Court of Appeal of Quebec

Ville de Rivière-du-Loup c. Procureure générale du Québec

January 09, 2018

200-09-009340-164

Bouchard, Ruel, Rancourt

Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court dismissing an application for a declaratory judgment. Dismissed.

The appellant city operates a technical landfill site (TLS) where, on a daily basis, it used residue from crushed construction materials (”fluff”) and ashes to cover residual matter disposed of there. In 2012, it was informed that the quantities of residual materials received at its TLS, including the quantity of cover materials, exceeded the 50,000 metric ton limit established in the Regulation respecting the landfilling and incineration of residual materials (CQLR, c. Q-2, r.19) making the TLS subject to certain obligations and restrictions. The Superior Court refused to declare that the cover materials used at the appellant’s TLS were not residual materials and that they should not be counted in the annual tonnage of residual materials discarded.

Paragraph 11 of section 1 of the Environment Quality Act (CQLR, c. Q-2) provides two distinct categories of residual materials, that is, “any residue resulting from a production, treatment or utilization process” and “any substance, material or product or, more generally, any object that is discarded or that the holder intends to discard”. The term “residue” therefore depends not only on the intention of the holder to discard the object, but also on its origin, according to whether it results from a production, treatment, or utilization process. 

Section 53.1 of the Act defines two methods of residual materials management: elimination and reclamation. In light of the definition of reclamation, residual materials necessarily include residue likely to conserve value, such as when it is re-used or recycled to obtain a useful product. Once again, residue cannot be limited to that which is discarded by its owner for elimination. 

The overlap that may exist between the concepts of “cover materials” and “residual materials” for the purpose of applying the Regulation respecting the landfilling and incineration of residual materials is expressly set out in paragraph 6 of section 42 of this regulation. 

Finally, the interpretation accepted by the Superior Court is not inconsistent with the Regulation respecting the charges payable for the disposal of residual materials (CQLR, c. Q-2, r. 43), which aims to reduce the quantity of residual materials destined for disposal, since the goal of the Regulation respecting the landfilling and incineration of residual materials is completely different. According to the latter regulation, all residual materials must be included in the calculation of annual tonnage so as to be subject to the obligations of collection and removal of biogas.

The “fluff” and ashes are therefore residual materials under the Regulation respecting the landfilling and incineration of residual materials.

*Summary by SOQUIJ
Text of the decision: Http://citoyens.soquij.qc.ca. This link open an external website in a new window.

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