Blog Entry

ACTION ALERT: Budget Omnibus Bill C-38 Will Shred Canada’s Environmental Assessment Law (Among Many Other Things)

Jamie Kneen

National Program Co-Lead

The Harper Government is trying to gut the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Tell the Conservatives that Canada’s environment matters – and environmental laws matter.

Tell Prime Minister Harper, Environment Minister Kent, and Natural Resources Minister Oliver we won’t accept shoddy “streamlined” public reviews and destructive megaprojects – even if they change the law to allow them to proceed.

The Harper Government has introduced an Omnibus Budget Implementation Bill, C-38, which will actually repeal the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and replace it with a crude hand-drawn facsimile of a real federal environmental assessment process.

  • Smaller development projects, including potentially harmful ones, will no longer be assessed at all; whether larger ones will be reviewed will be subject to ministerial and bureaucratic discretion.
  • Reviews will be subject to restrictive timelines, and who is even allowed to participate will be limited.
  • Never mind free, prior, and informed consent; opportunities to consult with Aboriginal peoples and accomodate their interests through the environmental assessment process will be minimal.
  • Reviews will no longer be driven by a single, consistent set of federal standards; the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Energy Board will do their own reviews, and the remaining reviews will be handed off to a hodge podge of provincial and territorial processes, with no real restrictions.
  • Key habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act are also being removed, further limiting the application of the environmental assessment process; various provincial and federal agencies are also being given the ability to write their own permits under the Fisheries Act and a number of other laws.

What You Can Do

Learn about Bill C-38 and sign the online petitions that are part of the “Save Canada’s Environmental Laws!” web site and social media campaign and the Black Out Speak Out campaign. has also joined in to send messages to the government.

Talk to your MP and pressure the government to drop this ill-advised initiative. Even if your MP won't talk (or listen) to you, they will feel the pressure when enough people call, write, and e-mail them.

Write to Environment Minister Peter Kent to let him know that the measures he is proposing are ill-advised and will set back for decades Canadian efforts to build a sustainable future - and ramming an omnibus budget bill through Parliament is not a legitimate democratic form of developing legislation. Send copies to Prime Minister Harper, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, and the opposition parties’ environment critics, as well as your own Member of Parliament.

Most importantly, talk to your neighbours, friends, even strangers. Write to your local newspaper and call in to your local radio station. People have put a lot of hard work into trying to create and environmental assessment process that protects the environment from inappropriate development projects and gives the public a say in development. We will not accept a review process that is “streamlined” to limit public participation and ensure that destructive megaprojects can proceed without serious consideration of their impacts – and without those safeguards in place we will not accept the projects themselves.

Click here to send the following letter to Environment Minister Peter Kent, or send your own.

  • If you can, personalize your message by adding information about your own specific concerns. This could relate to a particular type of development projects, a particular environmental assessment, or other sustainable development issues.
  • Make sure to send a copy to your own Member of Parliament.
  • Below the letter, you will find a list of the relevant addresses, phone/fax numbers, and e-mails.

Dear Minister Kent,

Don’t trash the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act! This law is critical to understanding and mitigating the adverse environmental effects of developments such as pipelines, tar sands projects, and mines. Eliminating legal requirements and limiting public participation in project reviews makes environmental disasters such as BP’s Deepwater Horizon, Exxon Valdez, and Fukushima more likely. I know that you don’t want catastrophes like these to happen in Canada.

That’s why I am urging you to work with Parliament to strengthen the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to make it more effective, efficient, and open to public participation.

Canadians want all development projects to be sustainable, and a stronger environmental assessment law – not a weaker one – is key to achieving that goal.

Please remove the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and other environmental laws that have nothign to do with the Budget from the Budget Implementation Bill, C-38, so they can be fully consulted and debated. 

Thank you for considering my views.


[your name here]

The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
The Hon. Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources
Megan Leslie, MP, NDP Environment Critic
Kirsty Duncan, MP, Liberal Environment Critic
Maria Mourani, MP, Bloc Québecois Environment Critic
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party

To find your Member of Parliament, use the Parliamentary directory at

Mail may be sent postage-free to any Member of Parliament at the following address:

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

The Honourable Peter Kent
Minister of the Environment
Tel. (613) 992-0253
Fax: (613) 992-0887
[email protected]

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Tel. (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
[email protected]

The Honourable Joe Oliver
Minister of Natural Resources
Tel. (613) 992-6361
Fax: (613) 992-9791
[email protected]

Megan Leslie
Tel. (613) 995-7614
Fax: (613) 992-8569
[email protected]

Kirsty Duncan
Tel. (613) 995-4702
Fax: (613) 995-8359
[email protected]

Maria Mourani
Tel. (613) 992-0983
Fax: (613) 992-1932
[email protected]

Elizabeth May
Tel. (613) 996-1119
Fax: (613) 996-0850
[email protected]