An Act to amend the Impact Assessment Act


Heather McPherson  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Outside the Order of Precedence (a private member's bill that hasn't yet won the draw that determines which private member's bills can be debated), as of Dec. 1, 2021

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-205.


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Impact Assessment Act in order to specify that a regulation must not set out a minimum coal production capacity in respect of a new coal mine in relation to which a physical activity is designated.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

February 1st, 2024 / 3:40 p.m.
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Michelle Ferreri Conservative Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

I guess my question is this: Why wouldn't we want it in Bill C-205, if it's already there?

February 1st, 2024 / 3:40 p.m.
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Michelle Ferreri Conservative Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

This is where I miss my colleague, Ms. Lewis, who is a lawyer and so savvy in these things.

Through you, Chair, if I understand you correctly, what you're saying is that because it's covered in Bill C-233, you don't need it in Bill C-205.

Court Challenges Program ActPrivate Members' Business

May 3rd, 2023 / 6:05 p.m.
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Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, as always, it is a delight to stand in this place and represent the great people of Edmonton Strathcona.

Today we are talking about Bill C-316, an act to amend the Department of Canadian Heritage Act regarding the court challenges program. Basically what this bill would do is amend the Heritage Act to require that the Minister of Canadian Heritage maintain the court challenges program, making sure that this is now in legislation, so that if any future government wanted to cut this program, it would have to do it through legislation. Of course, it would not be a perfect protection for this program, but it would be a good start. It really does make me think about all of the different policies I would like to see protected that have been put in place by various governments. I am going to come back to that as we go forward.

Some people in the House today have said that this is bad legislation and is not something that should be in place, and they have expressed what I would consider some pretty faux outrage about this particular bill. I want to highlight that there are a number of people who believe in the court challenges program, very notable groups that actually think this court challenges program needs to be put into legislation and also needs to be protected and expanded.

The New Democratic Party has been calling for an expansion of this. There is very little money that is allocated to this. It is a very small fraction, a drop in the bucket, compared to what we spend on the justice department. We would like to see this expanded. We are not alone. The people who would also like to see this program expanded are people like Cindy Blackstock and other advocates within the indigenous communities. Legal organizations, including the Women's Legal Education & Action Fund, or LEAF, would love to see this program expanded and put into legislation so that it is protected. Even more notably, the Canadian Bar Association supports the court challenges program.

There are people around this country who are leaders on this and who have asked for this program to be maintained and expanded. It is something that all parliamentarians need to consider. Very few of us are experts in the fields in which we produce legislation, so we take advice from experts. I would say, when we are looking at the justice system, that the Canadian Bar Association, Cindy Blackstock and others would be excellent examples of experts we should be listening to.

There are several reasons why this program is so important, but one of the ones that mean the most to me is that it levels the playing field. It allows Canadian citizens to have access to justice. Often, those Canadian citizens who are least likely to be able access justice are marginalized Canadians. They are women, indigenous people and members of the LGBTQ2+ community. For the people who are often disproportionately impacted by the justice system in a negative way, this helps level the playing field.

I strongly support the program. We could work on making the bill stronger. Certainly, I would like to see the government commit to better funding. We have been calling for stronger funding for this program for some time, so we would like to see that.

I want to talk a little tonight about some of the other things that I think we should be putting into legislation. We are all lawmakers in this place. As I was preparing the notes for my speech this evening, I was thinking about how important it is that we put things into legislation to protect them, protect them from potential future governments that do not share the values of ensuring that there is a level playing field within the justice system for Canadians.

The first thing that came to my mind is my Bill, C-205, which is actually about the Impact Assessment Act. I was very happy, because Minister Wilkinson—

Impact Assessment ActRoutine Proceedings

December 1st, 2021 / 3:20 p.m.
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Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-205, An Act to amend the Impact Assessment Act.

Mr. Speaker, it is my great honour to stand today to table my bill, an act to amend the Impact Assessment Act. I want to thank the member for Edmonton Griesbach, my colleague in the NDP Alberta caucus, for agreeing to second this bill. I also want to thank the members for Victoria and South Okanagan—West Kootenay for assisting and supporting me with this legislation. This bill is vital and timely and I look forward to the support of all parliamentarians to pass this legislation.

This bill is about protecting our cherished Rocky Mountains and fundamental protections of our water, our wild spaces and our endangered species. This bill recognizes the incredible work that indigenous leaders like Latasha Calf Robe and the Niitsítapi Water Protectors have done to defend our land. This bill is about environmental protection, activists like Kevin Van Tighem, Lorne Fitch and so many others who have fought tirelessly against corporate interests that will destroy our environment for money.

Coal is not our future. When this bill becomes law, all proposed coal mines will trigger federal environmental impact assessments, regardless of size. This is vital. While I am pleased that the former minister of environment and climate change adopted this policy, we need this embedded into law so that no future government can put the beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountains and eastern slopes at risk ever again.

I am going to finish with the words of my favourite Alberta artist, Corb Lund:

This is my prairie, this is my home
I'll make my stand here and I'll die alone.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)