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The Québec Court of Appeal has struck down a municipal bylaw banning the spreading of sludge, on the ground that it exceeds the municipality’s jurisdiction.

In Ferme l’Evasion c. Elgin, the Québec Superior Court had upheld a municipal bylaw banning the spreading of all sludge. s. 52 of the Québec Municipal Powers Act, specifically authorizes municipal bylaws that prohibit the spreading of “manure, sludge or residues from pulp and paper mills”.  The trial judge had interpreted “sludge” in the bylaw to relate solely to that from pulp and paper mills, as authorized by the Municipal Powers Act.  The Québec Court of Appeal, however, decided that the by-law 296 purports to prohibit all sludge-spreading activity, including municipal sludge from wastewater treatment. It therefore exceeded the municipality’s powers and was invalid.

In Ontario, municipalities are limited in their ability to adopt anti-sludge bylaws, by section 61 of the  Nutrient Management Act. However, the precise extent of that limit remains in dispute.


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