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environmental assessment

NEB Modernization Panel report: The good, the workable and the ugly

Monday, May 15, 2017

VANCOUVER, BC, Coast Salish Territories - The report released today by the Expert Panel on the Modernization of the National Energy Board (

Expert Panel report on environmental assessment review – an overview

18 April, 2017

On April 5th, the federal government released the report of its Expert Panel that has been reviewing Canada’s environmental assessment (EA) processes. The report, Building Common Ground: A new vision for impact assessment in Canada, sets out a bold new vision of how the government should weigh options and make decisions about proposals that could affect the health of the environment and Canadians. Staff Counsel Anna Johnston shares an overview of some of the report's highlights, and how well they align with our priorities for a next-generation environmental assessment law.

Environment & Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna with EA Review Expert Panel Chair Johanne Gélinas (Photo: Anna Johnston).

On April 5th, the federal government released the report of the Expert Panel that has been reviewing Canada’s environmental

Will the Canadian government “restore lost protections” for navigable waters?

11 April, 2017

The Liberal Party of Canada was elected in part on the basis of a promise to restore lost environmental protections – including reviewing the “elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act” in order to “restore lost protections and incorporate more modern safeguards.”  On March 23rd the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transportation reported on the results of its review, and made a series of recommendations related to Canada’s laws related to navigable waters. But does the Committee's report chart a path for delivering on the government’s election promises and restoring lost legal protections for the public right of navigation?


The review of the Navigation Protection Act is an opportunity to strengthen legal protection for navigation and the environment on all navigable lakes and rivers. (Photo: Arlen Tees).

Canadians demand big changes to environmental assessment law

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Environmental lawyers say Expert Panel report should be a floor, not a ceiling

OTTAWA – The report released today by the Expert Panel reviewing Canada’s environmental assessment (EA) processes calls for a major shift in decision-making that will help protect Canadians and the environment, experts say. But the federal government has its work cut out for it, as it continues to listen to Canadians in developing a next-generation EA law.

Wresting authority from the regulators: The proper role of the National Energy Board in environmental assessments

31 March, 2017

It is not every day that we have an opportunity to effect transformative legal change. It is natural, then, that when last summer a number of cabinet ministers announced the review of four key federal environmental laws, West Coast Environmental Law – along with other lawyers, academics, environmental groups, Indigenous peoples and the general public – took a keen interest. Through these reviews we have an opportunity to not only strengthen environmental processes and substantive legal protections, but to also transform the governance of environmental planning and decision-making.

This opportunity is perhaps most pronounced in the reviews of federal environmental assessment processes and the National Energy Board (NEB). Currently, two out of the three federal bodies who are responsible authorities for environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 – the NEB and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) – are regulators.

This column was originally published on Slaw – Canada's online legal magazine.

Canadians have high expectations for assessment law reform, environmental experts say

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Canadians show support for a new law and stronger environmental safeguards

OTTAWA – The report that the Expert Panel reviewing Canada’s environmental assessment law will release next week is critical to restoring public trust in how natural resources are developed, say environmental law experts.

The report is the result of the Expert Panel’s nationwide engagement, which gathered input from scientific and legal experts, Indigenous peoples, industry representatives and members of the public.

Review of federal environmental assessment processes: What happens next?

9 February, 2017

Last December, the Expert Panel appointed by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to review federal environmental assessment (EA) processes completed its cross-Canada tour. With the panel wrapping up its consultations, many people are asking, what now?

Staff Counsel Anna Johnston lays out some of the next steps we can expect in the EA review.


Photo: Staff Counsel Anna Johnston (far right) with the Multi-Interest Advisory Committee appointed to assist with the EA review. (Environment and Climate Change Canada)

Last December, the Expert Panel appointed by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to review federal environmental assessment processes wrapped up its cross-Canada tour.

2017: A Look Ahead to Protect Nature, Climate and Communities

5 January, 2017

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and see what we're most excited about for 2017!

From providing legal aid for communities to defend their environment, to revitalizing Indigenous laws, and holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in climate change – this year the West Coast team will continue working toward a better future for people and the environment in Canada.

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and program staff, and see what we're most excited about in our work for 2017.

Public review on federal environmental assessment wraps up in BC

Monday, December 12, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EA review shows Canadians want more robust, fairer decision-making processes

VANCOUVER, BC, Coast Salish Territories – An Expert Panel appointed by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna to review Canada’s environmental assessment (EA) processes is in Vancouver this week, seeking input from the public and Indigenous peoples about how best to reform federal processes for making decisions that affect the environment.

Your guide to Canada’s environmental law reviews

10 November, 2016

In June 2016, the government announced a sweeping review of federal environmental laws – including Canada's environmental assessment (EA) law and processes, the Fisheries Act, Navigation Protection Act, and National Energy Board. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help shape Canada’s environmental laws and to contribute to decisions that affect land, air, water and the climate.

We’ve put together a set of online resources to help you understand these important federal reviews, including key information about timelines, law reform priorities and ways you can get involved.

In June 2016, the government announced a sweeping review of federal environmental laws – including Canada's environmental assessment (EA) law and processes, the Fisheries Act, Navigation Protection Act, and National Energy Board. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help shape Canada’s environmental laws and to contribute to decisions that affect land, air, water and the climate.

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