Review of the federal Environmental Assessment Act

The federal government has created an Expert Panel to review its environmental assessment processes.  Go here for more information.

David McNicoll attended a workshop on November 8, 2016.

On December 22, the Greenspace Alliance made a submission to the Panel.  It argued that, if an environmental assessment amounts to assembling short-term data assembled to support a proponent’s proposal then this is “little more than a land delivery system, unmoored from the larger environmental realities in which the project exists.”  True strategic environmental assessment “needs to be rooted in ongoing time series data that track the complex flow of appropriate ecological goods and services on which the sustainability of human communities depends and which make possible the assessment of the potential disruption of these flows brought about by the proponent’s project.”  Any individual EA “should have as its first purpose the protection of the environment, as stipulated in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, not primarily seek to attenuate negative impacts.

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April 18, 2017

The federal Expert Panel issued a report, “Building Common Ground: A new vision for Impact Assessment in Canada“.  The Panel invites your comments – deadline is May 5, 2017.  They want your comments under three headings: Developing the Vision, Implementing the Vision and Additional Comments.  All comments received to date are accessible here: LetsTalkEA.ca .

Here is what West Coast Environment Law thinks about the Expert Panel’s report:

http://wcel.org/resources/environmental-law-alert/expert-panel-report-environmental-assessment-review-overview?utm_source=LEB

WCEL offers qualified support.

All submissions received in the earlier round are here: http://eareview-examenee.ca/submissions-received/.

There is also a Multi-interest Advisory Committee “made up of Indigenous organizations, industry associations and environmental groups”; its advice is here: http://eareview-examenee.ca/what-weve-heard/multi-interest-advisory-committee/.

Finally, there is an annotated compendium of the comments received, at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/conservation/assessments/environmental-reviews/environmental-assessment-processes/annotated-compendium.html.  Filter for “greenspace” and you see what they took away from our submission.

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May 3, 2017

The Greenspace Alliance today responded to the Expert Panel’s Building Common Ground report.  The comment is submitted to LetsTalkEA.ca but addressed to Minister McKenna, making the point that action starts here. In addition to supporting suggestions made by WCEL, the comment reiterates that absence of data remains a critical issue.