With an expert panel reviewing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) due to report to Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna by the end of this week, West Coast Environmental Law is calling for new legislation that includes “the strongest possible legal defence of Indigenous land rights,” iPolitics reports.
“Next-generation environmental assessment must comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and it must be based on nation-to-nation relationships,” said WCEL legal counsel Anna Johnston. “Canada has a duty to secure the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous governments, and it has to do more than just tick off consultation boxes.”
Stephen Hazell, director of conservation at Nature Canada, said the federal review must also allow for environmental assessments of federal budgets.
“If it can’t be done before any given budget, at least do it following a budget so that the results of an environmental analysis can be rolled back into subsequent budgets,” he told iPolitics energy specialist James Munson.
“It’s not enough anymore to look at whether or not the adverse effects of any given project are significant or not,” he added. “Any new assessment law should focus on assessing sustainability, rather than just narrow environmental effects.”