Recommendations For Improvements To Bill C-78 the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

West Coast Environmental Law Association


This brief makes recommendations for improving Bill C-78, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The recommendations are summarized in the first part of the brief. The second part of the brief sets out discussion and recommendations on a section by section basis.

Some key points are:

1. the scope of the Act should be broadened to require environmental impact assessment (EIA) of all matters within federal jurisdiction, including Crown corporations, foreign aid and authority for special EIA procedures for policies and programs;
2. loopholes allowing broad discretion to exempt projects from EIA should be closed;
3. any joint federal/provincial environmental review should be required to meet federal EIA standards;
4. federal EIA should be required to consider the need for and alternatives to a project;
5. the government's promise to institute intervenor funding should be enshrined in the Act;
6. the federal government should have the power to require a proponent to participate in EIA and to stop a project until EIA is completed; and
7. the Act should establish a Parliamentary Commissioner for Sustainable Development to report directly to Parliament, like the Auditor General;
8. the powers of the Minister of Environment should be expanded;
9. provisions for public participation in federal EIA should be improved.

This short list does not include numerous other important points made in the brief.

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