Updated: Our Thoughts on Environmental Laws & Bill C-69

Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and General Counsel

On April 12, Stephen Hazell, the Director of Conservation and General Counsel of Nature Canada was a featured guest on the Energy and the Environment segment with Before the Bell on the Sixth Estate.

Appearing on the Energy and the Environment segment, Stephen discusses the concerns and issues surrounding Bill C-69, and the new environmental assessment review process. Click here to view the entire episode, with Stephen appearing between the 30:00 and 35:00 minute marks.

After the segment, Before the Bell reporter Dale Smith highlighted Stephen’s comment that “Having certainty at the political level is super important and we don’t have that with the bill,

Stephen noted that it makes it hard to judge intentions, and that while every government likes to have more discretion, the business and environmental communities like rules. “Impact assessment is about providing information for decision makers so that we can make sound decisions […] The Impact Assessment Act that has been proposed is a good step.”

Although the bill is a good step,  Nature Canada’s believes that the draft environmental assessment law is not nearly strong enough, and some industries are already lobbying to weaken it further.

Nature Canada’s advocacy team is hard at work here in Ottawa standing up as your voice for nature. We testified in the House of Commons on April 18, and are working for amendments to better conserve nature in May and June. Over the summer, we will be preparing for additional debate of environmental law reform in the Senate this fall and working on the proposed regulations.

In order to make sustainable, science-based decisions that will protect nature, wildlife and the health of all Canadians, here are some of the critical amendments to Bill C-69 we want included:

  • Expand the list of projects that trigger environmental assessment; merely evaluating the worst of the worst isn’t good enough.
  • Developments in National Parks and National Wildlife Areas, and in critical habitat for species at risk should be fully assessed as a matter of law.
  • The public must have a legal right to participate meaningfully in assessments, and the right to ask questions at hearings.

Click here to read our recent Letter to the Minister – outlining our concerns about “Project list” and how to improve and broaden consultation.

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