Government land-use planning guidelines (GLPG)
Introduction of territories incompatible with mining activities in the Mining Act
The Act to amend the Mining Act, assented to on December 10, 2013, gave the opportunity to regional county municipalities (RCMs) as well as cities and agglomerations exercising certain powers of RCMs to delimit some territories for which the viability of the activities taking place there would be compromised by the impacts caused by the mining activity, called mining-incompatible territories (MIT), in their land use and development plan. These territories, once approved by the government, are removed from mining exploration and development starting from their reproduction on the ministère des Ressources naturelles et des Forêts (MNRF) map of mining titles. The government land-use planning guideline for mining (GLPG Mines), developed through a consensus among stakeholders including the government, mining industry, municipal actors and citizen groups, and subsequently adopted by the Gouvernement du Québec in December 2016, contains the criteria justifying a MIT.
The proposed regulations amending the RCM plan, containing the delineation of the MITs, must be consistent with the government land-use planning guideline entitled “Pour assurer une cohabitation harmonieuse de l’activité minière avec les autres utilisations du territoire” developed by the Gouvernement du Québec.
The guideline has two aims and four expectations:
- To protect activities whose viability would be compromised by the impacts of mining activity, based on community land uses and concerns:
- Identify and delimit mining-incompatible territories;
- Understand and consider the community’s concerns;
- Understand and consider mining rights;
- Foster the development of mineral resources by harmonizing different land uses:
- Structure the introduction of sensitive uses close to mining sites.
A RCM can submit its MIT project to the ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH) who, after consultation with the departments concerned, provides the government notice on the compliance of the project within 60 days of the receipt of the request. When the notice is favourable, the RCM can then adopt the by-law in question. If the notice is unfavourable, the RCM is called upon to make the necessary corrections so that it can resubmit its project to government compliance and thus obtain a favourable notice of compliance for it.
Temporary suspension for MIT delimitation
During the development of their MIT projects, RCMs have the option of requesting that the MNRF temporarily suspend the right to map a claim on the lands they plan to submit to the government as a MIT. This suspension is valid for a period of 6 months and is renewable with the demonstration that the RCM is still developing its MIT delimitation project. In this way, no new mining titles can be registered in this territory during the MIT delimitation process. However, an active or applied-for mining title at the time of the suspension continues to be in effect and is not affected by the suspension.
Consequences of a MIT on the territory
Where the by-law containing an amendment to the plan that would delimit a mining-incompatible territory is found to comply with the guideline and other government guidelines, the MAMH issues a notice of compliance to the RCM. The latter will then have to send certain documents to the MRNF in order to complete the implementation of the MIT.
Withdrawal of mining activity from the mining-incompatible territory takes effect on the day on which it is published on the MRNF’s map of mining titles, available online via GESTIM .
Withdrawal prevents any new mining exploration right from being granted for mineral substances forming part of the domain of the State, in addition to requiring claims holders to carry out exploration work on the land as a condition for the renewal of that title.
The creation of mining-incompatible territories in collaboration with the RCMs and other regional actors is intended to promote transparency and citizen participation. It is also intended to ensure sustainable land management and to support community dynamism, among other things, through the reconciliation of uses with a view to the social acceptability of public land development projects.
As of June 30, 2023, 15 RCMs placed MITs on their territories (see the following tables). As of that date, there are also 25 RCMs in Québec that have temporary suspensions in effect in anticipation of a MIT.
Territory proportions of MITs in effect
|RCM or City||Territory % – MIT||Territory % – Private|
|MRC La Côte-de-Beaupré||17.8||60.7|
|MRC La Côte-de-Gaspé||5.2||50.7|
|MRC La Haute-Yamaska||97.8||96.7|
|MRC Le Rocher-Percé||6.1||5.7|
|MRC Les Maskoutains||99.9||99.1|
|MRC Les Sources||13.4||97.2|
|MRC Le Val Saint-François||40.2||94.6|
|Ville de Laval||86.5||93.7|
|Ville de Sherbrooke||99.8||95.2|
Support provided by the MNRF to RCMs in the process of developing a MIT
The MNRF works closely with the RCMs at various levels to help them understand the GLPG-Mines criteria for delimiting their MITs. In particular, the MRNF offers support, including two types of personalised support:
- Pre-analysis support is provided to RCMs in order to be able to identify certain aspects of the MIT project that will need to be rewritten or the justification adjusted or that have been omitted from the project. A map validation can also be performed during this period.
- Support following the receipt of an unfavourable government notice may also be provided to enable the RCM to better understand the corrective measures to be taken to their project more specifically with the professionals who have conducted the project analysis.
The MNRF also offers certain workshops to any RCM interested in having a presentation of the GLPG-Mines criteria, receiving standard examples of certain aspects of the MIT or more specific workshops on the specifics of a criterion.
The MNRF also participates in the regional planning committees to respond to RCM concerns about MITs and offers to present the GLPG-Mines criteria to various concerned groups as soon as they request it.
- Government Guideline – Mining Activity (in French only)