Minister Launches Public Comment Period on Expert Panel Report

MONTREAL, April 5, 2017 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is taking the next step in reviewing environmental assessment processes to build a new system that Canadians trust. The goal is to have new processes that are fair and based on science, respect the rights of Indigenous peoples, provide certainty to businesses and protect our environment for generations to come.

Today at the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) conference, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change launched a public comment period on the Expert Panel report related to the federal review of environmental assessment processes.

In August 2016, a four-person Expert Panel was established and spent months engaging the public, Indigenous groups, and stakeholders, both in person and online. The Panel went to 21 cities, received over 500 online submissions, and welcomed over 1,000 participants at engagement sessions. The Expert Panel report provides recommendations on possible approaches to improving current environmental assessment processes. The government will review the report and all of the input received as it considers a path forward including any potential legislative, regulatory or policy changes required. This work will be supported by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

The Minister invites Canadians to read the Expert Panel report and share their views until May 5, 2017 at LetsTalkEA.ca.

The Expert Panel report is one component of the Government of Canada's review of environmental and regulatory processes which was launched in June 2016.  The other components that were launched included reviews to modernize the National Energy Board, as well as to restore lost protections and introduce modern safeguards to the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act. The government is taking a whole of government approach to these reviews.

As part of the government's commitment to renewing its relationship with Indigenous people based on recognition of rights, mutual respect, cooperation and partnership, the government will continue working with Indigenous groups to ensure their input informs any potential legislative reform. Working with Indigenous communities and ensuring they are fully engaged in the process is central to this process working.

Consistent with its terms of reference, the Expert Panel's work has now concluded with the submission of its report.

Quotes:

"We want to build a new system that serves the public's interest and provides certainty to businesses. At the end of the day, we want to get good projects built. We know they create jobs that support communities across our country."

"I would like to thank the Expert Panel for their work in developing this report, and engaging with the public and Indigenous communities across Canada. I would also like to thank the Multi-Interest Advisory Committee for their work in advising the Expert Panel throughout the review. I look forward to reviewing the Panel's report and the comments from Canadians."

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

"I am pleased to have submitted our report and recommendations to the Minister. The Panel's review was thorough and productive, and the quality of submissions we received from a broad range of Canadians, including the public, Indigenous groups, environmental groups, Industry and academics was inspiring.  To all who participated in our review, we offer our heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation.  Without your selfless efforts, we would not have been able to undertake this work."

- Johanne Gélinas, Chair of the Expert Panel reviewing federal environmental assessment processes

Other relevant information:

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SOURCE Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

For further information: Media Contacts: Caitlin Workman, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 819-938-9436; Toban Morrison, Senior Advisor, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Toban.Morrison@ceaa-acee.gc.ca, 343-998-4379

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