Statement from Keith Brooks, Programs Director, Environmental Defence
Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat – We are disappointed that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled the Impact Assessment Act is unconstitutional in part. The federal government must move swiftly to restore the constitutional legality of the Act.
Environmental issues such as climate change, species protection and biodiversity are clearly matters of national concern. Today’s decision from the Supreme Court, while ruling that parts of the Impact Assessment Act are unconstitutional, still affirms that the federal government does have jurisdiction to review projects to ensure that environmental impacts are avoided or mitigated. This is good news.
Federal oversight is crucial, given that environmental issues are not contained within provincial borders. And it’s especially crucial when provinces aren’t taking environmental responsibility seriously or, as the case may be, are outright hostile towards environmental protection.
With respect to the proposed Highway 413 through the Greenbelt, the project was designated only after the Impact Assessment Agency and the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change concluded that there were matters of federal concern at stake – namely federally-protected species at risk, and a federal duty to consult First Nations. It is our expectation that the process for review of Highway 413 will not be altered as a result of today’s decision.
We note, too, that this is an advisory ruling. The Impact Assessment Act remains in force.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, email@example.com