The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Kim Covert

CBA submission on the environmental review process

May 18 2017 18 May 2017

In the tennis match that is the government’s review of its environmental assessment process, the ball is back in the CBA’s court – and the Association is calling a fault on the play.

In December, the CBA’s National Aboriginal Law Section and the National Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Section made a joint submission to the expert panel in Vancouver, and followed up with a letter in response to questions asked by the panel.

The Sections made a number of recommendations for strengthening the environmental assessment process, underscoring the importance of adequate funding, scientific evidence, environmental protection, and supporting economic growth while also respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

The expert panel has now released its report, Building Common Ground: A New Vision for Impact Assessment in Canada, and is asking for feedback on it.

The problem: the report was delivered to the Minister of Environment on April 5, and the period for public comment ended exactly a month later.

The Sections have written to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to ask for an extension.

“We have reviewed the Expert Panel’s Report, and intend to make a further submission, but believe we can offer more detailed and nuanced consideration of a number of significant issues that we have identified – including constitutional ones – than could be achieved within the public comment period ending May 5, 2017.”

The Sections promised to submit their new submission in the near future.

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