Environmental assessments

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We will make environmental assessments credible again.

Resource-based projects can create jobs and spur investment, but success depends on regaining public trust.

Canadians must be able to trust that government will engage in appropriate regulatory oversight, including credible environmental assessments, and that it will respect the rights of those most affected, such as Indigenous communities. While governments grant permits for resource development, only communities can grant permission.

We will immediately review Canada’s environmental assessment processes and introduce new, fair processes that will:

  • restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction, while also working with provinces and territories to avoid duplication;
  • ensure that decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public’s interest;
  • provide ways for Canadians to express their views and opportunities for experts to meaningfully participate; and
  • require project advocates to choose the best technologies available to reduce environmental impacts.

We will modernize the National Energy Board, ensuring that its composition reflects regional views and has sufficient expertise in fields like environmental science, community development, and Indigenous traditional knowledge.

We will end the practice of having federal Ministers interfere in the environmental assessment process.

We will also ensure that environmental assessments include an analysis of upstream impacts and greenhouse gas emissions resulting from projects
under review.

We will undertake, in full partnership and consultation with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation, a full review of laws, policies, and operational practices. This will ensure that on project reviews and assessments, the Crown is fully executing its consultation, accommodation, and consent obligations, in accordance with its constitutional and international human rights obligations, including Aboriginal and Treaty rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We recognize the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the land, and will respect legal traditions and perspectives on environmental stewardship.

Stephen Harper’s changes to the Fisheries Act, and his elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, have weakened environmental protections. We will review these changes, restore lost protections, and incorporate more modern safeguards.

We will also do more to protect Canada’s endangered species. We will respond more quickly to the advice and requests of scientists, and will complete robust species-at-risk recovery plans.

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