It has become axiomatic that the ability to choose sustainable development paths requires consideration of the environmental effects of a policy at the same time as economic and other dimensions are being considered. One means of ensuring such consideration would be to require assessment of policies, regulations and programs under environmental assessment legislation.
This paper discusses amendments to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act ("CEAA") which will ensure environmental assessment of policies, regulations and programs in appropriate circumstances. The paper first discusses the need for environmental assessment of policies and programs, and then discusses the inadequacies of the current policy and program assessment regime. It then suggests amendments to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act which will be made to create a fair and efficient method of environmental assessment.
In this memo "program" means a set of related projects or plans, programs and agreements that lead to and provide guidance as to the form of a set of projects.
Policies include statements as to how legislation will be administered, funds spent etc. Such policies may be approved at a ministerial or cabinet level, or may be developed at the lower levels of the bureaucracy. Regulations are included under the rubric of policies.