Major new energy projects will have to be assessed and either approved or denied within two years under a massive new national assessment bill being introduced in the House of Commons.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who tabled the 341-page Impact Assessment Act, says it will provide clarity and certainty about how the process works, what companies need to do, and why and how decisions are made.
Over $500 billion in major resource projects are planned across Canada in the next decade, McKenna told a news conference as she announced the new bill. “These projects would mean tens of thousnds of well-paying jobs cross the country, and they would provide an economic boost for communities and our economy as a whole,” McKenna said. “But we cannot get there without better rules to guide our decisions about resource development.”
…All projects will be assessed not just for environmental impacts, but also for impacts on health, the economy, social issues, gender and Indigenous rights. They will be assessed on the basis of “robust science, evidence and traditional Indigenous knowledge,” McKenna said.
“Indigenous Peoples would be consulted in a … meaningful manner.” While the last word will still largely reside with the federal cabinet, decisions will be made on whether a project is in the public interest by weighing the positives and negatives of a project against each other.