We are writing on behalf of West Coast Environmental Law Association, however the content of this letter is informed by the concerns we have heard raised generally among several legal and environmental groups and some individuals who have already participated or will be participating in the seven year statutory review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (“CEAA”).
CEAA and its regulations make up a critically important legislative and regulatory scheme that has a significant impact on how Canadians are involved in decisions, what kind of decisions we make about resource extraction and other relevant projects, and what sorts of questions we pose in relation to those proposed projects. We therefore hold the work of this Committee in the highest regard, and we appreciate the opportunity to be able to participate in the review and make submissions.
We feel that the goal of this review should be to build an environmental assessment regime that ensures economic activity contributes to long term environmental and social sustainability, including decreased contributions to climate change nation-wide, and that Canadians should be actively encouraged to participate in reaching this goal. The review process to date has not met this hope and, as we are not yet aware of any plan or schedule for the remainder of the review, we cannot say with certainty whether it will. However, we do believe there is still time and opportunity for the Standing Committee to provide greater focus, engagement and progressive purpose to this review process.