An Update, and Our Thoughts on Environmental Laws

Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and General Counsel

The next few months in Parliament will be critical to defending nature in Canada. Your voice is really needed.

Several draft laws that could help reverse the decline of Canada’s endangered species and support truly sustainable development are now being debated in Parliament.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore and strengthen legal protections that were eliminated or weakened by the previous government. But the draft environmental assessment law is not nearly strong enough, and industry is already lobbying hard to weaken it further.

In early February, Nature Canada shared its thoughts on the proposed bill and how this bill will impact Canadians.

Here are several amendments that nature needs in the environmental assessment law.

  • Put back legal requirements. Federal decisions to regulate or provide funding to developments should not go forward until good information on the possible harm to nature is presented. Ministers should have much less much discretion in the new law to water down the assessment process.
  • Development in National Parks and National Wildlife Areas or in critical habitat for species at risk should be fully assessed as a matter of law. Nature must come first in our protected places.
  • The public must have a legal right to participate meaningfully in assessments, and the right to ask questions at hearings.

The Prime Minister and your local Member of Parliament need to hear that people support a stronger law to protect nature. Our thanks to thousands of Canadians like YOU for calling on Parliamentarians to improve the environmental assessment law and stand up to industry lobbyists.

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