Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
In 1992, the Government of Canada enacted the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), which established environmental assessment (EA) processes intended to identify, evaluate and mitigate adverse environmental effects that may be caused by projects under federal jurisdiction.
However, after 20 years of existence, this legislation was repealed and replaced by CEAA 2012. This new law, which is still in force, applies to a much smaller set of projects, greatly expands Ministerial discretion, and considerably narrows the nature and scope of federal EA requirements.
In response to ongoing public concerns about CEAA 2012, the Government of Canada established an advisory Expert Panel in 2016 to consult Canadians on how to make federal EA processes more robust, evidence-based, participatory, and credible. The Panel's report is scheduled to be filed by March 31, 2017, and further legislative changes are anticipated in due course.