Canadian Environmental Assessment Act under review

Jamie Kneen

National Program Co-Lead

Five years after it came into force, it is time to look at the effectiveness of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). Under the law, after five years the Minister of Environment must report to Parliament on the adequacy of the law and its implementation, and propose needed changes.

Through the Canadian Environmental Network's Environmental Assessment and Planning Caucus, we are involved in the public consultations being sponsored by the Environmental Assessment Agency. This process will continue through March, at which point the interdepartmental wrangling will begin, leading to a Cabinet document to be submitted by the Minister by December. Any legislative amendments would be initiated at that time.

It is our hope that the Act and its regulations will be changed to prevent some of the serious problems we have been seeing, where federal responsibilities are not being taken seriously, environmental requirements are not being enforced, and whole areas of responsibility, such as Crown Corporations, are simply left out. We are pushing specifically for the Act to apply to the Export Development Corporation (see previous Newsletter for details).

For details on the five-year review process, you can visit the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's web site; for background on the Canadian Environmental Network and the Caucus's work on the five-year review, visit the CEN's web site.