Better rules to protect Canada’s environment and grow the economy

A new impact assessment and regulatory system for the 21st century

Cleaner environment. Stronger economy.

The Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to bring forward better rules for the review of major projects.

In February 2018, the government introduced proposed legislation (Bills C-68 and C-69) that would put in place better rules to protect our environment, fish and waterways, and rebuild public trust in how decisions about resource development are made. With these proposed better rules, Canadians, companies, and investors can be confident good projects would be built in a way that protects our environment while creating jobs and growing our economy.

In June 2018, both Bills passed in the House of Commons with amendments following feedback from Indigenous peoples, companies, and Canadians. Read more about some of the key Bill C-69 key amendments and visit the Parliament of Canada website for the full list of full list of Bill C-68 amendments and full list of Bill C-69 amendments. Both Bills will go to the Senate for review in the fall.

Stay informed about the status of the proposed legislation by visiting the newsroom and downloads sections below, and learn about ways to get involved as the proposed legislation goes through the Parliamentary process:

Why we did this

In the fall 2015 Speech from the Throne, the government made a promise to Canadians to review environmental and regulatory processes to address concerns about previous reforms. The government put in place interim principles for project reviews in January 2016, then launched a comprehensive process in June 2016 to review existing laws and seek Canadians’ input on how to improve our environmental and regulatory system.

The proposed new system has been informed by two Expert Panels, two parliamentary committees, as well as extensive consultations with Indigenous peoples, industry, provinces and territories, and the public over the past 14 months.

Read more about the different aspects of the reviews:

A vision for impact assessment in the 21st century

A proposed new impact assessment system

The Government of Canada is proposing better rules for major project reviews to protect Canada’s environment and grow the economy. These better rules reflect values that are important to Canadians — including early, inclusive and meaningful public engagement; nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government partnerships with Indigenous peoples; timely decisions based on the best available science and Indigenous traditional knowledge; and sustainability for present and future generations.

A new Canadian Energy Regulator

A new Canadian Energy Regulator

A modern energy regulator has an essential role to play in ensuring access to safe, affordable and reliable energy and guiding Canada's transition to a low-carbon economy. This would ensure that good projects go ahead with timely decisions that reflect common values and shared benefits. This new Canadian Energy Regulator would be built on: modern effective governance, more inclusive engagement, greater Indigenous participation, stronger safety and environmental protection, and more timely decisions.

Restoring lost protections to fish and fish habitat

Restoring lost protections to fish and fish habitat

We are strengthening the protection of all fish and fish habitat for future generations. Legislative amendments would restore lost protections by protecting all fish and fish habitats; strengthen the role of Indigenous peoples in project reviews, monitoring and policy development; and allow for better management of large and small projects that may be harmful to fish or fish habitat through a new permitting system and codes of practice.

Protecting Canada’s navigable waters

Protecting Canada’s navigable waters

To protect the public right of navigation, we are bringing forward the Canadian Navigable Waters Act. Navigation protections would expand to cover all of Canada's navigable waters — covering our vast network of rivers, lakes and canals. New modern safeguards would create greater transparency, and give local communities a say in projects that could affect their navigation. This includes a greater level of oversight for navigable waterways that are most important to Canadians and to Indigenous peoples, including eligible Heritage and wild and free-flowing rivers.

Learn more about what the changes may mean to you:



Better rules would lead to more timely and predictable project reviews, and would encourage investment in Canada’s natural resources sectors. Project reviews would be rigorously managed to ensure that they are more timely. Companies would know what is required from them at the outset, giving them the clarity they need, including what is required for Indigenous engagement. A revised project list based on clear criteria would identify which types of projects would require a review, offering greater clarity about how the new rules apply.

How would these changes affect you?

  • Greater efficiency and consistency: a single agency would lead all impact assessments for major projects, working closely with regulatory bodies
  • Better early planning and engagement to improve project design and provide certainty
  • Greater coordination with provinces and territories to reduce red tape and duplication
  • Greater transparency, predictability and timeliness in decision-making
  • Continued government responsibility for final decisions

Indigenous Communities

Indigenous Communities

The Government of Canada is committed to renewing its nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. Reconciliation must guide partnerships with Indigenous peoples. We would recognize and respect the rights, culture and interests of Indigenous peoples, their deep connection to their lands, territories and resources, and their desire to participate as partners in the economic development of their territories.

As proposed in the new rules, we would work in partnership with Indigenous peoples from the start through early and inclusive engagement so we can get to better project decisions. Indigenous traditional knowledge would be protected and it would be mandatory to consider it along other sources of science and evidence to inform decision-making.

How would these changes affect you?

  • New partnerships based on recognition of Indigenous rights and interests up front
  • Legislated requirement to consider impacts on Indigenous rights and culture in decision making
  • Opportunities for Indigenous jurisdictions to exercise powers and duties under the Act
  • Legislated provisions for greater Indigenous expertise on assessment boards and review panels
  • Increased support for Indigenous participation and capacity development



Developing resources while protecting the environment requires taking a big-picture look at a project's potential impacts. Reviews would consider not just impacts on our environment, but also on social and health aspects, Indigenous peoples, jobs and the economy over the long-term. We would also conduct gender-based analyses and ensure that Canadians’ views are heard from the start.

How would these changes affect you?

  • A single Agency, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, to lead all impact assessments for major projects
  • A new Canadian Energy regulator
  • Canadians’ views to be heard from the start, and improved participant funding programs
  • Increased online access to science and evidence
  • Easy-to-understand summaries of decisions to be made publicly available
  • Gender-based plus analyses to better understand impacts on communities
  • New navigation protections to apply to all of Canada's navigable waters
  • Strengthening the protection of all fish and fish habitat for future generations



Hi everyone, I’m Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change.

Today, I’m very proud to share that after almost a year and a half of listening to Canadians, we are delivering on our promise to protect our environment and build a stronger economy for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

Previous reforms around major projects, like pipelines and mines, lost the trust of Canadians by weakening environmental laws.

We’re fixing this.

Our government is putting in place better rules for major projects, like mines, like pipelines, to protect our environment, fish and waterways and rebuild trust in how decisions about resource development are made.

Better rules will also ensure that good projects can move forward in a way that’s responsible, timely and transparent.

Here’s how we’re going to make sure that happens:

  • Project decisions will be based on science, evidence and Indigenous traditional knowledge.
  • There will be more opportunities for Canadians like you to have a say in reviews for projects that concern you.
  • You’ll have better access to science and we’ll make easy-to-understand summaries of decisions publicly available.
  • We will work in partnership with Indigenous peoples on project reviews from the start, and recognize their rights. This is one way we’re following through on our commitment to reconciliation, and it will lead to better project decisions in the long run.
  • We’re putting forward a single Agency in charge of all federal impact assessments for major projects. This will make sure the approach is fair, consistent and more efficient.
  • We’re also taking a bigger-picture look at the potential impacts of a proposed project. Instead of just looking at the environmental impacts, we’ll look at how a project could affect our communities and health, jobs and the economy over the long-term and we will also do a gender-based analysis.
  • The changes that we’re making will make the whole review system more open and straightforward – and we’ll get to decisions that are both more trustworthy, and more timely so we can get good projects built and create jobs in communities across Canada.

To learn more about how these better rules will protect our environment and build our economy, visit the link below.

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