Government launches review of environmental and regulatory processes to restore public trust

OTTAWA, June 20, 2016 /CNW/ - The belief that a clean environment and a strong economy can go hand in hand is central to the health and well-being of Canadians as we work to get resources to market and develop infrastructure projects responsibly in the twenty-first century.

The Government of Canada took a first step to deliver on its commitment to review and restore confidence in Canada's environmental and regulatory processes in January 2016 with the launch of an interim approach and principles for projects currently undergoing an environmental assessment.

Today, a comprehensive review of environmental and regulatory processes was launched by the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

To ensure an efficient process, the review is being closely coordinated across government departments and will focus on the following components:

  • Rebuilding trust in environmental assessment processes;
  • Modernizing the National Energy Board; and
  • Restoring lost protections and introducing modern safeguards to the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act.  

Consultation will be at the core of this review. The Government believes that rebuilding trust begins with a coordinated, open and transparent process based on scientific evidence, working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, and provinces and territories, and taking into account input from a range of stakeholders, including the public, industry, and environmental groups.

Canadians are invited to learn more and share their views at Canada.ca/environmentalreviews.

Quotes:

"Our oceans and fisheries provide a way of life for many Canadians and we need to manage our resources in the right way. We invite our government partners, Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians to actively engage with us on how we should restore lost protections for fish and fish habitat and incorporate modern safeguards to ensure the sustainability of Canada's oceans and fisheries."

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard

"Today we are demonstrating action to restore credibility to environmental and regulatory processes and ensure that decisions are based on science, facts, evidence and traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples. Through the modernization of the National Energy Board we will strengthen Canadians' trust in the regulatory process."

The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources

"The Government of Canada has committed to restoring lost protections and introducing modern safeguards to the Navigation Protection Act.  Reviewing the legislation is an important step forward in meeting this commitment.  We look forward to hearing the views of Canadians during the review process."

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

"We are here to act in the best interest of Canadians and restore their trust in environmental assessments. We will do this by working together to find the best ways to protect our environment.  That's how we will grow our economy for a clean, sustainable future for Canadians and their families."

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

"The review of Canada's environmental and regulatory processes will ensure that decisions are based on science, facts and evidence. I am proud to support my colleagues as they undertake this important task, and I am eager to have Canadians express their views."

- The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“Ensuring Indigenous communities are full partners in the environmental assessment processes is a key element of renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples. Our Government is committed to carrying out early and ongoing engagement with Indigenous peoples as part of these important reviews. We are committed to renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples, based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. ”

- The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P., Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

Backgrounders:

Backgrounder
Review of Environmental Assessment Processes

The Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to review federal environmental assessment processes. The goal is to develop new, fair processes that are robust, incorporate scientific evidence, protect our environment, respect the rights of Indigenous peoples, and support economic growth.

There are currently three responsible authorities that conduct federal environmental assessments:  the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. 

This process is being led by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The Review Process

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is establishing an Expert Panel to review federal environmental assessment processes associated with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).

The Expert Panel will engage broadly with Canadians, Indigenous groups and key stakeholders and develop recommendations to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change for restoring public confidence in environmental assessment processes. 

Indigenous and public input is invited until July 20, 2016 on the draft Terms of Reference for the Expert Panel – a document that outlines its proposed mandate, timelines and procedures.

Consultations

Canadians will be consulted broadly throughout the review, both online and in-person. The public is invited to share their views.

Consultation opportunities are being planned across Canada and will begin in September 2016. Dates and locations will be available shortly.

As part of the government's commitment to renewing its relationship with Indigenous people based on trust, respect, and cooperation, the Expert Panel will work directly with Indigenous groups to ensure that their concerns are heard and taken into account throughout the review.

Participant funding will be made available to assist Indigenous people in participating in the process and expressing their views.   

Next Steps

Following the consultation period on the Expert Panel's Terms of Reference, members and details on the participant funding application process for Indigenous people will be announced.

Media Contacts
Caitlin Workman
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-938-9436

Bradley Eddison
Manager, Communications
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Bradley.eddison@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

Follow us on Twitter: @CEAA_ACEE

 

Backgrounder
National Energy Board Modernization

The Minister of Natural Resources has been mandated by the Prime Minister to modernize the National Energy Board (NEB) and to ensure its composition reflects regional views and has sufficient expertise in such fields as environmental science, community development, and Indigenous traditional knowledge. Modernization of the NEB will ensure it is able to continue to effectively regulate energy developments in Canada in a way that has the confidence of Canadians. Modernization of the NEB goes beyond its responsibility of conducting environmental assessments.     

As part of this modernization process, the Minister will seek the views of Canadians on reforms to the NEB and the National Energy Board Act.

The Government of Canada understands the crucial role the NEB plays in providing science and fact-based information to inform decisions on major projects; however, its mandate is limited in some areas.

To address this limitation while this review is underway, the Government of Canada put in place, in January, a set of interim principles and transitional measures for major resource projects, including pipelines currently under review. These principles include deeper consultations with Indigenous Peoples, further public engagement and the assessment of upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with projects. Click here for more info http://mpmo.gc.ca/measures/254.

Scope

This review will look at issues that are specific to the NEB and fall outside the separate review of Canada's federal environmental assessment processes. It is an opportunity to strengthen the regulatory process and ensure that Canada continues to have a modern, efficient and effective regulator. Specifically, the review will focus on:

  1. Governance and structure
  2. Mandate and future opportunities
  3. Decision-making on major projects
  4. Compliance, enforcement, and ongoing monitoring
  5. Engagement with Indigenous peoples
  6. Public participation

The Review Process

The Government will establish an Expert Panel this summer that will be tasked with consulting Indigenous peoples, key stakeholders and Canadians across the country and providing advice on potential reforms that need to be undertaken. The Expert Panel is expected to provide a report with recommendations to the Minister of Natural Resources by January 31, 2017, which will be made public. 

The draft Terms of Reference for the Expert Panel are available for public review and comment for 30 days, until July 20, 2016. Panel members will be announced following this comment period.

Consultations

Indigenous peoples:

  • The specific views of Indigenous peoples and communities will be sought as part of this process. Participant funding will be made available.
  • These engagement activities are supplementary to the Government's pledge to hear more widely the views of Canadians, including more meaningful consultations with Indigenous peoples on existing projects.

Public and stakeholder engagement:

  • All interested Canadians will have the opportunity to provide input, including industry, non-governmental organizations, academia, the different levels of government and others as required.
  • Canadians can share their initial views on this and other mandated reviews here, in one place, to ease the burden of multiple engagement processes.

Next Steps

As announced by the Prime Minister in February 2016, future NEB appointments will follow an open and competitive process for appointing new Board members. These additional members will help ensure the NEB is representative of the diverse views of Canadians, including Indigenous peoples.

Media Contacts
Alexandre Deslongchamps
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
343-292-6837

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
343-292-6100

Follow us on Twitter: @NRCan (http://twitter.com/nrcan)
NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media

 

Backgrounder
Fish Habitat Protection

The Fisheries Act gives the government authority to manage Canadian fisheries and to protect the habitat that supports them. The government has committed to reviewing the recent changes to the Act to restore any lost protections and to incorporate modern safeguards.

This review will engage parliamentarians and consult broadly with Canadians, Indigenous groups, provinces and territories, and a range of stakeholders including industry and environmental groups.

The Review Process

The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, along with the Minister of Transport, are asking Parliament's Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans and Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to examine recent changes to the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act and to hear from Canadians.

As an independent and public forum, a parliamentary committee can hear from witnesses including experts. All Canadians are welcome to submit briefs or ask to appear as witnesses. You can also attend the hearings in person.

When the committee has finished its work, it will report to Parliament with recommendations on how to address concerns about the protection of fish and fish habitat.

Consultations

Indigenous Consultations
As part of the government's commitment to renewing our relationship with Indigenous peoples based on trust, respect, and cooperation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work directly with Indigenous peoples to ensure that their concerns are heard and taken into account.

Participant funding will be available to make sure they are able to participate and express their views.

Public and stakeholder consultations
Listening to the experience and views of Canadians is at the core of this review. In addition to the work of the parliamentary committee, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will seek and consider input from the public through an online questionnaire.

In the coming weeks, Canadians will be invited to visit this website to find out more about ways they can contribute their thoughts and suggestions. You will also find useful background information to help you better participate in the conversation, and opportunities to discuss your views with other concerned Canadians.

Regularly updated information about the work of the parliamentary committees and other consultation activities can also be found here.

Next Steps

While the review is underway, the government will continue to ensure that fish and fish habitat are protected to support sustainable fisheries. We will also implement new processes to monitor the development of projects and we will report back to the public on how fish and fish habitat are being protected. We intend to publish our first report early next fall.

When all of the reviews are completed, we will bring forward new environmental assessment processes, restore lost protections, and introduce modern safeguards.

Media Contacts:

Media Inquiries
Communications
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
613-990-7537
Media.xncr@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Patricia Bell
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 
613 992 3474

Internet: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter!   www.Twitter.com/DFO_MPO  

 

Backgrounder
Navigation Protection

The Government of Canada has committed to restoring lost protections and introducing modern safeguards to the Navigation Protection Act

The Navigation Protection Act gives the Government of Canada the authority to regulate interferences (e.g., bridges and dams) with the public's right to navigate in Canada's busiest waterways. The Act also prohibits dewatering navigable waters and depositing or throwing materials into them that risk impacting navigation.

This review will consult broadly with Canadians, Indigenous peoples, provinces and territories, and a range of stakeholders including industry and environmental groups.

The Review Process

The Minister of Transport is asking a Parliamentary committee to examine the recent changes to the previous Navigable Waters Protection Act (now Navigation Protection Act) and to hear from Canadians.

As an independent and public forum, the parliamentary committee will invite witnesses which will also include experts to present their views. All Canadians are welcome to submit briefs or ask to appear as a witness. You can also attend the hearings in person or watch them on the parliamentary web channel.

When the committee has finished its work, it will report to Parliament with recommendations on how to address concerns about protecting navigation.

Consultations

Indigenous Consultations
As part of the Government of Canada's commitment to renewing our relationship with Indigenous peoples based on trust, respect, and cooperation, Transport Canada will work directly with Indigenous groups to ensure that their concerns are heard and taken into account.

Participant funding will be available to make sure they are able to participate and express their views.

Public and Stakeholder Consultations
Listening to the experience and views of Canadians is at the core of this review. In addition to the work of the parliamentary committee, Transport Canada will seek and consider input from the public through an online questionnaire.

Canadians are invited to visit this webpage to find out more about how they can contribute their thoughts and suggestions.  You will also find useful background information to help you better participate in the conversation, and opportunities to discuss their views with other concerned Canadians.

Regularly updated information about the work of the parliamentary committee and other consultation activities can also be found here.

Next Steps

During this review, Transport Canada will continue to review projects under the existing law, while continuously working to modernize existing standards and procedures.

When all of the reviews are completed, Transport Canada will propose changes to the legislation, as appropriate, to restore lost protections and introduce modern safeguards.

Media Contacts:

Delphine Denis
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
613-991-0700

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055
media@tc.gc.ca

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to e-news or stay connected through RSS, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr to keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada.

 

SOURCE Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

For further information: Review of Environmental Assessment Processes: Caitlin Workman, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 819-938-9436; Bradley Eddison, Manager, Communications, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Bradley.eddison@ceaa-acee.gc.ca; Modernizing the National Energy Board: Alexandre Deslongchamps, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister, Natural Resources Canada, 343-292-6837; Media Relations, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, 343-292-6100; Fish Habitat Protection : Patricia Bell, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 613-992-3474; Media Inquiries: Communications, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 613-990-7537, Media.xncr@dfo-mpo.gc.ca; Navigation Protection: Delphine Denis, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, Ottawa, 613-991-0700

RELATED LINKS
http://www.ceaa.gc.ca

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