Government of Canada Moving Forward with Environmental Assessment Review

OTTAWA, Aug. 15, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, the Government of Canada took the next step to deliver on its commitment to review and restore confidence in Canada's environmental and regulatory processes. This is essential to ensure that decisions on major projects are based on science, facts, and evidence, including traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, today announced the creation of a four-member Expert Panel to undertake the review of federal environmental assessment processes.

Johanne Gélinas has been appointed as the Chair of the Expert Panel.  Doug Horswill, Rod Northey, and Renée Pelletier have been appointed as members of the Expert Panel. The Minister has issued the Terms of Reference, establishing the mandate and timelines for the Panel.

Panel members were selected based on their knowledge, experience and expertise relevant to federal environmental assessment processes. The Minister also considered the need for diversity in terms of Indigenous, regional and gender representation. 

The Expert Panel will engage broadly with Canadians, including Indigenous groups, the public and a wide range of stakeholders. Consultation opportunities will be held across Canada starting in September 2016.

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.

For details on funding availability for Indigenous groups or for more information, visit


"Our belief that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand is central to the health and well-being of Canadians. This is especially important as we work to get resources to market and develop major projects responsibly in the twenty-first century. Canadians expect and deserve to have an environmental assessment system that they can trust."

"The members of the Expert Panel will bring a broad cross-section of views and experience to this process and I have every faith in their ability to complete this review in a way that represents the views of all Canadians. I had the opportunity to meet the Panel today and share my thoughts with them on the importance of this review. I look forward to receiving their report, as we move towards a more open, transparent and inclusive process leading to decisions based on facts and scientific evidence."  

- The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


  • Expert Panel biographies




Biographies of Expert Panel Members
Review of Environmental Assessment Processes

Johanne Gélinas – Panel Chair  

Johanne Gélinas is a Partner in Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton's Strategy and Performance Consulting Group and in charge of its Sustainability and Greenhouse Gas Management practice. Before joining Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, she led the Sustainable Development and Climate Change practice at Deloitte, from 2007 to 2012.  

Johanne was the Canadian Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development from 2000 to 2007. She also served for 10 years as Commissioner with the Government of Quebec BAPE (Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement). She recently led the think tank and public consultation on the social acceptability issue for the Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles du Québec.

Johanne is a certified Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) trainer. She has been teaching at the Collège des administrateurs de sociétés since 2011. She is currently Chair of the Board of Protégez-Vous magazine and a member of the Board of Directors for the Espace Libre Theatre. She was also Chair of RECYC-Québec's Board of Directors.

She received the 2009 UQAM Recognition Award for her innovative vision and commitment to sustainable development. She also was awarded the Prix Femmes d'affaires du Québec, and won the 2012 Korn/Ferry Award for Enterprise Governance Excellence. Première en affaires recognized her as one of the top eight individuals in Quebec's governance industry.

Doug Horswill – ­Panel Member  

Doug Horswill retired as Senior Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs, Teck Resources in April 2014. Doug holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Mineral Engineering and a Master of Arts degree in Economics from the University of British Columbia.  

Following 20 years in the Public Service, culminating in the positions of Deputy Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations and Deputy Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources for the Province of British Columbia, Doug joined Cominco Ltd., later Teck Resources Ltd, as Vice President, Environment and Public Affairs in September 1992. He spent the next 22 years developing and leading Teck's sustainability, community relations, environment, health, safety and external relations areas including Teck's international zinc and health program.

Doug is past Chairman of the Mining Association of Canada and the Mining Association of British Columbia. He recently served as Chairman of the Board of Resource Works and is a member of the Boards of the Sunny Hill Health Care Centre for Children, The International Fertilizer Development Center, Providence Health Care and the Canadian International Resource Development Institute. He is past Board Member of CARE Canada and the Vancouver Aquarium and Marine Research Center. He is an Executive in Residence for the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Doug was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal for service in international development charitable sector.

Rod Northey – Panel Member  

Rod Northey is an environmental lawyer and partner in the Toronto office of Gowling WLG. He is in his 27th year of private practice and certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in environmental law.  

Rod is author of the 2016 Guide to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (LexisNexis), a 1994 annotation of federal environmental assessment law and panel reviews, and law journal articles on infrastructure planning, and federalism and environmental law.

Rod is an adjunct faculty member at Osgoode Hall Law School's Municipal Law LLM program for a graduate course on environmental protection. He is recognized by his peers in national and international listings, including Lexpert, Canada's Best Lawyers, and Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers.

Throughout his career, Rod has been active in environmental law reform. He has been retained by the federal government to deal with the precautionary principle, apply environmental assessment to Crown corporations, and apply environmental assessment to projects outside Canada. He has also appeared before parliamentary committees on constitutional law and environmental assessment. In Ontario, Rod was on the 2004 task force to establish the Ontario Greenbelt, and on the 2005 advisory committee to reform environmental assessment to better address green energy, transit and waste management projects.

Outside his legal practice, Rod is chair of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and the Greenbelt Fund.

Renée Pelletier – Panel Member

Renée Pelletier is the managing partner at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, one of Canada's leading Aboriginal rights law firms. Renée is Maliseet and grew up in Nova Scotia. Renée practices Aboriginal rights and environmental law. She regularly advises and represents her Indigenous clients on consultation matters, regulatory and environmental matters, reserve land management and impacts and benefits agreements. Her practice also includes work on Aboriginal and treaty rights litigation and specific claims. She has litigated judicial review applications and appeared before various levels of courts on motions, trials and appeals. Renée was cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in the high-profile case R. v. Ipeelee, 2012 SCC 13. Renée is especially passionate about assisting her Indigenous clients in achieving greater self-determination. She also strives to incorporate the legal traditions of her Indigenous clients into the work she does on their behalf.

Renée has worked at Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto, volunteered for the Native Women's Resource Centre, and worked with the Innocence Project about the case of Native American Activist Leonard Peltier. Renée was also a Native Court Worker at College Park Criminal Court.

Renée is a member of the New Brunswick and Ontario Bars. She is French Acadian, her first language is French, and she is fluently bilingual in both French and English. Renée is also a member of the Indigenous Bar Association.  


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SOURCE Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Image with caption: "Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, meets with members of the Expert Panel who will be reviewing environmental assessment processes. (CNW Group/Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency)". Image available at:

For further information: Media Contacts, Caitlin Workman, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 819-938-9436; Toban Morrison, Manager, Communications, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency,, 819-635-2067


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