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However, after 20 years of existence, this legislation was repealed and replaced by CEAA 2012.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 was filed in early 2017, and the federal government published a Discussion Paper in June 2017 to outline possible legislative reforms.

In February 2018, the federal government introduced Bill C-69, which, if enacted, would repeal CEAA 2012 and replace it with the proposed Impact Assessment Act. This Bill has received Second Reading, and was the subject of recent public hearings held by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. The Bill has now been reported back to the House of Commons and is awaiting Third Reading debate, and then it goes to the Senate for consideration.

As the Bill continues through the Parliamentary process, the federal government is also consulting on proposed regulations to implement the new legislation, which is expected to be proclaimed in force in 2019.

This collection contains CELA’s various briefs, articles and media releases on CEAA reform since 2010. Pre-2010 materials about the CEAA may be found in CELA’s publications list or via a site search.

Title:Ensuring a Robust Review of Federal Environment Assessment

CELA’s Submissions on the Proposed Terms of Reference for the Expert Panel

Resource Type:Letter, Response to Consultation
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:9
Date authored:July 19, 2016
Author/s:Richard D. Lindgren
Author Organization:Canadian Environmental Law Association
Title:Federal Environmental Law Priorities: Letter to Opposition Party Leaders
Resource Type:Letter
Content:Download PDF file
Date authored:November 12, 2015
Publication number:1038
Author/s:Theresa McClenaghan
Author Organization:CELA
Title:Feedback Comments from CELA: Letter to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Re Draft REGDOC-2.9.1, Environmental Protection: Environmental Assessments
Resource Type:Letter, Response to Consultation
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:2
Date authored:September 11, 2014
Author/s:Theresa McClenaghan and Rizwan Khan
Author Organization:Canadian Environmental Law Association
Title:Regulations Establishing Conditions for Making Regulations under Subsection 36(5.2) of the Fisheries Act
Resource Type:Letter, Response to Consultation
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:8
Date authored:March 17, 2014
Publication number:979
Author/s:Theresa McClenaghan, Richard Lindgren
Author Organization:Canadian Environmental Law Association
Title:Letter re: Proposed Amendments to the Regulations Designating Physical Activities Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:6
Date authored:May 13, 2013
Publication number:900
Author/s:Richard Lindgren
Author Organization:CELA
Title:Letter to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency re: Amendments to the Projects List Regulations Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012
Resource Type:Letter
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:6
Date authored:August 23, 2012
Publication number:863
Author/s:Richard Lindgen
Author Organization:CELA
Title:Bill C-38, Federal Budget Bill 2012: Implications for Federal Environmental Law
Resource Type:Presentation
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:32
Date authored:June 2012
Publication number:913
Author/s:Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Counsel
Author Organization:Canadian Environmental Law Association
Title:Speaking Notes: NDP Public Hearing on Bill C-38 - federal budget bill

Speaking Notes for public hearing convened by federal NDP at Northern District Library, Toronto.

Resource Type:Presentation
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:5
Date authored:May 22, 2012
Publication number:934
Author/s:Kathleen Cooper
Author Organization:Canadian Environmental Law Association

Apr 17 2012

Federal Announcements Confirm Government's Intent to Weaken Canada's Environmental Laws

Mar 29 2012

Federal Budget Signals Attack on Canada's Environmental Laws
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