06 Nov Back on the omnibus with Bill C-45: Another omnibus budget bill drives more change to federal environmental law
By Brenda Heelan Powell, Staff Counsel
As you may recall, in late April 2012, the federal government introduced Bill C-38: An Act to Implement Certain Provisions of the Budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and Other Measures which received Royal Assent on June 29, 2012 and is now known as the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act, S.C. 2012, c. 19. The implementation of Bill C-38 substantively changed federal environmental law in Canada. Over ten pieces of federal environmental legislation were amended or repealed by Bill C-38. Significant changes were made to federal environmental assessment law, fisheries law, and the operation of the National Energy Board.
On October 18, 2012, the federal government introduced Bill C-45: A Second Act to Implement Certain Provisions of the Budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and Other Measures. Again, significant changes will be made to federal environmental law by an omnibus budget bill. The proposed changes include amendments to federal environmental assessment law, fisheries law and the law protecting Canada’s navigable waters. As well, Bill C-45 proposes to enact the Bridge to Strengthen Trade Act which exempts the construction of an international bridge between Windsor and Detroit from a host of environmental laws.
The Environmental Law Centre has posted a more detailed review of the changes made by Bill C-45 on its website.
Many, but not all, provisions of Bill C-38 came into force on the date of Royal Assent (i.e. June 29, 2012). Two notable exceptions are the provisions regarding CEAA 2012 which came into force on July 6, 2012 by Order-in-Council, and the provisions amending section 35 of the Fisheries Act are being implemented in a two-step process.