May 29, 2018
Partner Michael Fortier has provided insight to Law Times regarding the proposed reforms to the Impact Assessment Act.
The article addresses the proposed changes regarding the federal environmental assessment regime; particularly regarding how early assessments of projects could help eliminate future issues among affected communities and the environment—along with saving time and money for the owners of such projects. The aim is to promote projects that are in the public interest.
Michael told Law Times the changes to the bill provided an opportunity for a fresh start for the federal environmental assessment process, opposed to just amendments being made to the existing legislation.
“This has the potential to fundamentally change how project development happens at the federal level, certainly for large projects that are central to Canada’s economy — especially the resource economy,” he said.
Michael also told Law Times he likes that the proposed “public interest test offers more clarity to decision making for his clients, as it makes it clear that a decision will be a political one that weighs a number of factors. The current system of looking at adverse effects can create misunderstandings if projects do not get approval.”
“The issue will be how it’s implemented and managed,” he said.
“If not managed properly, [the process] could result in project reviews going on for literally decades and not coming to an answer. My own view is that’s not helpful to anybody.”
You can read more about Torys’ Environmental Practice by heading to its practice page.