Better rules for impact assessments come into effect this month
August 8, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario - Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
A strong economy depends on a healthy environment. The Government of Canada is delivering on its promise to put in place better rules for major projects, to protect the environment and communities, advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and ensure good projects can go forward, creating good jobs and economic opportunities for middle-class Canadians.
Today, the Government of Canada announced that the new Impact Assessment Act, the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, the Canadian Navigable Waters Act, and associated regulations will come into force on August 28, 2019. Clear rules for transitioning to the new system are outlined in the legislation.
With hundreds of major resource projects – worth over $635 billion – planned or under construction across Canada over the next 10 years, the better rules outlined in these Acts and regulations are essential to protecting our environment and communities while making sure good projects can get built to create jobs for the middle class.
Better rules will give companies and investors the certainty and clarity they need, and ensure good projects can move forward in a timely way. To support Canada’s competitiveness and attract investment, the new impact assessment system provides clear expectations and shorter legislated timelines, and aims to avoid duplication with other jurisdictions wherever possible with “one project, one review”.
These new rules aim to rebuild public confidence by making federal decisions about projects like mines, pipelines and hydro dams more transparent and ensuring decisions are guided by science, Indigenous knowledge and other evidence. The new approach reflects substantive input from Indigenous peoples, provinces and territories, companies, environmental groups, and the public over the course of three years of engagement.
Going forward, federal impact assessments will look at both positive and negative environmental, economic, social, and health impacts of potential projects.
The new Impact Assessment Agency of Canada will lead all project reviews under the IAA, and will work in cooperation with other regulatory bodies such as the new Canada Energy Regulator and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to conduct integrated reviews of designated projects.
The National Energy Board (NEB) will be replaced with the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), a modern energy regulator based in Calgary that will help oversee a strong, safe and sustainable Canadian energy sector as we transition to a low-carbon economy.
Regulations that support the Impact Assessment Act – Physical Activities Regulations, also known as the Project List, and Information and Management of Time Limits Regulations – will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on August 21, 2019, and come into force on August 28, 2019. The Physical Activities Regulations establish clear criteria for when a project is subject to a federal impact assessment.
Regulations that support the Canadian Energy Regulator Act – Transitional Regulations for the purpose of National Energy Board Cost Recovery Regulations – will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on August 21, 2019, and come into force on August 28, 2019.
Provisions related to the implementation of the Impact Assessment Act in the Atlantic offshore are subject to a separate coming-into-force date, respecting the joint federal-provincial management under the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act.
Strategic assessments provide transparent, consistent guidance on how existing environmental frameworks are considered in the impact assessment process. Canadians are invited to share their input on the draft strategic assessment of climate change until August 30, 2019, by visiting https://www.strategicassessmentclimatechange.ca/ or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new Canadian Navigable Waters Act has been expanded to better protect the right to travel on all navigable waters in Canada, covering countless rivers, lakes and other waterways. This includes extra protections for those waterways most important to Canadians and Indigenous peoples.
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