The expert panel formed by the Government of Canada to review federal environmental assessment processes (“Expert Panel”) recently announced its schedule and process for engaging industry stakeholders and Indigenous people. Public hearings begin this month.
In August 2016, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (“Minister”) formed the four-member Expert Panel to follow through on the Liberal government’s 2015 commitment to review and restore public confidence in federal environmental and regulatory processes. This commitment was outlined in the ministerial mandate letter issued by Prime Minister Trudeau, which directed Minister McKenna to "immediately review Canada's environmental assessment processes to regain public trust and help get resources to market and introduce a new and fair processes that will:
- Restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction, while working with provinces and territories to avoid duplication;
- Ensure decisions are based on science, facts and evidence and serve the public's interest;
- Provide ways for Canadians to express their views and opportunities for experts to meaningfully participate, and
- Require project advocates to choose the best technologies available to reduce environmental impacts."
Public engagement events scheduled at locations across Canada will begin in September and continue until mid-December 2016. While all sessions are open to all Canadians, the Expert Panel is targeting the participation of industry and Indigenous groups at particular events. Advance registration is mandatory as space will be limited. Opportunities to participate will be provided on a first come, first served basis.
Stakeholder organizations are invited to make formal presentations to the Expert Panel directly. Each presenter will be allocated a 10-minute timeslot. Presenters are asked to limit their presentations to five minutes to allow time for questions. Presenters are also encouraged to provide the Expert Panel with a written submission in advance of their presentation. View schedule and register here.
The Expert Panel is targeting the participation of Indigenous organizations, groups, communities and individuals through two processes:
Indigenous Open Dialogue Sessions
These will involve a combination of panel presentations and small group discussions. Participants will be invited to share their perspectives with panel members and other registered participants in an interactive format. View schedule and register here.
Indigenous Presentations to the Panel
These will be a formal opportunity for Indigenous participants to make 10-minute presentations to the panel. Presenters are encouraged to provide a written submission to accompany their presentation. Presenters may be permitted to participate remotely with sufficient advance notice. View schedule and register here.