Following recent reports of inadequate regulatory oversight for Canadian energy projects, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Natural Resources recently made a joint announcement of their approach for restoring confidence in Canada’s environmental assessment process. The new approach to the assessment of major projects, including pipelines, will rest heavily on a renewed commitment to scientific oversight, implications for climate change, and meaningful consultation with indigenous peoples. Given that a full review will take time, the Ministers have announced interim measures that will apply to projects already in the midst of environmental assessment:
- No project proponent will be asked to return to the starting line — project reviews will continue within the current legislative framework and in accordance with treaty provisions, under the auspices of relevant responsible authorities and Northern regulatory boards;
- Decisions will be based on science, traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples and other relevant evidence;
- The views of the public and affected communities will be sought and considered;
- Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted, and where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be accommodated; and
- Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to the projects under review will be assessed.
More information on these changes to the environmental assessment process and video of the announcement can be accessed on the CBC website.