Environmental Assessment Processes

The Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to review federal environmental assessment processes. This process is being led by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Update on the Review of Environmental Assessment Processes

On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, held an armchair discussion with Johanne Gélinas, Chair of the Expert Panel reviewing federal environmental assessment processes to provide an update on the review.

A recording of the armchair discussion can be found on the Environment and Natural Resources in Canada Facebook page.

The Expert Panel delivered its report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Canadians were invited to read the report and share their views online.

The public comment period is now over but Canadians can read what we heard by visiting LetsTalkEA.ca.

About the Review of Environmental Assessment Processes

Why we are conducting this review

The goal is to develop new, fair processes that are robust, incorporate scientific evidence, protect our environment, respect the rights of Indigenous peoples, and support economic growth.

What happened so far

As indicated in her mandate letter, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change is reviewing federal environmental assessment process associated with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).

In August 2016, a four-person Expert Panel was established and spent months engaging the public, Indigenous groups, and stakeholders, both in person and online. The Panel went to 21 cities, received over 500 online submissions, and welcomed over 1,000 participants at engagement sessions.

The Expert Panel delivered its report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Canadians were invited to read the report and share their views online. The public comment period is now over but Canadians can visit LetsTalkEA.ca to read what we heard.

The Expert Panel report is one component of the Government of Canada’s review of environmental and regulatory processes which was launched in June 2016.

Three other environmental and regulatory reviews are also underway. They include reviews to modernize the National Energy Board, as well as to restore lost protections and introduce modern safeguards to the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act.

Next Steps

The government will review the report and all of the input received as it considers a path forward including any potential legislative, regulatory or policy changes required. A broad range of stakeholders and Indigenous groups will be engaged over the coming months as the government works to determine the best way forward.

This work will be supported by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Expert Panel Members

Learn more about the Expert Panel members by reading their biographies.

Multi-Interest Advisory Committee

A Multi-Interest Advisory Committee made up of Indigenous organizations, industry associations and environmental groups has been established to provide advice to the Expert Panel as the Panel undertakes their review of environmental assessment processes and engages with Canadians.

The advice that the Advisory Committee provided to the Expert Panel has been posted on the Expert Panel's website. The Expert Panel has also included a summary of the Advisory Committee's advice in their report.

Consistent with its mandate, the Multi-Interest Advisory Committee will continue to meet and discuss the Panel’s report and potential paths forward.

Learn more about the Advisory Committee below:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the status of the review of environmental assessment processes?

  • In August 2016, a four-person Expert Panel was established by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to review federal environmental assessment processes.
  • The Expert Panel spent months engaging the public, Indigenous groups, and stakeholders, both in person and online. The Panel went to 21 cities, received over 500 online submissions, and welcomed over 1,000 participants at engagement sessions.
  • The Expert Panel delivered its report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
  • Canadians were invited to read the report and share their views online at LetsTalkEA.ca. The public comment period on the report is now over.
  • The government will take time to review the report, alongside the other reviews that were launched.
  • It will then consider all of the input received and develop a way forward, including any potential legislative, regulatory or policy changes required.

What does the Expert Panel’s report include?

  • The Expert Panel’s report provides recommendations on possible approaches to improving the current environmental assessment system.
  • You can read a copy of the report here.
  • A public comment period was held. You can read what Canadians had to say about the Expert Panel report by visiting LetsTalkEA.ca.

Who did the Expert Panel engage with throughout the review?

  • The Expert Panel visited 21 cities across Canada, held in-person sessions with the public and open dialogue and technical sessions with Indigenous groups. Canadians were also invited to share their views online and all submissions made to the Expert Panel are available here.

Is the Expert Panel still in place?

  • As indicated in its Terms of Reference, the Expert Panel’s work is now complete with the submission of its final report.
  • The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will support the next steps in this process.

How will Indigenous groups be involved in the review after the Expert Panel’s report?

  • Indigenous groups have been engaged on an ongoing basis since the review was launched in June 2016.
  • Over the coming months, the Government of Canada will continue to work with Indigenous groups as it considers options for potential legislative, regulatory or policy changes.
  • The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, mutual respect, co-operation, and partnership. These principles will inform any legislative reform.

Why did the government undertake this review?

  • The Government of Canada has committed to reviewing environmental and regulatory processes to build trust and help get resources to market and support infrastructure development in a responsible way.
  • The government believes that environmental protection and economic development must go hand in hand.
  • The goal of the review is to build a new system that is fair and robust, respects the rights of Indigenous peoples, is based on scientific evidence, and protects our environment.

Related Information

The Government of Canada is undertaking a review of federal environmental assessment processes - Transcript

The goal is to develop new processes that:

are fair and robust

respect the rights of Indigenous peoples

incorporate facts and scientific evidence

protect our environment for generations to come

Canada.ca/environmentalreviews

Minister Launches Expert Panel for Review of Environmental Assessment Processes - Transcript

Expert Panel for Review of Environmental Assessment Processes

Minister McKenna: Hey Canada!

In June I announced the Government would be reviewing its environmental assessment processes and I'd be forming an Expert Panel to consult with Canadians.

Well, now the Panel is ready and they want to hear from you!

The Panel members bring to the table valuable expertise and a wealth of knowledge, as they undertake this important review.

The Expert Panel will engage broadly with Indigenous groups, the public, and a wide range of stakeholders across Canada on how federal environmental assessments are conducted.

Environmental assessments affect all of us. Major projects are developed in our communities where we live, work, and raise our children.

So, visit the website below to learn about:

  • the Panel members,
  • Indigenous engagement,
  • updates on upcoming meetings,
  • and to share your views.

Keep the conversation going using hashtag EAreview!

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