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Offset Credits

Register of Offset Credit Projects

Process Leading to the Issuance of Offset Credits


Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 681 KB)

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The purpose of the offset credit component of the cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances is to decrease compliance costs borne by an emitter without undermining the system’s environmental integrity.

Offset credit projects are voluntarily implemented by a promoter (individual, organization or company) wishing to reduce or sequester GHG emissions in sectors of activity or sources other than those subject to compliance obligations of the Regulation respecting a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances.

Purchasing offset credits can enable an emitter subject to the Regulation to meet compliance obligations.

The use of offset credits as a means of regulatory compliance has been limited to 8% in order to maximize emission reductions achieved by emitters and generated by sources covered by the cap-and-trade system.

Main requirements

Only offset credit projects meeting the conditions described in Chapter IV of Title III of the Regulation and covered by one of the protocols listed in Appendix D of the Regulation are eligible to receive offset credits. Offset credit projects that began on or after January 1, 2007 are also eligible if they meet those conditions.

Please note that offset credit project promoters must first be registered in the CITSS system and have an active account.

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Current offset credit protocols

The implementation of offset credit projects is governed by a protocol that determines the rules to be followed in order to ensure compliance with the requirements for transparency, coherence, comparability, accuracy, verifiability, effectiveness and validity of projects and credits to be issued.

The Regulation lists five offset credit protocols:


  • Protocol 1 - Covered manure storage facilities – CH4 destruction;
  • Protocol 2 - Landfill sites - CH4 treatment or destruction;
  • Protocol 3 - Destruction of ozone depleting substances (ODS) contained in insulating foam or used as refrigerants removed
                     from refrigeration, freezer and air-conditioning appliances;
  • Protocol 4 - Active coal mines – Destruction of CH4 from a drainage system;
  • Protocol 5 - Active underground coal mines - Destruction of CH4 from ventilation air.

Offset credit projects and credits issued on March 11th, 2020


Project title Credits issued (tCO2e)
Landfill sites - CH4 destruction
LE001 – Reduction of GHG emissions at the closed landfill Marchand
LE002 – Reduction of GHG emissions at the closed and opened landfill La Lièvre 30,691
LE003 – Capture and destruction of biogas – Area B at the opened landfill RDL 42,713
LE004 – Reduction of GHG emissions at the closed landfill Saint-Raymond 14,359
LE005 – Reduction of GHG emissions at the opened landfill Marchand 15,674
LE006 – Reduction of GHG emissions at the opened landfill Saint-Flavien 19,353
LE007 – Reduction of GHG emissions at the opened landfill Gaspé 13,677
LE008 – Capture and destruction of biogas – opened landfill Nouvelle-Beauce 25,449
LE009 – Reduction of GHG emissions at the opened landfill Val d’Or 13,618
LE0010 – Capture and destruction of biogas from the Neuville closed landfill  
LE011 – Capture and destruction of biogas from the Robertsonville closed landfill  
LE012 – Capture and destruction of biogas at the opened landfill Ragueneau  
Destruction of ozone depleting substances SACO001 – ODS extraction and destruction 161,510 
SACO002 – Extraction and destruction of ODS contained in isolating foam or used as refrigerants 322,943
SACO003 – Extraction and destruction of ODS contained in isolating foam or used as refrigerants 50,165
SACO004 – ODS extraction and destruction  
Total 763,417

For more details on offset credit projects submitted, please refer to the Register of Offset Credit Projects.

To learn how to obtain offset credits, read the Process Leading to the Issuance of Offset Credits.

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Process for developing an offset credit protocol

The Ministère is responsible for developing offset credit protocols. Members of the public may submit their vision, comments and needs regarding the subject to the Ministère at any time.

While developing an offset credit protocol represents a large amount of work, existing protocols on voluntary and regulated markets can serve as a basis and be used as references.

Nonetheless, a good deal of work is involved since protocols must be adapted to the requirements of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) and the specificities of Québec. They must also be harmonized with the regulations of other WCI partner states and provinces. Once the technical version of a protocol has been completed, it must be incorporated into a draft regulatory amendment and go through public consultation. Before the protocol can be enacted in the Regulation, the briefs that have been received must be analyzed, which may involve making technical or legal modifications to the protocol to be enacted.

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Work in progress

In order to make a larger number of offset credit projects possible and increase the Québec supply of offsets, the Ministère remains open to developing new offset credit protocols or improving the protocols that are in force.

Firstly, a protocol for carbon sequestration through afforestation and reforestation activities on private land in Québec is currently being developed. A technical version of a draft protocol designed in collaboration with the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) takes an innovative approach to quantifying sequestration and issuing offset credits. The approach provides rewards for climate benefits actually achieved by sequestration and makes it possible to offset the impacts of GHG emissions as soon as the credits are used as an offset tool. In addition to eliminating the requirement to maintain carbon sequestration for 100 years, the approach gives proponents greater flexibility in implementing their projects. It is also more financially advantageous than the traditional approach for projects having characteristics that are typical of Québec, as evidenced by a comparative financial analysis conducted by the MFFP. A draft protocol in regulatory format, currently in preparation, will undergo a public consultation at a later date.

Secondly, following an offset protocol development project jointly led by Québec and Ontario, Québec reconsidered its needs regarding new protocols. In light of the types of applicable projects in Québec and the potential for reducing GHG emissions, the project types listed below have been selected to be analyzed for their feasibility and relevance or for development work:

  • Biomethanation or composting of organic waste;
  • Substitution of fuels in the maritime transport sector;
  • Conversion of refrigeration systems;
  • Improvement of agricultural fertilizer application practices;
  • Afforestation and reforestation on public lands.

It is important to note that these types of projects will not all necessarily be subject to a protocol. As the analysis progresses, more information may be published. Some project types might be removed or added based on the outcome of the work and the workload.

Lastly, offset credit protocols that are currently in force will also be analyzed. This will allow for assessing what improvements can be made, for example extending the protocol’s scope or clarifying, easing or tightening certain provisions in order to have updated protocols that foster generating more Québec offsets, while at the same time maintaining offset credit quality and environmental integrity. Any proposed changes will be subject to a regulatory amendment and public consultation.

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Proposing activities that could be considered for offset credit protocols

Suggestions may be submitted for activities that could eventually be subject to protocols. In order to be considered, the proposed activity must not be covered by regulatory requirements imposed by Québec’s cap-and-trade system or any other Québec laws, regulations or permits, or those of its partner jurisdictions. Additionally, the activity concerned must at a minimum meet the main criteria required for the issuance of offset credits: GHG emission reductions must be additional, real, verifiable and permanent.

When proposing the development of a new offset credit protocol, it is therefore recommended that the following information be provided so that a comprehensive assessment of the request can be performed:

  • Potential for reduction or sequestration in Québec;
  • Detailed description of the activity eligible for the issuance of offset credits, and description of the reference scenario;
  • Issues related to the reference scenario and project scenario;
  • Quantification methodology;
  • Monitoring and accountability.

In cases involving the adaptation of an existing protocol on voluntary or regulated markets, the name of the program issuing the offset credits must also be provided along with the title and version of the protocol to be assessed.

Once this information is received, the Ministère will be able to determine whether the project submitted offers significant potential for reducing GHG emissions. If so, it could be added to a list of projects that might eventually be subject to an offset credit protocol.

Although activities that could eventually be subject to an offset credit protocol may be proposed, priority is given to offset credit protocols that are currently being developed.

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