What would a good law look like? A Model Environmental and Sustainability Assessment Law may hold the answer.

What would a good law look like? A Model Environmental and Sustainability Assessment Law may hold the answer.

Federal omnibus budget bills passed in 2012 brought dramatic changes to environmental regulation, particularly in the area of environmental assessments. Many of us are wondering what this means for environmental protection in Canada. This remains to be seen, and leaves us with another question: What would a good law – a law that incorporates environmentally sound principles – look like?

A Model Environmental and Sustainability Assessment Law, recently released by the Environmental Law Centre (ELC), strives to answer that question.

The Model Law:

  • incorporates environmentally sound principles, enabling sustainable decision-making to become part of Canada’s landscape;
  • embraces sustainability as its core objective;
  • provides strong rights for public participation;
  • provides fair, predictable and accessible assessment procedures; and
  • provides a legal framework for strategic and regional assessment.

It is the ELC’s goal that the Model Law will be used by both provincial and federal governments to improve Canada’s environmental assessment processes.

You can read the annotated version, which provides background discussion and commentary at http://www.elc.ab.ca/Content_Files/Files/AnnotatedEAModelLawsDGLFinalJan2013.pdf. The version without annotations is available at http://www.elc.ab.ca/Content_Files/Files/EAModelLawsDGLFINAL.pdf.

The ELC thanks its funders – the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation and the Alberta Law Foundation – for supporting this project.

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