Water saturation

Soils are opaque by nature. It is therefore difficult to know what they are made of and what lies beneath the surface. For example, certain elements may have been backfilled during the construction process, such as a septic field, a spring, etc.

There are also structural considerations. Soils have a bearing capacity. Depending on the type of soil, the bearing capacity per square meter will vary.

The nature of the soil or what is hidden beneath it will not necessarily contaminate it, but it could lead to other types of problems:

  • Permanent wet areas
  • Vegetation in distress
  • Ground subsidence
  • Landslide


Poor drainage of a site can affect its intended use. This could be the case, for example, if the problem causes water to accumulate on the ground.



The broker must ask questions of his buying client to find out what his plans are, notably to make sure that the immovable will be adequate to carry them out.

Where appropriate, the broker must recommend that his client make his promise to purchase conditional upon an expert assessment of any element that could compromise the transaction.

When it comes to drainage and the reasons why water may be accumulating on the ground, acting prudently means:

  • acknowledging the facts and avoiding minimizing the problem
  • making no assumptions and avoiding reassuring a party to the transaction regarding something that cannot be easily verified
  • respecting the limits of one’s knowledge and advising clients to seek expert advice
  • recommending that clients make all necessary verifications to ensure that they can carry out their project

Wetlands and bodies of water

In Québec, wetlands and bodies of water occupy about 10% of the territory. Ponds, marshes, swamps or peat bogs, wetlands represent essential links in Québec’s network of natural habitats. These ecosystems are sites that are saturated with water or flooded over during a sufficiently long period to influence the nature of the soil or the composition of the vegetation.

Wetlands play a crucial role in sustaining life on earth, as do agricultural lands and forests. It is therefore essential to preserve these environments, particularly in areas where urban development has contributed to their depletion or destruction.

The legal framework governing wetlands and bodies of water includes several laws and regulations that are administered by various levels of government.

The Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques is responsible for the enforcement of the following:

  • Environment Quality Act (RSQ, c. Q-2)
  • Regulation respecting the application of the Environment Quality Act (Q-2, r.3)
  • Regulation respecting certain measures to facilitate the carrying out of the Environment Quality Act and its regulations
  • Protection Policy for Lakeshores, Riverbanks, Littoral Zones and Floodplains  (Q-2, r. 35)
  • An Act respecting the conservation of wetlands and bodies of water, (2017, chapter 14)
  • Regulation respecting compensation for adverse effects on wetlands and bodies of water

For example, in accordance with section 22 of the Environment Quality Act, certain projects require the Ministry’s prior authorization, unless exempt by regulation. Section 22, paragraph 1, sub-paragraph 4 states that prior authorization must be obtained for any work, structures or other intervention carried out in wetlands and bodies of water referred to in Division V.

For more details: Lois et règlements - Milieux humides et hydriques (in French only)

Last updated on: November 29, 2021
Reference number: 208800