What Should You Know About the Coming into Force of the Impact Assessment Act?

  • September 23, 2019
  • Stanley Berger, partner Fogler, Rubinoff LLP

As of the end of August 2019, Canada has a new environmental assessment regime - the Impact Assessment Act[1]. Concurrent with the coming into force of the Act were two important regulations. The Physical Activities Regulations [2]designate proposed projects which the Impact Assessment Agency will have to consider for assessment. The Information and Management of Time Limits Regulations[3] sets out the information proponents one must include in the initial and more detailed project description and the time frames during the initial planning phase and subsequent stages of the assessment. This description now specifically requires estimates of any greenhouse gas and other emissions and wastes associated with any phase of the project.

The government was faced with a dilemma. How to reinvigorate the assessment process so that trust was established with industry, non-governmental organizations (NGO's) and First Nation communities. Industry found the process inefficient and unpredictable particularly in bringing natural resources to market. NGOs and indigenous groups considered regulators with significant control of the assessment process, captive to proponents and sought transparency.