Posts Tagged ‘Environmental assessment’

Federal government posts proposed revisions to regulations under CEAA 2012

April 17th, 2013 by Laura Bowman

Late Friday night, April 12, 2013, the federal government posted the latest revisions to the Regulations Designating Physical Activities under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.   These regulations determine which projects are potentially subject to a federal assessment under the new Act.

The existing regulations were put in force without any public consultations when CEAA 2012 was enacted in July 2012.  The regulations were based on the comprehensive study list regulations under the old version of CEAA which was repealed in mid-2012.

The amendments to the Regulations Designating Physical Activities proposed by the government at this time are limited.  Some projects are removed and others are clarified.   Diamond mines, apatite mines, railway yards, international and interprovincial bridges and tunnels and “the first offshore exploratory wells in exploration licence area” and expansions to oil sands mines would be added to the project list.  Just being on the project list no longer guarantees an assessment is required.

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How will CEAA review panels interpret “directly affected” and “interested party”? Alberta provides some clues

November 12th, 2012 by Laura Bowman

The new federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) has adopted new criteria for standing at review panel hearings that includes the words “directly affected”.  The Kelly series of cases from Alberta help shed some light on the meaning of that requirement and how it might develop at the federal level.  Under CEAA 2012 review panels will decide what it means, but will be subject to supervision by the courts.

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Jarvis Bike Lane Removal Exposes Serious Weaknesses in Municipal Class Approvals

October 12th, 2012 by Laura Bowman

The “Class EA” was introduced to the Ontario environmental assessment process shortly after the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act was passed, in 1976. The purpose of Class EAs was said to be to streamline approvals for undertakings that were similar in nature (i.e. belonging to the same ‘class’ of project) and that generally had predictable and easy to mitigate effects and therefore did not need full environmental assessments. Class assessments were immediately used for municipal infrastructure projects. Class EAs are an attempt to balance many competing policy factors including reducing the cost of municipal infrastructure, avoiding duplication with other municipal processes and the difficulty of predicting environmental effects on a class‑wide basis. However, strong pressures to exempt an ever growing array of projects from full environmental assessments have led to the growth of Class EAs, and Class EAs have come to dominate EA practices in Ontario by a wide margin.

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Bill C‑38 creates open season on Canada’s natural environment

June 8th, 2012 by Paula Boutis and Laura Bowman

On April 26, 2012, the federal government tabled Bill C-38, the 2012  Budget Bill.  The Bill was reviewed before the Standing Committee on Finance which just released its report recommending that part 3 of the Bill be carried as written.  Part 3 of Bill C-38 contains several significant changes to federal environmental legislation, including:

  • the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act,
  • the National Energy Board Act,
  • the Canadian Oil and Gas Operations Act,
  • the Nuclear Safety and Control Act,
  • the Fisheries Act,
  • the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and
  • the Species at Risk Act.

Here we describe highlights of the two most important legislative changes, to CEAA and the Fisheries Act.

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Proposed Changes to Fish Habitat Provisions of the Fisheries Act

April 18th, 2012 by Laura Bowman and Paula Boutis

In mid‑March 2012, a number of news outlets reported that the Harper government is looking at significant changes to the wording of the Fisheries Act after they were leaked to Otto Langer.

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Toronto Cyclists Union Calls for Full Environmental Assessment Process on Jarvis Street

April 3rd, 2012 by Iler Campbell LLP

The Toronto Cyclists Union released a legal opinion (pdf)  by Laura Bowman today which outlines the case that the City of Toronto must conduct a Schedule C Environmental Assessment in order to remove the Jarvis Street bike lanes and re-install the centre reversible lane. The bike lanes have been slated to be removed this summer.

In an article on, Mathew Blackett praises the action, writing, “instead of the typical cycling activist action of taking over an intersection and holding bikes high overhead to piss off drivers, the Union is taking the game to the City.”

The Union has given the city ten days to respond after which they will submit their request to the Minister of the Environment.

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