWS -

Que­bec’s Chair of the Trea­sury Board So­nia Lebel in­tro­duced Bill 66 on Wed­nes­day, an act that aims to ac­cel­er­ate ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects, in­clud­ing schools, se­niors’ homes, hos­pi­tals and public tran­sit.

The Que­bec gov­ern­ment also pro­duced a closed list of 181 pri­or­ity projects that are con­sid­ered el­i­gi­ble for ac­cel­er­ated pro­ce­dures. Al­though the 21 projects linked to Bill 61 no longer ap­pear on the list, the gov­ern­ment said they re­main a top pri­or­ity.

Those projects have changed slightly over time, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease, with many of them either com­pleted or un­der con­struc­tion. Af­ter lis­ten­ing to the con­cerns raised about Bill 61, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced this bill in hopes of meet­ing ev­ery­one’s ex­pec­ta­tions.

Lebel said there is more that needs to be done in or­der to re­vive Que­bec’s economy, which took a sig­nif­i­cant hit through­out the COVID-19 pan­demic. She added that grad­u­ally bring­ing back day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties isn’t enough to help the sit­u­a­tion.

“We must be proac­tive and act now. I am count­ing on the co­op­er­a­tion of the Na­tional Assem­bly to en­sure that ev­ery­one works to­gether to pass this im­por­tant bill, which aims to ac­cel­er­ate projects with­out cut­ting cor­ners in terms of en­vi­ron­men­tal in­tegrity and pro­tec­tion,” said Lebel.

Bill 66 also aims to re­in­force the in­tegrity of the public con­tract­ing process, strengthen en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­ce­dures and de­velop a sys­tem of ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency. The Au­torité des marchés publics (AMP) will be re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing public con­tracts.

The AMP will be able to re­view public con­tracts and sub-con­tracts. They also have the power to or­der re­me­dial ac­tion, sus­pend and ter­mi­nate con­tracts. The bill also pro­vides bian­nual re­ports for each of the projects un­der­go­ing ac­cel­er­ated pro­ce­dures.

The press re­lease states that the bill meets Que­bec’s rig­or­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards. The goal is to ac­cel­er­ate in­fra­struc­ture projects while si­mul­ta­ne­ously main­tain­ing the same en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion stan­dards.

If a project breaks the En­vi­ron­ment Qual­ity Act, it will be sub­ject to ma­jor fines and sanc­tions. In re­sponse to con­cerned en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists skep­ti­cal about the projects, the bill will make it manda­tory to have a pro­fes­sional fol­low up and en­sure the en­vi­ron­ment is pro­tected.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.