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Recent Cases Nov 23, 2021

Favourable Decision for Québec Oil and Gas Companies

BCF’s Québec City office litigation team handled a case which resulted in an important decision recently rendered by the Court of Québec. The Court quashed a decision made in 2020 by Québec’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources to deny Gaspé Énergies an authorization to drill an oil well. According to the Minister, a low risk to existing or intermittent watercourses within a one-kilometre radius of the proposed drilling site for oil exploration on the Gaspé Peninsula has been identified.

However, the Court found that the regulation on which the Minister relied to deny the drilling permit was “inoperative and unenforceable” against the applicant due to non-publication in the Gazette officielle du Québec. Under Québec law, all regulations must be published as drafts in the Gazette officielle du Québec to inform the regulated community and the general public of the existence of a forthcoming regulation and thereby give the public the opportunity to comment before the proposed regulation is adopted. Failure to publish a regulation will lead to it being quashed by a court.

The judge also found that the Minister’s decision lacked sufficient reasoning under the rules of administrative law applicable to such decisions.

Gaspé Énergies will now be able to proceed with its drilling permit application, and any future permit applications, without having to comply with the one-kilometre setback requirement from watercourses, which had been the most stringent standard of any province or territory in Canada.

BCF is proud to have prevailed in this administrative law matter on behalf of its client Gaspé Énergies with a team consisting of Éric Orlup, Jean Piette, Julie Dorion and Ariane Carrier.

Click here to read the judgment.

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