Sustainability-oriented governance

Our sole shareholder is the Québec government. Our governance therefore reflects our responsibility to all citizens and is based on our shareholder’s major priorities. To better serve our customers and contribute to Québec’s development, we have implemented substantial changes at the heart of our operations, including a shift in our corporate culture.

The major priorities adopted by our shareholder—mainly through its Energy Policy and Sustainable Development Strategy – directly influence the planning of all our activities.

Our sustainability governance is based on 13 company policies approved by the Board of Directors. These policies express commitments and a business culture. Our sustainability objectives for a given period are defined based on thorough planning. They are then implemented by various mechanisms, such as our environmental (ISO 14001), health and safety (OHSAS 18001) and quality (ISO 9001) management systems. Sustainability governance concerns all organizational levels, and its application is closely monitored by the Board of Directors’ Environment and Public Affairs Committee.

Sustainability governance



  • Achievement of targeted results
  • Respect for our customers, employees and partners
  • Authenticity
  • Teamwork
  • Integrity



  • Sustainable Development Act
  • 2011–2016 strategy to ensure the occupancy and vitality of territories
  • Québec’s Agenda 21 for culture
  • Energy Policy 2030
  • Québec’s Economic Policy - Putting Jobs First
  • Transportation Electrification Strategy 2013−2017
  • Etc.


Assessment and improvement

Performance reporting

  • Internal
    (annual environmental management review, semiannual reports on environmental compliance)
  • External
    (corporate documents)

Sustainability governance is part of a continuous improvement process that consists of the following stages:

  • Commitment
  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Assessment and improvement
  • Performance reporting

Main sustainability governance activities.

The Board of Directors’ Environment and Public Affairs Committee monitors the company’s sustainability activities (e.g., environmental compliance, public health and safety, social responsibility). The business units are held accountable regarding these activities. The President and CEO also monitors and is responsible for all sustainability activities.

Hydro-Québec’s head office in Montréal. The company is a leading proponent of sustainability in the electricity industry.

Responsible procurement

We have incorporated environmental and social criteria into our process for acquiring goods and services. This practice aims to reduce environmental impacts, increase social spinoffs and enhance the economic viability of our suppliers, throughout the life cycle of their products. For the last few years, we have participated in the responsible procurement activities of ECPAR (Espace québécois de concertation sur les pratiques d’approvisionnement responsable), of which we are a founding member. We have carried out life cycle assessments for certain products and services, targeted the product groups with the largest environmental impact and drafted product purchasing guides that include sustainability criteria.

Access to information and the protection of personal information

We do our utmost to maintain the confidentiality of our customers’, employees’ and suppliers’ personal information, in accordance with the Act Respecting Access to Documents Held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Personal information, while respecting the public’s right to information. To facilitate access to documents whose publication is prescribed by the Regulation respecting the distribution of information and the protection of personal information, we publish them on our Web site The site also provides information about the right to information and the protection of personal information—including instructions for requesting access to a document—and contains links to our key official publications.

We make information of public interest available on our Web site. In addition, under the Action Plan for People with Disabilities(in French only), we take all reasonable measures to ensure that people with disabilities can exercise their right to obtain complete, high-quality information.

Activities in 2016

  • Three new directors were appointed to the Board, following the departure of three of its members.
  • The Board created the Special Committee on Workplace Health and Safety, whose role is to assess Hydro-Québec’s practices and recommend an action plan targeting the improvements required to ensure that jobsites apply the most stringent standards in matters of health and safety. The committee has retained the services of an outside firm to assist in this process.
  • Occupational health and safety training: 14,166 registrations (27,485 in 2015). The decrease in the number of registrations compared with the previous year is mainly attributable to the end of the refresher training on the Work Safety Code (editions five and six).
  • Number of participants in health awareness and promotion activities: 2,217 (2,593 in 2015).
  • We received 413 requests for access to information (406 in 2015), of which 154 were granted in full, 144 were granted in part and 67 were turned down. Most of the request denials were motivated by protection of third-party personal information or by commercial, strategic or security concerns that prevented disclosure of the document. As for the 48 remaining requests, we were either unable to fulfill them because we did not have the information requested, or the request was withdrawn. In addition, 27 of our responses were the subject of requests for review by the Commission d’accès à l’information (CAI). The average request processing time was 20 days.
  • Employees were reminded of the principles involved in access to documents and protection of personal information through various communications and training sessions, as well as in connection with specific cases.
  • No complaints against Hydro-Québec were filed with the CAI. However, three cases of loss or theft of personal customer information were reported to the department in charge of the protection of personal information. In all three cases, we responded quickly and diligently, taking the actions required to deal with the situation and doing everything possible to prevent it from happening again.

See also