MRO Magazine

MAC backs review of federal environmental assessment processes

August 21, 2016 | By MRO Magazine

Ottawa – The Government of Canada announced the members of the Review of the Environmental Assessment Processes Expert Panel and published the panel’s final Terms of Reference. With these actions, the review can begin.

“We are impressed by the depth and breadth of expertise amongst the individuals appointed to the expert panel. Several individuals also have good knowledge of the mining industry, which is appropriate given that the mining sector currently makes up the largest number of environmental assessments conducted by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency,” stated Pierre Gratton, President and CEO, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC).

On June 20, 2016, the federal government released for public consultation the draft Terms of Reference for the Expert Panel.

“It’s clear that the government considered the comments submitted and we are encouraged to see that the final Terms of Reference reflect the improvements suggested by MAC and others. We are supportive of the government’s review and we believe that the improvements announced today will help ensure it is conducted in a meaningful way,” stated Gratton.


Some of the changes that address MAC’s suggestions include:

  • Directing the panel to consult the provinces and territories, and recognizing the importance of coordination between federal processes and processes of other orders of government.
  • Clarifying the broad scope of the panel’s review.
  • Recognizing the importance of Indigenous knowledge.
  • Enhancing the potential contribution of the Multi-Interest Advisory Committee by enabling it to recommend issues for discussion.

“Mining contributed $57 billion to the Canadian economy in 2014, accounted for almost 20% of Canada’s exports and employed 375,000 workers across the country. Mining is also proportionally the largest private sector employer of Indigenous Canadians and one of the largest customers of Indigenous-owned businesses. An effective regulatory process that the public has confidence in, and that improves the competitiveness of the mining industry and attracts new investment is thus critical to Canada’s future,” stated Gratton.

The legislative reforms of 2012 did not result in diminished federal oversight of mining projects. Mining projects are subject to several federal laws, including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act and Navigation Protection Act. Today, mining projects represent the majority of federal environmental assessments and Section 35 authorizations under the Fisheries Act.

MAC is also supportive of the government’s announced plan to establish a Multi-Interest Advisory Committee, which will provide advice to the panel throughout the review.

Given the industry’s longstanding experience with CEAA, MAC plans to be a full and active participant in the federal government’s review.

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