Canada needs a visionary new approach to assessing proposals that could impact the environment. This August, West Coast published the proceedings of the Federal Environmental Assessment Reform Summit it hosted in Ottawa in May 2016. Attended by over 30 experts from across the country, the Summit explored leading-edge solutions to key issues facing environmental assessment in Canada. We compiled the key principles that Summit participants reached consensus on into twelve integrated “pillars” of environmental assessment.
Canada has an opportunity to build a legacy law: a next-generation environmental assessment act that safeguards communities, the environment and democracy. The government recognized this fact in June 2016 when it announced an independent review of federal environmental assessment (EA) processes. The four-person expert panel appointed to conduct the review has until January 31, 2017 to do widespread consultations and submit a report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change with its recommendations on how to build a stronger, more credible EA framework for Canada. This visionary framework must be based in meaningful public participation and collaboration with Indigenous governments. Read up on the groundwork laid by these twelve pillars from the EA Reform Summit.