Port of Québec
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Annual review 2023Environment, society, governance and sustainable development

Environment and biodiversity

The Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations Global Compact

The Port of Québec is a proud signatory to the United Nations Global Compact. This support represents a commitment to integrate the principles of the Global Compact into its strategy, culture and day-to-day operations and to promote them within the Port’s sphere of influence.

Through its 2035 Vision and its new environment, social, governance and sustainable development (ESGDD) plan, the Port intends to take action to implement the 17 United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 SDGs are also linked to the 2030 Agenda of the Worldwide Network of Port Cities (AIVP), ratified by the Port of Québec in 2019.

The Port of Québec has long been actively involved in AIVP, whose objective is to improve the relationship between cities and ports in the framework of mutual cooperation for more sustainable, responsible and innovative urban, port and economic development, placing citizens at the heart of its actions.

2024–2028 ESGDD Strategy

In 2023, the Port of Québec developed its new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, in parallel with the adoption of its third Sustainable Development (SD) action plan, covering the period 2024–2028. A Sustainable Development committee was also created within the Board of Directors to monitor the progress of this new ESGDD plan. In close coordination with the 2035 Vision and strategic planning, the new plan is firmly aligned with the SDGs with the implementation of nearly 20 specific actions. These actions are organized around four priority axes:

ESG Leadership

  • Make continuous efforts to improve the integration of ESG culture and practices within the organization;
  • Support up to four new innovation initiatives per year to further emerging sustainable development solutions;
  • Gradually integrate new requirements related to ESG considerations into our contracting and procurement practices;
  • Establish structured collaboration mechanisms with our business partners, targeting opportunities to adopt ESG best practices;
  • Continue to improve the sustainable development approach for all recreational and tourism activities and events.

Climate resilience and decarbonization

  • Reduce GHGs and criteria air contaminants from cruise ships by at least 50% compared to 2022 levels by 2030, through dockside electrification;
  • Reduce GHGs emissions by 40% compared to 2022 levels across the port territory in collaboration with the port community by 2035;
  • Reduce the Port Authority’s GHGs emissions by 40% compared to 2022 levels by 2035 while maintaining the carbon neutrality of our operations.
  • Analyze climate risks and prospects according to the standards of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and adopt a climate resilience plan.

Environment and biodiversity

  • Ensure sound environmental management of the region by going beyond regulations and aiming for the highest standards of Green Marine certification;
  • Carry out at least five tangible projects per year to protect and promote the environment and biodiversity in the area;
  • Adopt a comprehensive greening plan that is consistent with the community’s goals;
  • Implement the new Impact Assessment and Mitigation Process (IAMP) for activities and projects on the Port territory;
  • Establish objectives for ecosystem preservation, conservation, and enhancement with an ecosystem sustainability plan.

Employees and communities

  • Enhance the employee experience and maintain a job satisfaction index among the best in comparable organizations;
  • Increase our community involvement, notably by setting up an annual fund dedicated to citizen initiatives;
  • Continue to work with stakeholders to improve air quality, particularly through active participation in the 2022-2027 action plan put forward by the Comité intersectoriel sur la contamination environnementale et la qualité de l’air dans l’arrondissement La Cité-Limoilou (CICEL);
  • Carry out three projects in collaboration with local stakeholders to address the priorities identified at the citizen round tables;
  • Share more relevant information about citizen concerns in an effort to be transparent;
  • Foster constructive relationships with First Nations and increase their contribution to Port activities.

Transparency and accountability

As part of its ESGDD strategy and with a desire to improve information sharing, in 2023 the Port began a process of gradually integrating recognized reporting standards into its communications. Theses standards include the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the United Nations world Sustainable Development Goals and the Climate Change Reporting Working Group (CCRWG). To this end, an initial reference of the information contained in this report with regard to the GRI elements is available in appendix.

Green Marine

The Port of Québec is a founding member of Green Marine, an ambitious environmental program for the marine industry in Canada and the United States. This voluntary initiative enables the Port to improve its environmental performance by targeting key issues related to air, water and soil quality, biodiversity protection, and community relations. To obtain this certification, the Port must meet all the requirements of the rigorous and transparent certification process. Every two years, the Port of Québec submits its results to an accredited external auditor.

In 2023, the Port of Québec maintained the highest level for each of the Green Marine certification criteria. The Port is the only one of the approximately 50 participating North American Port authorities to achieve level 5 for the sixth consecutive year. The Port of Québec once again stands out from the average of participating ports in 2023 in terms of the six criteria below.

Air quality

In 2023, the Port of Québec took concrete steps to respond to the recommendations emanating from reports such as the working group on contaminants (Groupe de travail sur les contaminants atmosphériques, ACWG) (published in January 2023) and Mon environnement, ma santé (MEMS) [My Environment, My Health] from the public health directorate (DSP) under the Integrated Health and Social Services Centre (CIUSSS) for the Capitale-Nationale region (published in March 2023). These recommendations are in line with the priorities and 2035 Vision already established by the Port of Quebec, including initiatives such as the electrification of wharves for cruise ships, the electrification or hybridization of port vehicles, and the promotion of the greening of its facilities and grounds.

In 2023, the Port strengthened its collaboration with the Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec (MELCCFP) and with the Ville de Québec. In 2022, following an unprecedented collaboration, the Port of Québec, the Ville de Québec and MELCCFP joined forces to set up an intensive sampling campaign from October to December, through a synchronized network of eight air quality measuring stations in the Cité-Limoilou borough. The results of this campaign were presented to the public at a press conference in August 2023.

In addition, in the interest of transparency and to facilitate public access to air quality data in Québec City, the Port has undertaken to share data from its two air quality monitoring stations, covering fine particles (PM 2.5), total suspended particulate matter (TSP) and nickel in respirable particulate matter (nickel-PM10). This data is now available on the Ville de Québec’s official website. For the years to come, the Port is committed to continuing and intensifying this fruitful collaboration, an approach that remains a top priority for the Port of Québec and its partners.

Climate change and greenhouse gases

The Port of Quebec aims to achieve carbon neutrality in its activities by 2050 and intends to step up the fight against climate change and accelerate decarbonization on its territory.

Since 2021, the Port of Québec has offset its GHG emissions (scopes 1 and 2) by purchasing carbon credits on the regulated market. In 2023, the Port of Québec offset the emission of 460 tonnes of GHGs emitted in 2022. In addition to offsetting its emissions, the Port of Québec has set GHG reduction targets for scopes 1, 2 and 3 by 2030 and 2035. Through its ESGDD action plan, the Port of Québec has implemented a series of measures to achieve these targets.

In 2023, the ports of Québec, Montréal and Trois-Rivières announced their joint adherence to the Net-Zero Challenge, demonstrating the marine industry’s desire to decarbonize the St. Lawrence corridor. Launched in 2022 by Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Net-Zero Challenge is a voluntary initiative that encourages companies to develop and implement credible and effective transition plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Finally, the Port of Québec continued its collaboration with CICEL, with a particular focus on the development of the next action plan for 2022–2027.

Shoreline clean-up

n 2023, two initiatives to clean up the Beauport Bay shoreline were successfully completed. The first, in June, was organized in collaboration with the Blue Organization during Ocean Week. The second, in September, was organized to commemorate World Cleanup Day, with the support of the water education and environmental monitoring group (Groupe d’éducation et d’écosurveillance de l’eau, G3E). These events brought together a dedicated team, including Port employees as well as QSL members and many committed citizens.

The results of these joint efforts were remarkable: Nearly 225 kg of waste were removed from the riverbanks, including tires, hats, shoes, golf and tennis balls, children’s toys, bottles, and cans.

Since 2019, the Port has committed to organizing annual shoreline cleaning actions on its territory. Its employees, partners and citizens have come together to remove more than 4,200 kg of waste from aquatic habitats. This significant contribution demonstrates the Port’s unwavering commitment to the preservation of its territory.


In November 2023, the Port of Québec entered into an alliance with the St. Lawrence Action Fund (SLAF) to launch an innovative partnership to fund initiatives that promote the preservation and enhancement of ecosystems in port areas. This five-year agreement provides for a total investment of $350,000, half of which will be allocated by the Port of Québec. Each year, the two entities will work closely together to select projects eligible for this partnership. These projects will be carefully selected, focusing on their strategic impact and the benefits they can bring to the conservation and enhancement of the region’s ecosystems. The Port of Québec’s objective is to implement five projects each year with the aim of protecting and beautifying the environment, while preserving local biodiversity.

A new initiative has also been launched to better understand, document, monitor and promote biodiversity on port territory. This innovative project brings together various local environmental actors in a working group dedicated to the development of an ambitious action plan. The plan aims to establish concrete objectives for the preservation, conservation, and enhancement of biodiversity. Under the aegis of the environmental regional council for the National Capital region (CRE de la Capitale-Nationale), this initiative promises to lead to tangible actions to promote healthy ecosystems for years to come.


The Port of Québec collaborated with the Centre d’enseignement et de recherche en foresterie [forestry education and research centre] (CERFO) to carry out a comprehensive study to identify the trees on its territory. This partnership has identified and classified more than 10,000 trees, which have been entered into a sophisticated data system. This approach will enable the Port to develop a coherent greening strategy, in harmony with land use planning.

Thanks to the specialized tools provided by CERFO, a greening plan focused on improving ecosystem services will be developed. This plan aims to mitigate heat islands, increase biodiversity, and increase the capture of air contaminants. Major projects are already planned for the next few years, including the first phase of construction of a screen wall in Beauport, which is intended to build on the environmental benefits provided by vegetation.

In 2023, a first initiative was launched with the planting of 44 trees in the Beauport sector and around the Louise Basin parking lot, helping to improve the area’s tree cover.

Impact Assessment and Mitigation Process (IAMP)

Since the adoption of its Environmental Citizen Participation Process (ECPP) nearly 10 years ago, the Port of Québec has since modernized its approach to project assessment. As a result, the new IAMP now guides the implementation of projects on the port territory and goes beyond the obligations as a federal authority under the Impact Assessment Act (IAA, 2019), which requires that projects do not generate significant adverse environmental impacts.

In addition to ensuring a fair and predictable assessment of the potential impacts of projects, the IAMP now aims to include all activities likely to generate significant impacts on the community. Guided by a risk analysis and the application of appropriate mitigation measures, it also ensures that project applicants receive structured support during consultations with citizens.

This process, involving interested communities, also allows for a systematic and constructive dialogue with the affected First Nations. In this regard, the approach was discussed and developed in collaboration with the Huron-Wendat Nation to ensure that its interests are adequately reflected in the range of projects and activities submitted to the evaluation process.

Employees and communications

Organizational Development and Human Resources

2023 saw the beginning of a remarkable digital transformation at the Port of Québec. First, the launch of an employer brand and the revamping of the “Careers” section of the Port’s website provided a more enjoyable experience for candidates, accurately reflecting the spirit of the Port. The Port is proud of this new image, which embodies not only the distinctive aspects of career opportunities, but also its core values of accomplishment, respect, agility, and collaboration.

The Organizational Development and Human Resources team also prioritized skills development internally, notably through the adoption of new work tools. This transition to digital technology has significantly improved the employee experience by providing continuous feedback mechanisms and instant communication accessible from anywhere.

These initiatives have undoubtedly contributed to a significant increase in employee satisfaction. As a case in point, the indicator measuring their likelihood of recommending the Port of Québec as an employer (eNPS) is increasing and even exceeds market comparisons.

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)

The Port of Québec is pleased to have implemented effective preventive measures in 2023 and to have maintained a constant presence on the ground, resulting in a full year free of disabling accidents. The Port has successfully implemented all action plans, in addition to providing several trainings to staff and conducting risk analyses. The Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) continued to evolve through the implementation of programs and procedures. This documentation is readily accessible and regularly updated.

The Port of Québec works closely with the various administrative departments to assess risks, implement operational procedures, and investigate incidents. The annual review is extremely positive, reflecting a culture of sharing and collaboration not only within the Port of Québec, but also with other port authorities across the province. The Port maintains a constant eye on operations in order to offer advice and support to the various departments in the adoption and implementation of safe work practices.

The Health and Wellness at Work Program

The Rendez-vous santé program captured the attention of employees through a variety of initiatives such as presentations, clinics, interactive kiosks, and a range of physical activities. These efforts aim to encourage the adoption of healthy lifestyles within our organization. The topics discussed at these events were carefully chosen to cover key aspects of health, such as balanced nutrition, health promotion and disease prevention, and the early detection of cardiovascular disease.

Occupational Health and Safety Management System

The Port of Québec continued to refine and deploy its OHS Management System with the updating of various procedures on lifting, manual handling, traffic and signage, and working near water. A new heavy vehicle program, named “Propriétaires, exploitants et conducteurs de véhicules lourds” [Owners, operators and drivers of heavy vehicles] was introduced to comply with the requirements of the related legislation.

In addition, numerous employees participated in trainings related to the risks present in their workplace, including risks associated with working in confined spaces, the use of forklifts and hot work procedures. In 2023, nearly fifteen training sessions were given, strengthening safety skills and raising awareness within the Port of Québec.

Local OSH committee

The Port of Quebec’s local OHS committee was quite active in 2023. It participated in the development and updating of the OHS programs and procedures. In addition, the committee collaborated on the implementation of an action plan for its activities. This action plan lists planned inspections, upcoming events and investigations, the progress of the risk prevention program and the trainings to be offered.

Environment, Health and Safety Committee (EHSC)

In accordance with the work plan for 2023, the Environment, Health and Safety Committee held two important meetings, the second of which was a specialized symposium focusing on safety, health and the environment and featuring speakers. During these meetings, various key OSH topics were discussed, including fall prevention, gas detection and regulations. In addition, important information on accidents at work was shared to improve understanding and prevent such situations.

In addition, the Port organized several first aid training courses. Offered in collaboration with operators and given at the Port of Québec facilities, these training courses were designed to strengthen first aid skills and effective emergency response, thus helping to promote a safe and secure work environment for all employees.

Community Relations

Neighbourhood round tables

Over the past year, the Port of Québec has adopted a social innovation approach, where change is initiated by and for the community. To this end, four neighbourhood round tables were organized, providing citizens with the opportunity to freely share their concerns about port activities and discuss potential solutions. Two internal workshops were held to solicit input from Port teams on possible solutions. These tables have resulted in 74 community commitments, which have already begun to be implemented.

In addition, two co-creation and project ideation meetings were organized, one on the revitalization of the Anse au Foulon Harbour Walkway and the other on the creation of a citizens’ initiatives fund. These meetings allowed for a fruitful collaboration with 54 citizens and members of local organizations.

Public consultations

Over the past year, targeted consultations were held with various stakeholders, with the aim of revising the Land Use Plan (LUP). Approximately 50 people, including citizens, port operators, and municipal and government representatives, were consulted.

A public consultation meeting for the layout of the Solstice sauna, at the Tanguay wharf, was also held. The meeting brought together more than 40 people and generated 28 recommendations. These were taken into consideration during the project study and were forwarded to the proponent.

In addition, three online consultations were conducted through the citizen consultation platform Je participe to gather users’ opinions on the Port of Québec’s recreational tourism sites (Agora, La Cale and Oasis). A total of 1,557 people responded to the surveys.

Finally, the Je Participe platform recorded 6,709 visits and an engagement rate of 34%. Easy to use and access, this tool allows community members to share their ideas with the Port, obtain information on projects, provide comments, and make recommendations.

Port Community Relations Committee (Comité de Cohabitation Port-Communauté)

In 2023, the community relations committee met four times, with a total of 17 members, including citizens and community stakeholders. These meetings were devoted to reviewing port issues and projects. This valuable exchange platform is fully in line with the Port’s commitment to sustainable development, recognizing the vital importance of the community in developing port lands.

Jeunes à bord committee

In 2023, the Port set up the Jeunes à bord [Youth on Board] Committee, composed of eight individuals aged 20 to 30 from various fields, including architecture, entrepreneurship, land use planning, and more. The objective of this focus group is to connect the Port with the next generation in order to understand its aspirations and concerns regarding the marine sector and the Port of Québec, in addition to gathering their new ideas and suggestions.

First Nations

The Port of Québec attaches paramount importance to consulting Indigenous communities in its development and infrastructure projects, in full respect of their rights and traditions. In 2023, the Port, in close collaboration with the Huron-Wendat Nation, established new foundations to enrich future communications. In addition, a partnership with Wendake Tourism has been developed to raise awareness among the thousands of visitors and cruise passengers that the port welcomes each year about the history of the First Nations, a people who pioneered navigation and trade in the waters of the Port of Québec.

Social commitment

In recent years, the Port of Québec has become deeply rooted in its community by providing significant financial support to more than 100 organizations, including the Centre Durocher, Patro Laval, the Fondation Élan, Pignon Bleu, and many others. To date, more than $350,000 has been generously invested to support these pillars of the community. In addition, the Port actively contributes to the Centraide Québec et Chaudière-Appalaches campaign each year, mobilizing its employees to raise more than $20,000 during the 2023 campaign.

During the holiday season, the Port organized a group kitchen with its employees to prepare and distribute meals at the Lauberivière refuge, which accommodates people in need or in difficult situations. Together, Port employees cooked up 96 pots of comforting soup, 15 loaves of banana bread, and more than a hundred energy balls, providing warmth and comfort to those in need.

Over the past year, the Port of Québec has laid the foundation for an ambitious initiative: the creation of a citizens’ initiatives fund to support large-scale projects designed, led, and carried out by community members, thus opening new avenues for fruitful collaboration and positive transformation within Québec City.

School projects

Once again this year, the partnership between the Port of Québec and Alvéole made it possible to offer enriching urban beekeeping activities to elementary school students in the region. Harvesting honey and wax every year is made possible thanks to the hives present on the territory of the port. It is true pleasure to invite children from nearby schools to participate in this exciting experience, where they can not only harvest honey, but also make candles while discovering the importance of preserving biodiversity. In 2023, no less than forty students had the opportunity to participate in these educational activities.

Public activities at the Port

The Port of Québec has developed recreational and awareness initiatives to encourage positive interactions within the community. In 2023, in collaboration with the port operators, the 2nd edition of the family-friendly Maritime Festival was held and was a resounding success. In addition, a sugar shack activity also took place, to the delight of nearly 2,000 participants.

For its seventh season, the Port of Québec presented its Historic Pedestrian Rally, an immersive experience through 10 interactive kiosks. Open to the general public from August to October, the rally attracted the interest of more than 340 participants, contributing to the discovery and enhancement of the Port’s rich history and heritage.

Access to the river

In 2023, the Port of Québec continued to improve user access to the St. Lawrence River by implementing a range of diversified activities on its recreational and tourism sites. These sites transform the riverbanks into dynamic and accessible spaces for the community. The initiatives demonstrate the Port’s commitment to promoting the sustainable use of riparian areas while contributing to the region’s economic and social vitality.

Sound environment

In 2023, the Port and its partners made significant efforts to mitigate noise sources impacting the surrounding sound environment, mainly in the Anse au Foulon sector. Sollio Agriculture played a leading role in implementing a number of mitigation measures, which resulted in a significant reduction in noise emissions.

PaJoint actions undertaken during the year included:

  • Optimization of noisy conveyors from Sollio Agriculture;
  • Replacement of a vacuum truck with better adapted and quieter equipment;
  • The installation of lubricating strips on railway equipment (trackmobiles);
  • The establishment of a new sound monitoring station at wharf 107;
  • The completion of an opportunity study to reduce noise pollution related to train movements;
  • The launch of an awareness campaign among truckers, preparing for the application of new regulations prohibiting backup alarms from September 2024;
  • Continuing collaboration with the working group formed by representatives of the Jardins-Mérici consortium with the aim of minimizing negative impacts, in close collaboration with other stakeholders and land operators;
  • Constant communication with residents in the area, through public meetings, to allow for a direct and transparent exchange with the community. In addition, regular newsletters help disseminate the latest news and relevant updates. Finally, creating and maintaining a dedicated informational page on an online citizen platform provides a convenient and accessible way for residents to find important information at any time.

Since October 2023, in the interests of transparency and commitment to residents, data from sound stations located in the Anse au Foulon sector have been accessible in real time via a dedicated web platform, promoting information-sharing with the community.

Communications and public activities

Launch of the 2035 Vision

In 2023, the Port of Québec’s communication efforts were at the heart of several strategic initiatives aimed at strengthening its presence and impact. In the forefront, the launch of the 2035 Vision was a crucial milestone, and communications were central to its deployment. By announcing and publicizing this ambitious vision, the Port has generated the commitment and buy-in necessary to ensure the achievement of the long-term goals it lays out.

Creation of the mobile container

In the same vein, the development of the mobile container has been an innovative initiative to raise awareness among the general public of the essential role of the Port of Québec in their daily lives. This immersive exhibition, tracing the journey of goods from their point of origin to their point of destination, which involves a strategic passage in Québec City, demystifies port operations and highlight their contribution to the local and national economy as well as to the daily lives of the citizens of Québec City and Lévis.

Website redesign

Also in 2023, the Port’s website was redesigned to provide a more intuitive and user-friendly experience for users. This modernization will make information more accessible and better reflect the diversity of activities and services offered by the Port of Québec.

Brand image creation for recreational tourist sites

In addition, a unified brand image for recreational tourism sites belonging to the Port was created. This approach aims to strengthen their attractiveness and visibility among visitors, while highlighting their link with all port activities.

Cooperation with the ports of Montréal and Trois-Rivières

2023 saw increased cooperation between the ports in Québec City, Montréal and Trois-Rivières. This cooperation has been particularly focused on improving asset management practices and standardizing certain business processes. By joining forces, the three ports aim to promote the exchange of technical expertise in an area often unknown to the general public. This strategic initiative demonstrates a shared commitment to optimize the efficiency and sustainability of port operations, while strengthening the province’s competitiveness at the international level.

Visit of the port and its territory

Finally, visits to the Port and its territory continued to be a key element of the communication strategy. By opening the Port’s doors to the public and offering guided tours, the Port of Québec was able to share the day-to-day reality and importance of its port operations and its commitment to sustainable and responsible development.

See the other sections of the annual review

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