A number of our large-power customers have adopted policies or practices for meeting the highest standards in responsible procurement. In that vein, they want to make sure their suppliers, including Hydro-Québec, abide by responsible business practices and provide them with products and services that comply with their specifications.

In addition to supplying our customers with electricity that is among the cleanest in the world, we implement responsible and sustainable business practices. Here is some information on this topic.

Corporate governance


Our governance is based on 13 company policies approved by the Board of Directors. Sustainability governance concerns all organizational levels, and its application is closely monitored by the Board of Directors’ Environment and Public Affairs Committee. Our governance is exemplified daily by our environmental assessments and monitoring, and the agreements and partnerships we develop with the communities affected by our projects.

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Human rights


The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the fundamental rights and freedoms that all Canadians consider essential for Canada to remain a free and democratic country. It must be respected by all governments, whether federal, provincial or territorial. In Québec, human rights are protected by the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. This law specifies the areas in which, and grounds for which, discrimination is prohibited to ensure equal rights for all.

Québec employers, including Hydro-Québec, must make sure their human resources policies and practices are equitable. Moreover, the company is subject to the Act respecting equal access to employment in public bodies.

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Working conditions


In Québec, working conditions are governed by the Act respecting labour standards, which protects employees by imposing minimum conditions of employment. The Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail ensures that employers comply with the act.

Overall, our employees receive competitive remuneration that is adapted to our social and business environment. In addition, we recognize the importance of a work/life balance, and offer our employees a wide range of social benefits to help them meet their personal needs.

85% of our employees are unionized (eight collective agreements).

We comply with International Labour Organization occupational health and safety recommendations and conventions, and with the laws and regulations in force in Québec. In addition, we apply the concept of due diligence to occupational health and safety.

Hydro-Québec has about 110 joint health and safety committees, on which union representatives work with management to ensure a healthy, safe work environment for employees. Operating at local, regional and provincial levels, these committees represent about 80% of our employees.

Moreover, we have telephone lines available to our personnel at all times where they can report risks to personal safety or company assets, or request advice about ethical concerns. They may also contact the Corporate Ombudsman or use our employee assistance program.

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Business practices


We have a Code of ethics and rules of professional conduct for directors, executives and controllers of Hydro-Québec.

We also have a Code of conduct, which serves as a code of ethics and professional conduct for all of our employees. This Code describes concrete situations and reaffirms our core values.

  • Acting with integrity
  • Acting with loyalty and diligence
  • Respecting people and the environment
  • Protecting confidential information
  • Treating our customers, suppliers and partners fairly and courteously

Our Distributor’s code of conduct governs business activities and electricity supply transactions between the Distributor and its affiliates that are not subject to a call for tenders procedure.

Our Transmission provider code of conduct is intended to prevent any form of preferential treatment by the Transmission Provider toward affiliates by regulating conduct and the exchange of employees and information. It is also intended to prevent, through rules governing transactions between the Transmission Provider and affiliates, subsidization of the affiliates’ business activities, in whole or in part, by transmission customers.

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Community relations


Through our investments in the power system and our contributions to communities, our presence is felt throughout the province.

Our projects and operations have impacts on local communities and on the Québec economy as a whole. We strive to cultivate a positive reception of our operations by mitigating their negative impacts and optimizing their positive effects. Before launching a project, we make sure it is socially acceptable. This is one of the conditions that all our projects must meet to go forward, along with profitability and respect for the environment.

We also aim to maintain mutually beneficial relations with stakeholders. This is achieved daily through the work of our community relations teams who are active throughout Québec.

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Consumer relations


Our relations with Québec consumers are governed by strict guidelines.

Conditions of electricity service: sets out the conditions related to electricity service contracts, billing and payment, supply modes and connection to the system, as well as the rights and obligations of customers and the Distributor.

Régie de l’énergie: reconciles public interest, consumer protection and the fair treatment of the electricity transmission provider and distributors. Ensures that energy needs are satisfied while promoting sustainable development as well as individual and collective equity.

Electricity savings: we offer our business customers financial support for the implementation of energy efficiency measures to reduce the electricity consumption of their facilities, processes and electromechanical systems.

Safe use of electricity: we keep a close watch on our facilities and inform the public about the hazards existing near electrical and hydropower facilities. We also conduct awareness campaigns to promote caution and safe use of electricity.

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Environmental protection


Almost 100% of our energy portfolio is made up of renewables.

We make every effort to reduce the environmental impacts of our major construction projects and day-to-day operations. For example, we strive to reduce atmospheric emissions, preserve soil and water, protect biodiversity and promote sustainable consumption.

Over 80% of our employees are covered by an ISO 14001 certified EMS.

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At the request of some of our industrial customers, we conducted a review of our social, environmental, ethical and supply-chain related practices. This exercise, which we will repeat regularly, was carried out in the summer of 2016 through the EcoVadis platform and our performance was awarded a Silver recognition level rating. Our approach was deemed structured and proactive, and our commitments and actions were considered tangible.

The EcoVadis evaluation is based on 21 criteria, grouped under the following four themes: environmental aspects, social aspects, business ethics and responsible procurement.

To learn more about Hydro-Québec’s responsible practices, see: