Public Policy Options for Noise Pollution Management: A Reflection for Montreal

This Policy Lab report examines the prevalence and detriments of noise pollution in Montreal, and proposes structural adjustments to manage noise.

This article is the executive summary of the Public Policy Options for Noise Pollution Management: A Reflection for Montreal report.

You can access the full Policy Lab report here. La version française du rapport est disponible ici


The City of Montreal mandated a team of Master of Public Policy students from the Max Bell School of Public Policy to assess the necessity and feasibility of a noise observatory in Montreal. This report answers to that mandate and highlights important elements to consider in establishing a noise observatory in Montreal.

Noise is increasingly an issue of public health, the environment, the economy and quality of life in Canada. In major cities like Montreal, governments are grappling with increased noise pollution and the subsequent health, economic, legislation, and abatement costs, while recognizing that some sounds can be pleasant and should be promoted in the interest of the populations’ wellbeing.

Addressing these noise and sound-related issues represent a serious policy challenge that calls for a wide range of policy solutions.

In 2017, the Montreal administration officially proposed the creation of an observatory to monitor noise in Montreal. Noise and sound observatories are an emerging response to the recognition that addressing noise requires comprehensive, multidisciplinary strategies and data.

This report evaluates the issue of noise and its consequences and examines the range of noise management strategies across other international benchmark jurisdictions: Auckland, Australia, Barcelona, Brussels, Delhi, Japan, Lyon, London, Madrid, New York City and Paris. The report observes that while many urban jurisdictions have moved to address noise, it remains a persistent problem for growing cities that struggle to implement comprehensive approaches.

The report includes 37 recommendations on the potential structure of Montreal’s observatory and on its daily operations and activities.

The recommendations support the principle that an observatory for Montreal should take the form of an independent, not-for-profit institution with key partners and stakeholders within its governance structure. It is also recommended that the main operations of an observatory in Montreal should include data collection, expertise building, collaboration, communications and public awareness, and cultural, heritage and Soundscaping promotion. With such a structure and design, the observatory established in Montreal will be an important step towards addressing noise and sound-related issues and improving the sound environment of the City of Montreal.


This Policy Lab was presented by our MPPs on July 10, 2020. Watch the video below:


About the Authors

Image of Matis AllaliMatis Allali

MPP Class of 2020


Image of Sta KuzviwanzaSta Kuzviwanza

MPP Class of 2020


Janoah Willsie

MPP Class of 2020


Aria Yousefi

MPP Class of 2020


Enkhjin Zorigtbaatar

MPP Class of 2020

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