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Legislation

Feds’ sweeping, new environmental assessment bill keeps power in ministers’ hands, say observers

By Peter Mazereeuw      

The bill to overhaul Canada’s approval process for resource projects leaves plenty of wiggle-room for the environment minister to make case-by-case decisions.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna's office says her re-write of the laws governing environmental assessments for natural resource projects keeps elected officials accountable for the process. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade
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The government’s new Impact Assessment Act includes hundreds of pages detailing changes to the environmental assessment process in Canada, but keeps ultimate power over approving natural resource projects in the hands of the federal environment minister and her cabinet colleagues. The broad discretion of the environment minister under the bill has drawn criticism from the government’s political opposition and words of caution from legal researchers tracking the legislation. “The bill is riddled with powers for the minister to

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