The Liberal party has committed to review Canada’s environmental assessment process and introduce a new process as a result of that review. The new process will: a) “restore robust oversight”, b) ensure decisions are evidence-based and serve the public interest, and c) require project advocates to choose “the best technologies available to reduce environmental impact”. Environmental assessments will include analysis of “upstream impacts” and GHG emissions review. The Liberal party has also committed to partner with and consult First Nations, Inuit and Métis groups.
While the consequences of this review are difficult to predict, it seems likely this will have a significant impact on firms working in resource development and associated industries, especially those working with pipelines. The worst case scenario is that the regulatory burden would impact the economics of resource projects resulting in major projects not proceeding. However, an efficient science-based approvals process will potentially provide the social licence for economic opportunities offered by the resource sector.
ACEC will use this as an opportunity to educate policy makers and other stakeholders regarding ACEC members’ knowledge and expertise to help proponents deliver projects in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. ACEC would also want to ensure that the process is clear, efficient and transparent and that duplication among agencies and/or with provincial/territorial authorities is minimal. The process should also respect the expertise and professional accountability of ACEC members.