Laurentia: Taking note of the 3 additional opinions
Québec, May 3, 2021 — The Québec Port Authority (QPA) read the three (3) supplementary opinions joining the fifteen (15) federal and provincial ministries as part of the assessment process for the Laurentia project by the Canadian Impact Assessment Agency (CIAA). Based on that reading, it seems for Health Canada that “. . . the analysis allows for a more nuanced picture of the human health risk attributable to the Laurentia project,” suggesting that “. . . most of the air quality exceedances and human health risks are attributable to the baseline” (quality of the air in the Limoilou area right now). Health Canada concluded by noting that “the array of air quality mitigation measures discussed in the promoter’s support materials turn out to be very significant.”
The Port of Québec further points out that the current step is only one of a series yet to come. The Port remains confident that IAAC will incorporate and consider all the new scientific information and important technical improvements to the project in its final report. The Port points out as well that the decision-making process following the IAAC’s deliberations will also consider a dataset relating to economic and strategic considerations that set the project in its fuller, broad context.
The opinions come after a QPA report submitted in December that incorporated material from the IAAC public consultations. The Port at that time had asked the Agency for extra time for the numerous meetings it would hold to improve the Laurentia project. Among the documents submitted by the Port on March 31 is also a more exhaustive study by a recognized expert looking particularly at human health (level 2). Consider that in the more than 500 pages submitted, the Port of Québec has presented numerous mitigation measures as well as information materials on the nature of the improvements that have been made. The Port has presented concrete responses to every issues raised, demonstrating once again that its conscientious work over the last several years is based on the latest and most complete scientific findings. The total is now 105 days of work involving about 30 experts that has led to 40 new initiatives being approved and added to the project. We note as well that because of the deadlines imposed by law, the three federal departments represented by Health Canada, Environment Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada were given only three weeks to review all that information and submit their supplementary opinions.
We point out as well that Ville de Québec recently announced that uncertified wood stoves would be prohibited in the city beginning September 1, 2026. That will make a big difference to air quality baseline in Limoilou by addressing a source that represents 60% of emissions in winter. Unfortunately the ban comes too late to be thoroughly assessed by the Agency. This is because Agency analyses are not permitted to consider possible future improvements to current baselines.
Laurentia is a project of national economic and strategic interest and is in keeping with Quebec’s and Canada’s desire to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. It offers a positive alternative to supply container trade throughout the country, and will help Canada achieve its 2030 objectives under the Paris Agreement (2015) aimed at limiting climate change by reducing GHG emissions. Every effort has been made to make Laurentia the best container terminal project in North America.
Joint investments of $775 million by Hutchison Ports, CN, and the Port of Québec will be used to make Laurentia the greenest deepwater container terminal in North America. It will provide faster and more cost-effective access to North American markets by opening up a new marine superhighway joining Southeast Asia to the Port of Québec starting in 2024.
In Laurentia, the Port of Québec makes good on its strategic vision to become tomorrow’s port, meeting the new maritime transport standards and joining the accelerating trend towards the electrification of transportation and technology. A total of 7,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs (equal to 1,750 full-time jobs per year) will be created in Canada during the 2021–2024 construction phase and another 1,000 indirect, induced, and highly paid direct jobs in Canada after inauguration, expanding and securing the supply chain and creating export opportunities for Quebec and the entire country, in which maritime transport accounts for over 85% of international trade.
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Québec Port Authority