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Quebec Land Use Planning (1-QC-a)

Information current as of 2018
In Quebec, land use planning is primarily delegated to municipal governments. The Land Use Planning and Development Act establishes the legal framework for land use planning and development in Quebec. The Quebec – Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Regions, and Land Occupancy (Ministry) ensures compliance with provincial land use planning policy statements by authorizing metropolitan, regional county municipal or municipal land use plans. Planning and Development Powers in Quebec Summary p. 2.


The Municipal Powers Act establishes the powers of municipalities, as well as the powers exercised by regional county municipalities concurrently with the local municipalities and those which are exclusive to regional county municipalities. Planning and Development Powers in Quebec Summary p. 2.



Land Use Planning Process

1-QC-a.1 – Review Provincial Land-Use Plans

A developer should review the provincial land-use plan applicable to the area where the project will be located to ensure that the project complies. R.S.Q. 1999, c. T-8.1 s. 21. The land-use plan describes provincial sites and determines their uses according to the provincial government’s resource conservation and development goals. R.S.Q. 1999, c. T-8.1 s. 21.

1-QC-a.2 – Review Strategic Vision Statements

A developer should review the strategic vision statements applicable to the land base where the project will be located to ensure that the project complies. Every responsible body is required to have a strategic vision in place for cultural, economic, environmental and social development in its territory. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 2.3. “Responsible body” means either a metropolitan community that must maintain a metropolitan land-use and development plan or a regional county municipality (RCM) that must maintain a land-use and development plan. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 1 (7.1). Every metropolitan community is a responsible body with respect to a metropolitan plan. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 2.1. Every RCM is a responsible body with respect to an RCM plan. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 2.2.

1-QC-a.3 – Review Metropolitan Plan

A developer should review the metropolitan plan for any metropolitan community the project will pass through to ensure the project complies. The province of Quebec has two metropolitan communities; the Montreal Metropolitan Community and the Quebec Metropolitan Community. Quebec Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Regions, and Land Occupancy – Planning and Development Powers in Quebec Summary. Each metropolitan plan defines policy directions, objectives and criteria for the sustained competitive and attractive development of the territory of the metropolitan community. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 2.24.

1-QC-a.4 – Review Regional County Municipality Plan

A developer should review the RCM plan in the counties that the project will pass through to ensure that the project complies. Each RCM is made up of all the local municipalities of a same territory which form an administrative entity. Planning and Development Powers in Quebec Summary p. 2. The RCM plan also include a complementary document establishing rules requiring municipalities whose territories are comprised in that regional county to adopt by-laws that align with the RCM plan. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 5.

1-QC-a.5 – Review Municipal Zoning By-Laws

A developer should review the municipal by-laws in the municipalities that the project will pass through to ensure that the project complies. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 113. A municipal council may make by-laws on the placing of wires, including wire burial. R.S.Q. 2005, c. C-47.1 s. 16. A zoning by-law may:

  • Classify structures and uses to divide the municipality into zones;
  • Specify, for each zone, the structures and uses that are authorized and those that are prohibited, including public uses and buildings, and the land occupation densities;
  • Specify, by zones, the open space that must be left between structures and the different uses, between structures or between the different uses, whether the structures or uses are grouped together or not, and whether they are situated in the same zone or in contiguous zones, and to prescribe where applicable, the use and development of such open space;
  • Specify for each zone the proportion of a landsite which may be occupied by a structure or use;
  • To regulate or prohibit all or certain land uses, structures or works;
  • To permit, by zone, groups of structures and uses of a determined classification and prescribe the specific rules applicable in such a case;
  • Determine, for each zone, the uses permitted in any part of a structure; R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 113.

1-QC-a.6 to 1-QC-a.8 – Application for Authorization of a Specific Proposal

A developer must apply to the council of a municipality for authorization of a specific proposal (variance) if the project does not comply with a municipal by-law. The council of a municipality may adopt a by-law concerning a specific construction, alteration or occupancy proposal if the proposal doesn’t comply with a by-law. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 145.36.

1-QC-a.9 – Consult with the Planning Advisory Committee

The council must consult with the planning advisory committee before deciding on an application for authorization of a specific proposal. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 145.38. A planning advisory committee is created by municipal by-law and is composed of a least one member of the municipal council and other members who are chosen from among the residents of the municipality. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 146.

1-QC-a.10 – Review Application for Completeness

The council of the municipality must review the Application for administrative and technical completeness.

1-QC-a.11 to 1-QC-a.12 – Review Application for Approval

A municipal council must review the application for authorization of a specific proposal for approval. To be authorized, the project must be consistent with the aims of the municipality’s planning program. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 145.36.

1-QC-a.13 – Authorization for a Specific Proposal

The council may authorize the specific proposal subject to any condition that must be satisfied in carrying out of the project. R.S.Q. 2003, c. A-19.1 s. 145.38.


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