In recent months, there have been several interesting environmental law decisions issued by the Federal Court of Canada. In both Greenpeace Canada v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 FC 463 (CanLII) and Council of the Innu of Ekuanitshit v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 FCA 189 (CanLII), the Court provides guidance on the federal environmental assessment regime.
The Council of the Innu of Ekuanitshit decision suggests that the federal Cabinet decision must provide reasons for its determination that significant adverse environmental effects are “justified in the circumstances.” Typically, such reasons are not provided. In most cases, the federal Cabinet does not provide these reasons.
In Greenpeace Canada v Canada (Attorney General), the Court drew a clear distinction between the environmental assessment process and subsequent regulatory decision-making, and determined that the environmental assessment process must provide the necessary factual basis upon which to base the regulatory decisions to follow.
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