Are Environmental Assessment Process Improvements Ahead with Canada’s Bill C-69?

Jill Baker

Senior Environmental Assessment Specialist

A major revision of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA 2012) by the Government of Canada is just around the corner. Industries across the country are anxiously awaiting publication of Bill C-69, the proposed “Impact Assessment Act”, which could replace CEAA 2012 and substantially change how environmental assessments are conducted in the future.

Golder was one of two consulting firms invited by the Canadian Senate to appear at a March 2019 hearing as the governing body works to finalize the provisions of the bill expected to be published in June 2019.

Jill Baker, a Senior Environmental Assessment (EA) Specialist on Golder’s EA practice team, participated in the Senate meeting along with Golder’s Wayne Speller, and has insight into the new legislation taking shape. In a recently published article in Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine, Jill discusses how proposed elements of the bill have potential to improve certain aspects of the EA process.

The following is an excerpt from the April 2019 edition of Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine.

There has been a lot of controversy around Bill C-69, the proposed “Impact Assessment Act” (IAA), which seeks to overhaul the way major projects, including mines and pipelines, are reviewed and approved in Canada. The new legislation is intended to replace the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA, 2012).

The Senate began a nine-city tour to consult Canadians on Bill C-69 on April 8. While there are still many questions around the final form of the legislation, what we have seen so far seems to include many steps in the right direction, including:

  • Early, meaningful and sustained engagement with stakeholders, communities and Indigenous people.
  • More transparency about the review process and expectations.
  • A more comprehensive approach to assessments, looking beyond environment impacts

This article talks about some of these new aspects of the proposed Impact Assessment Act, and the opportunities they present for proponents, creating a meaningful and transparent review process.

Click here to read the full article from Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine. (PDF download, available only in English)

Jill Baker

Senior Environmental Assessment Specialist

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