Impact Assessment

Summary of Key Issues with the Draft Agreement to Conduct a Regional Assessment in the Ring of Fire Area and Recommendations
In 2021, the Government of Canada agreed to undertake a Regional Assessment (RA) of the Ring of Fire, an area of world‐class mineral potential located within the globally important Hudson Bay Lowland, under the federal Impact Assessment Act (IAA) at the request of WCS Canada and others. The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC), in negotiation with the province of Ontario, developed a draft Agreement setting out the scope and form of the RA. As our comments below make clear, the draft Agreement fails to capitalize on the opportunity to undertake proactive planning for an area that is recognized internationally as a priority region for action on the global climate and biodiversity crises, and is the homeland of First Nations who are the only population living in the region. WCS Canada scientists have been actively working to understand the critical ecosystems and the species and services they support as well as approaches to conserving them, including with First Nation communities, for the past 15 years. We have applied our scientific knowledge of the area to inform our assessment and recommendations on the draft Agreement for the RA.
WCS Canada Comments_Draft Agreement to Conduct a Regional Assessment in the Ring of Fire (Reference Number: 80468)_January 2022
WCS Canada submits its comments to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) regarding the draft Agreement for a Regional Assessment of the Ring of Fire Area. We make a number of recommendations around the need to address cumulative effects and governance. We identify key issues related to: 1) revising the goal to and objectives to address cumulative effects; 2) increasing the scope of the assessment to a “Regional Study Area” in which all human activities and climate change can be assessed through to the next 100 years; 3) including the current road proposals to the Ring of Fire; 4) expanding the assessment priorities to include peatlands and impacts to carbon storage and sequestration and a number of other ecological and social priorities; and, 5) specific recommendations on the composition and mandate of the Committee, and Advisory Groups, that will be conducting the Regional Assessment. We raise concerns about the process with First Nations and the lack of representation and inclusion to date.
WCS Canada Comments_Draft Project List Regulation Under The Environmental Act (ERO 019-4219_20220125)_ January 2022
WCS Canada submits comments to the Environmental Assessment Modernization Project Team of Ontario's Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. We recommend a complete overhaul of the proposed project list regulation in an expert-driven process based on four major concerns: 1) The project list is insufficiently inclusive of those most likely to have significant impacts; 2) There is no evidentiary basis for “thresholds” for inclusion on the project list; 3) The approach perpetuates lack of attention to cumulative effects in the EAA; and 4) There is no clear process that enables Ontarians to request designation of non-listed projects that warrant a Comprehensive EA.
Is Canada's Impact Assessment Act Working
The Impact Assessment Act (IAA) came into force in August 2019, replacing the widely criticized Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. Is the IAA meeting the government’s commitment to new legislation that would “restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction”? In this report, implementation of the IAA is compared to 12 “essential elements of next generation environmental assessment” established by leading Canadian experts and thought leaders. Findings are based on a detailed analysis that compares IAA implementation against key indicators under each of these 12 elements. The analysis includes the projects that have been designated for assessment under the IAA through the end of 2020, as well as the regulations, policies and guidance developed to date to support the IAA. The report also analyzes the several regional and strategic assessments initiated under the IAA.
La Loi sur l’évaluation d’impact du Canada fonctionne-t-elle
Largement critiquée, la Loi canadienne sur l’évaluation environnementale (2012) a été remplacée en août 2019 par La Loi sur l’évaluation d’impact (LÉI). La LÉI respecte-t-elle l’engagement du gouvernement promettant la création d’une nouvelle loi qui « rétablirait une surveillance robuste et des évaluations environnementales approfondies des domaines de compétence fédérale » ?1 Dans ce rapport, la mise en œuvre de la LÉI est comparée à douze « éléments essentiels de la prochaine génération de l’évaluation environnementale » établis par des experts et des leaders d’opinion canadiens de premier plan.2 Les conclusions sont fondées sur une analyse détaillée comparant la mise en œuvre de la LÉI aux indicateurs clés de chacun de ces douze éléments. L’analyse comprend les projets qui ont été désignés pour évaluation dans le cadre de la LÉI jusqu’à la fin 2020, ainsi que les règlements, les politiques et les orientations élaborés à ce jour pour soutenir la LÉI. Le présent rapport analyse également les différentes évaluations régionales et stratégiques lancées dans le cadre de la LÉI.
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