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Short timelines for environmental assessments not working

EHSQ Content Team

An expert panel says the "one size fits all" approach to environmental assessments and limiting the number of people who can talk at hearings into big projects isn't working.

The new report by the expert panel reviewing federal environmental assessment processes recommends that time limits to assess major projects should reflect the specific circumstances of each project instead of being forced to meet a set time frame.

The four-person panel was set up by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna last August. Its mandate was to look at why environmental assessments in Canada are not working and to suggest changes.


The chair of the panel, Johanne Gélinas, said the panel found few people are stridently against the development of projects, but they want more respect and involvement.

"No one is against economic development, they just want to see things done differently," Gélinas told the International Association of Impact Assessment conference in Montreal on Wednesday. 

"They are looking for consideration, they want to be respected, they want to have time to do things properly."

The current law, passed by the former Conservative government in 2012, requires environmental assessments of everything from public highways to pipelines that occur on federal lands to be completed within one or two years, depending on the project's size and complexity.

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April 05, 2017 @ 03:06 PM EDT

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