How Does BC’s Proposed New Environmental Assessment Act Measure Up?

BC Environmental Assessment
Gavin Smith
Jessica Clogg

In 2017 the BC government committed to reform environmental assessment (“EA”) in the province in order to “ensure the legal rights of First Nations are respected, and the public’s expectation of a strong, transparent process is met.” After a period of engagement with Indigenous nations – as well as stakeholder consultation, a public comment period on a Discussion Paper, and the release of an EA Revitalization Intentions Paper – the Province introduced Bill 51 in November 2018 to repeal BC’s old Environmental Assessment Act and replace it with a new law.

During BC's EA revitalization process, 24 environmental, social justice and community groups released A Vision for Next-Generation Environmental Assessment in British Columbia to set out the high-level principles that should be reflected in a new EA law in order to fully seize the opportunity to rebuild public trust, advance reconciliation and achieve sustainability.

This publication summarizes West Coast Environmental Law’s take on the strengths and concerns regarding Bill 51 in comparison to each of the 14 principles in the Vision document. 

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