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2006 Planning

City of Montréal

Montréal’s First Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development

Population: 1,812,723

Stemming from an impressive community engagement process that brought together more than 70 organizations in partnership with the City, Montréal has identified two dozen projects to tackle in the first year of its five-year sustainability plan. Since air quality is a top priority for the City, several of the initiatives focus on sustainable transportation, including an anti-idling bylaw, improvements to cycling infrastructure and the purchase of energy-efficient vehicles for the municipal fleet. The plan also includes programs to reduce waste and water use, increase energy efficiency, and implement an environmental management system. Twenty environmental indicators have been identified that will help Montréal monitor its progress. The City will also publish results in an annual environmental status report.


Following amalgamation of several municipalities into the City of Montréal in 2002, it was clear that the new city needed a strategic plan that would outline specific actions for sustainable development. Considering the complex municipal structure of the City, which changed again following the 2006 demergers, this was hardly an easy task.

The Island of Montréal is divided into 16 municipalities. The City of Montréal alone is divided into 19 boroughs. "In spite of this structure or because of it, it forces us to share common goals," says Chantal Gagnon, the City's Director of the Environment.

Inspired by Agenda 21, the global blueprint for action on sustainable development adopted by the international community at the 1992 Earth Summit, and in consultation with ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability, the City and its partners began formulating a strategic plan. Funding for the plan came, in part, from GMF.


  • City Council has committed to reducing corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2001 levels by 2012. To date, the City has replaced 108 of its municipal vehicles with energy-efficient and clean fuel vehicles. Several partners (Bell Canada, federal ministries and agencies, and Hydro-Québec) have also followed the City's lead.
  • Each partner committed to carrying out an average of six actions identified in the start-up phase. More than half of the City's partners have taken steps related to the plan. The remaining partners have committed to implementing measures throughout 2006.
  • In 2005, the City adopted a resolution reinforcing an anti-idling bylaw and recommended its adoption in all boroughs. Twelve boroughs have now passed similar regulations.
  • To reduce emissions, the City eliminated 2,000 illegal downtown parking spaces and added 14 kilometres of bicycle paths.
  • As part of Agenda 21, the City and Montréal's public health directorate provided funding to three boroughs (Côte-Saint-Paul, Sainte-Marie and Saint-Michel) to implement environmental makeovers. Several partners were involved in overseeing these projects. For example, Hydro-Québec provides ongoing expertise in urban forestry and energy efficiency.
  • The City's master plan for waste management should be complete by the end of 2006. As part of this plan, the City compiled waste figures from 2002 to 2004 for each of the boroughs.
  • In 2005, the City's corporate services department initiated or carried out 23 of the 24 actions identified in the start-up phase.

Lessons Learned

  • POLITICAL WILL. With so many partners involved, politicians may find it hard to weigh all of the competing interests, particularly when the end result is unclear. Ms. Gagnon credits City councillors and staff for giving their full support to the initiative from the beginning.
  • INVOLVE THE COMMUNITY. Ms. Gagnon notes that administrations come and go, and with them, sometimes, their policies. Engaging a wide range of community partners, and asking those partners to submit in writing their commitment to the plan, ensures that the plan's objectives will be met.
  • FOSTER MUTUAL TRUST. Although each of the partners had to compromise, they still needed to know that their concerns were being addressed. "At first it wasn't easy with the arrival of a new group of elected officials in a new city," says Gagnon. "We needed to focus on everyone's concerns and show a lot of open-mindedness."
  • DIFFERENT WORKPLACE CULTURES. The coordination group was composed of people from the public and private sectors. "In the public sector, making decisions often requires wide consultation first and this can try the patience of outsiders," says Ms. Gagnon. "We adopted a rhythm that suited everyone involved."
  • USE NETWORK LEADERS. Environmental groups involved in the plan were instrumental in getting other environmental organizations to join. "We made sure that our principal partners were network leaders, so that they could relay initiatives to their own networks," says Ms. Gagnon.
  • MONITOR PROGRESS. In addition to a commitment to update indicators and scheduling regular liaison committee meetings, all partners meet with City representatives annually to discuss the plan's progress, report on their commitments and propose adjustments.

Partners and Collaboration


  • City of Montréal


  • Environment Ministry of Quebec
  • ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability
  • FCM's Green Municipal Fund
  • Conseil régional de l'environnement de Montréal
  • Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal
  • Aéroports de Montréal
  • Agence métropolitaine de transport and La Société de transport de Montréal
  • Centre de gestion des déplacements St-Laurent
  • Gaz Métro
  • Hydro-Québec
  • Merck Frosst
  • Bell Canada
  • Cirque du soleil and TOHU
  • Concordia University, Université de Montréal, McGill University, UQAM and École Polytechnique de Montréal
  • Equiterre
  • Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux, Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec, and Alliance des professeures et professeurs de Montréal
  • SECOR Conseil
  • Commission scolaire de Montréal and the English Montréal School Board
  • Cégep St-Laurent and Collège de Rosemont
  • Centre d'expertise sur les matières résiduelles
  • Centre d'excellence de Montréal en réhabilitation des sites
  • Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal
  • Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
  • Transport 2000 and Éco-route Québec (AQME)
  • Comité sectorielle de la main d'oeuvre en environnement
  • Union des consommateurs
  • Comités ZIP Jacques-Cartier et Ville-Marie
  • Communauto, Voyagez futé Montréal and Vélo-Québec
  • Conseil patronal de l'environnement du Québec
  • Corporation St-Laurent
  • Conseil fédéral du Québec
  • Conseil pour la réduction des accidents industriels majeurs
  • Association industrielle de l'Est de Montréal
  • Association québécoise pour la promotion de l'éducation en géographie et relative à l'environnement
  • Association québécoise de vérification environnementale
  • Ferme Pousse-menu
  • Festival Écolo de Montréal
  • Le sentier urbain
  • RÉSEAU environnement
Page Updated: 21/12/2015