Proceedings of the Federal Environmental Assessment Reform Summit

Anna Johnston, Staff Counsel

In November 2015, the Ministers of Environment and Climate Change, Fisheries, Transport, Natural Resources, Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and Science were given the mandate to review Canada’s environmental assessment processes or to support that review. In August 2016, the federal government appointed an expert panel to undertake that review, and required it to undertake public and Indigenous consultations. The Panel’s report is due January 31, 2017.

In anticipation of that review, the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation hosted a Federal Environmental Assessment Reform Summit in Ottawa May 2016. Attended by approximately 30 of Canada’s leading environmental assessment experts, academics, lawyers and practitioners, the Summit was an opportunity to discuss, crystallize thinking, weigh options and seek to find common ground on key components of a “next-generation” environmental assessment law for Canada.

The Federal Environmental Assessment Reform Summit Proceedings summarize the main outcomes of the discussions that took place during the Summit, including the key principles on which there was general consensus, recommendations for how to implement those proposed reforms and issues that require further discussion and thinking.

The Executive Summary sets out twelve “pillars” of a next-generation environmental assessment that are based on the key principles discussed at the Summit and described in the background reading materials.

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