Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs
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Regulatory framework - Agriculture

Canola field - Photo: MELCC

The principal regulation covering soil and water protection in agricultural environments is the Agricultural Operations Regulation (AOR).

Some operators must also comply with the Water Withdrawal and Protection Regulation and the Regulation respecting the declaration of water withdrawals.

The Guide to recycling residual fertilizers (French, PDF, 2.6 MB) sets out the criteria governing the agricultural use of residual fertilizers. The agricultural use of pesticidesThis hyperlink will open in a new window. is also subject to legal constraints.

To ensure the quality of farmland and the rehabilitation and safe reuse of soils in Québec, a reminder (French, PDF, 231 KB) has been produced in collaboration with the Commission de protection du territoire agricole du Québec.

Finally, some activities require a Certificate of Authorization, pursuant to the Regulation respecting the application of the Environment Quality Act (section 2, paragraph 12).

Learn MBre about the AOR:

History of the AOR

The AOR came into effect on June 14, 2002, following a process aimed at MBdernizing the Regulation respecting the reduction of pollution from agricultural sources, which came into effect in 1997.

It puts forward an approach aimed at resolving the problem of diffuse pollution caused by agriculture, in essence by achieving a soil phosphorus balance. This new management approach takes account of plant nutrient needs and is based on the true calculation of farm-produced manure.

The Regulation also sets standards that apply to animal raising and storage facilities as well as to the elimination and/or reuse of manure, the removal of animals from waterways and riparian strips, cultivated acreage increases in impaired watersheds and Ministère administrative authorization and project notice requirements.

Numerous amendments have been made to the AOR since 2002:

  • December 2002: clarification of sections 22 and 48 in order to facilitate their application
  • November 2003: amendments to sections 45, 46 and 47 on maintaining hog production constraints.
  • December 2004: amendments to sections 45 to 47.1 on maintaining hog production constraints; and the addition of sections 50.1 to 50.4 dealing with the load capacity of aquatic environments with respect to agricultural activities
  • October 2005: changes to agro-environmental standards in sections 8, 9, 17, 18, 22, 29, 31, 32, 48 and 50; administrative requirement abatements to sections 46 and 47, and changes to sections 39, 44 and 51 and schedules II to V in order to detail and update the list of municipalities
  • September 2007: clarification of the provisions of section 29 on spreading fertilizers of special origins on pasture lands or parcels thereof where crops are intended for human consumption
  • July 2010: amendments to sections 3, 9, 16, 20, 21, 24, 26-29, 32-36, 39-44, 48-50 and 55, and schedules II to VI
  • April 2012: amendments to allow the electronic submission of phosphorus reports, the resolution of various issues relating to standards in impaired watershed and updates to schedules VI and VII
  • July 2013: amendments targeting the harmonization of the regulation with new penal administrative sanctions
  • March 2017: amendments to the coverage thresholds stipulated in sections 39 and 42 to match the Environment Quality Act’s environmental authorization scheme

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