After conducting a thorough environmental assessment, including extensive public consultations, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada recently issued its report on the proposed Laurentia terminal project at the Port of Quebec. Based on information in the report and the subsequent recommendation of Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Government of Canada has denied permission for the project to proceed.
The agency found that the Laurentia project, announced in May 2019 by partners Hutchison Ports and Canadian National Railway, and which was to have resulted in a new deep-water terminal for containerised general cargo, was likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects to fish and fish habitat, air quality and human health, socio-economic conditions, and the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by Indigenous peoples.
Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, referred the matter to the Governor in Council to determine if those environmental impacts were justified in the circumstances; they were deemed to be unjustifiable.
The Laurentia project was one of five port terminal expansion projects proposed in the province of Quebec in the last several years. Two are currently undergoing a federal environmental assessment. Two others, the Contrecoeur Port Terminal Expansion Project and the Marine Terminal Project on the North Shore of the Saguenay, were approved in March 2021 and October 2018, respectively.