Key Amendments to Bill C-69 for Companies

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Key amendments to bill c-69 providing greater certainty and predictability for companies
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Key amendments to bill c-69 providing greater certainty and predictability for companies

Strengthening the Proposed Impact Assessment, Canadian Energy Regulator, and Canadian Navigable Waters Acts

Strengthening the Proposed Impact Assessment, Canadian Energy Regulator, and Canadian Navigable Waters Acts

CLEANER ENVIRONMENT. STRONGER ECONOMY. In February 2018, the Government of Canada 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. As Bill C-69 goes
through the Parliamentary process, amendments have been made in the House of Commons in order to provide greater clarity to parts of the proposed legislation following
input from companies, Indigenous peoples, and the broader public. With these amendments, companies would have more clarity about what is required of them,
and project reviews would be more predictable and timely, encouraging investment in Canada’s natural resources sectors.

Below are some of the key amendments made to Bill C-69. For the full list, visit Parliament of Canada’s website. Bill C-69, as amended by the House of Commons Standing
Committee, has been referred to the Senate. A Senate Committee will study the proposed legislation, which could be subject to further amendments. For more information
about the legislative process, download our infographic on How new laws and regulations are created.

Greater Certainty and Predictability

The amendments would:

  • Enable the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to let companies know early on if a project is likely to have unacceptable negative impacts. This would not stop the process. Instead, it would allow companies to make an informed decision about whether or how to go forward with a project in the new impact assessment process.
  • Require that the Minister consider any feedback provided by the proponent when:
    • establishing the time period within which companies must substantially begin construction; and
    • deciding whether to extend the period within which companies must substantially begin construction.
  • Provide greater clarity about the scope and outputs of the new early planning and engagement phase, increasing certainty for companies. At minimum, early planning will result in:
    • Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines that are scoped to reflect factors relevant to the specific project;
    • a Cooperation Plan;
    • an Indigenous Engagement and Partnership Plan;
    • a Public Participation Plan; and
    • a Permitting Plan (if warranted).

Transitional Provisions

The amendments would:

  • Make transition provisions even clearer and confirm how the transition to the new impact assessment would work:
    • provide an objective criterion that is earlier in the environmental assessment process to identify projects that will continue to be reviewed under CEAA 2012;
    • give companies the option to “opt-in” to the new process; and
    • confirm that no one goes back to the starting line.
  • Set out the out the conditions under which a designated project would not be subject to the new Act, such as those projects for which companies have already started construction. These measures are similar to transitional measures in CEAA 2012.


The amendments would:

  • Establish a new timeline of 300 days for reviews of projects with a lifecycle regulator, with the possibility to set the timeline to a maximum of 600 days, if warranted.
  • Set a 45-day timeline for establishing review panels, building on other provisions to ensure timely reviews.
  • Clarify that comments must be provided during a time period specified by the proposed Impact Assessment Agency of Canada to ensure meaningful participation is balanced with timely assessments.

Factors to Consider in Project Reviews

The amendments would:

  • Provide further clarity around the factors that would guide project reviews:
    • both positive and negative consequences—economic, environment, social and health—would be taken into account including in the public interest decision factors; and
    • consideration of alternatives only includes those that are technically and economically feasible and directly related to the project.
  • Clarify that the same set of factors that would be considered in an impact assessment would also guide decisions about what information and studies are required to be collected by the proponent.
  • Clarify that the Minister or Governor in Council’s decision would be based on the report as well as a consideration of the public interest factors outlined in Section 63. The reasons must demonstrate this.

Greater Transparency

The amendments would:

  • Promote greater transparency around Ministerial decision-making:
    • when the Minister refers the public interest decision to the Governor in Council, the reasons for that referral are posted on the internet; and
    • where the timelines for issuing a decision statement following an assessment are extended, companies are informed about the reasons why.
  • Confirm that Agency assessment reports need to incorporate a broader range of information, including: a summary of comments received, recommendations on mitigation measures and follow-up, and the Agency’s rationale and conclusions.
  • Require the Agency to ensure that public comments provided during the project reviews are posted online and maintained.

One Project, One Review

The amendments would:

Allow integrated review panels that involve federal regulators to co-operate with other jurisdictions, making it possible to have just one assessment that meets all requirements.

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