Pipelines and Bill C-69
Bill C-69, The Modernization of the National Energy Board and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, is draft federal legislation that seeks to radically overhaul how major development projects are assessed and regulated in Canada. The Bill seeks to overhaul the federal regulatory process by replacing both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and the lifecycle regulator National Energy Board (NEB) with the newly-proposed Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) and the Canadian Energy Regulatory (CER). In addition, the Bill also seeks to make consequential amendments to other acts, most notably The Navigation Protection Act and The Fisheries Act.
In terms of scope, Bill C-69 will now consider a range of other factors beyond the bio-physical environment, including socio-political concerns, public health, economic, gender, etc. The Bill also seeks to fuse the newly-proposed Impact Assessment Agency of Canada with relevant lifecycle regulators; concentrate even more decision-making power with the Crown; remove the NEB’s Standing Test requiring stakeholders prove direct connection to a project; and allow the Federal Government to stop the clock in the assessment process when it is politically expedient to do so.
The SCC believes that robust environmental protections and a thriving investment climate can go hand in hand. We are seeking an assessment and permit approval process that is timely, predictable, promotes investor confidence, and contributes to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. However, the Bill as it is written contains significant deficiencies and offers no real improvement upon CEAA 2012. In fact, Bill C-69’s deficiencies are so numerous and so great that it requires a major rewrite rather than small amendments or incremental changes.
The SCC understands that Saskatchewan resources are a vital part of the regional and national economy. Both the Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Canada need to support resource infrastructure projects so that Saskatchewan producers can receive full value for their goods. The SCC is a vocal supporter of a number of high-profile pipeline projects, most notably the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project, the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Program, and TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline. Long-term economic prosperity depends on Canada getting its resources to market in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Over the past year, the SCC through its long-standing Environment Committee has carefully studied the Bill and developed a host of policy recommendations to remedy the Bill’s shortcomings. To read them in full, click here.