In the omnibus budget bill (Bill C-38), the government of Canada will repeal the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and replace it with new legislation, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. The new Act takes a much narrower approach to environmental assessment (“EA”).
Many First Nation leaders have spoken out against the new Act. There are too many changes to provide a complete analysis here but, in general, the new system: has fewer assessments, narrower environmental considerations, less room for participation, is more rushed, and it makes decision-making more political. For highlights (or low-lights, I suppose) on these points, please see my briefing on the new legislation.
By Judith Rae