Tuesday, February 21, 2012

WCEL: Environmental Assessment Law for a Healthy, Secure and Sustainable Canada

 A Checklist for Strong Environmental Laws February 2012 

Canadians want strong environmental laws, and they deserve an environmental assessment process that delivers on core Canadian values related to the environment, democracy, and responsible development. This paper outlines our blueprint of what strong environmental assessment legislation must include, at a minimum, to protect those values and ensure wise decisions are made about proposed development through an effective, efficient, inclusive and robust decision making process. Strong environmental assessment (EA) laws should be based on and measured against the following key principles (Full PDF HERE):

  1. Adopt sustainability as the core objective. EA legislation should be directed, at its core, to achieving specific and measurable sustainability goals and leaving a positive environmental and socio-economic legacy.
  2. Strengthen public participation. An effective and inclusive EA should have early and ongoing processes to meaningfully engage the public in assessments of proposed projects or policies, including demonstrated participation opportunities from the initial identification of the proposal through to monitoring, full transparency and sharing of information not only by government but also by proponents. Meaningful engagement with the public also requires that funding is provided through an independent body for multi-faceted assistance to participants and on an early and ongoing basis.
  3. Meaningfully involve Aboriginal governments as decision makers. An EA process should respect and accommodate Aboriginal and Treaty rights, including Aboriginal title, with Aboriginal rights-holders having a meaningful role in government-to-government decision making on resource development in their territories and all aspects of environmental planning and assessment.

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