Environmental Assessment & the Canadian Constitution: Substitution and Equivalency

Environmental Assessment & the Canadian Constitution: Substitution and Equivalency

11/28/2014

The ultimate goal of this publication is to make a determination as to constitutionality of the substitution and equivalency approach endorsed by Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, S.C. 2012, c. 19, s. 52 (CEAA 2012) and, if appropriate, create a case for a constitutional challenge of this aspect of CEAA 2012. The publication also delineates alternative approaches to dealing with the jurisdictional overlap created by Canada’s Constitution in the area of environmental assessment. This project involved the collection and analysis of academic literature, legal literature and jurisprudence pertaining to environmental assessment and the Canadian Constitution.

Given the structure of Canada’s constitution, there is significant jurisdictional overlap in regulating environmental matters. This can lead to environmental assessment of a single undertaking at both a provincial and federal level. In response to this situation, the federal government has endorsed the mechanisms of substitution and equivalency in the new CEAA 2012. This project considers the constitutionality of the substitution and equivalency approach adopted in CEAA 2012.

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