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BC Environmental Assessment Discussion Paper opens the door for much-needed reform, lawyers say

Monday, June 18, 2018

VANCOUVER, BC, Coast Salish Territories – West Coast Environmental Law Association is encouraged by the release of the BC government’s Environmental Assessment Revitalization Discussion Paper, which was launched today along with a public engagement period focused on reforming BC’s environmental assessment (EA) regime.

“It’s no secret that BC’s environmental assessment regime needs an overhaul. The current system is failing British Columbians and the lands and waters we rely on,” said Gavin Smith, Staff Lawyer. “The Discussion Paper includes some positive proposals for improving assessments and environmental decision-making in BC. There’s still a lot of work to do, but we are hopeful that this revitalization process will result in stronger assessments and better protections for the environment, climate and Indigenous rights.”

The Discussion Paper outlines a number of proposals that the provincial government is considering to reform environmental assessments – including increased opportunities for public engagement, a focus on implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in the context of environmental assessment, and assessments that look at the cumulative effects of multiple forms of development in a region.

The public is invited to share their feedback on the Discussion Paper until July 30, 2018 at 4:00 pm.

“West Coast and our allies will be following the process closely, making submissions and engaging our supporters on this important issue. We look forward to working with the provincial government to establish a next-generation environmental assessment regime that British Columbians can trust,” said Smith.


For more information, please contact:

Gavin Smith | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law Association

Additional resources:

Why it’s Time to Reform Environmental Assessment in British Columbia (WCELA backgrounder)

A Blueprint for Revitalizing Environmental Assessment in BC (WCEL, Ecojustice, UVic Environmental Law Centre & Pacific CELL)