Reforms to Federal Environmental Assessment Process receive Royal Assent

July 11, 2012

On June 29, 2012, the federal government’s Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act received Royal Assent. This newly enacted legislation implements key components of the Economic Action Plan 2012 and also contains important features of the Ministry of Natural Resources Responsible Resource Development plan. The intended goals of Responsible Resource Development are to: 1) ensure timely and predicable project reviews; 2) eliminate duplication of project reviews; 3) strengthen environment protection, and 4) improve dialogue with Aboriginal peoples.

As discussed in our April 19, 2012 post, as part of the goal to ensure timely and predictable project reviews, there are now fixed timelines for the beginning-to-end review process, which range from 12 to 24 months depending on the type of review. The plan also provides for the replacement of federal assessments with provincial environmental assessments that meet the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, in order to avoid duplication of environmental reviews.

The federal government projects that over the course of the next ten years, $500 billion worth of new projects are expected to start operating in Canada’s energy and mining sectors and the new legislation is intended to improve the regulatory conditions for business investment. It will be interesting to see how the global market responds to these regulatory changes and how natural resource investment unfolds in the upcoming decade.

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