Audit at a Glance—Implementation of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012
(Chapter 4—Fall 2014 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
In another audit, we examined whether the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the National Energy Board, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission are taking steps to implement the new 2012 Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
Environmental assessment is an important tool to inform decision makers of the anticipated environmental effects of projects, and to identify measures to prevent or deal with these effects.
We noted two areas of concern where achieving the objectives of the Act are at risk. The first is that the rationale to identify projects for environmental assessment is unclear. I am concerned that some significant projects may not be assessed, and that decision makers may not receive the information they need to address environmental impacts.
Our second concern relates to public participation. An objective of the new Act was to increase Aboriginal engagement. Many groups, including Aboriginal peoples, are concerned that they do not have the capacity to participate meaningfully. This reduces the contribution these groups can make and may diminish public confidence in environmental assessments.