Evidence of meeting #114 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site.) The winning word was see.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Olivier Champagne  Legislative Clerk, House of Commons
Jean-Sébastien Rochon  Counsel, Department of Justice
Christine Loth-Bown  Vice-President, Policy Development Sector, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Brent Parker  Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Division, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Jeff Labonté  Assistant Deputy Minister, Major Projects Management Office, Department of Natural Resources
Terence Hubbard  Director General, Petroleum Resources Branch, Department of Natural Resources

1:30 p.m.

Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Division, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Brent Parker

If I understand your question, it's whether there is discretion for the federal authority to decide.

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

If the public can comment.

1:30 p.m.

Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Division, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Brent Parker

The amendment would actually change that. Currently, there is discretion, but the amendment would obligate them to invite public comment, and there would be a new time period associated with that.

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

You're saying that the notice is inviting.

1:30 p.m.

Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Division, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Brent Parker

Yes. They must post that notice, and that invites the public to provide comments.

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

All those in favour of the amendment?

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

I would like a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment agreed to: yeas 9 ; nays 0 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

That means that PV-70 is not possible because of a line conflict. We move on to amendment LIB-49.

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

This is the second motion that looks at dealing with federal lands and increasing the consistency in the wording through the bills. The intent of this one is to provide certainty through a shared process across government for assessing projects or types of projects on federal land and outside Canada.

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Shall the amendment carry?

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

I would like a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment agreed to: yeas 6 ; nays 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

We are on amendment NDP-51.

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

This is a very important one brought forward by a number of the lawyers who testified, including Professor Meinhard Doelle from Halifax.

After line 27 on page 50 we would add 91.1 just before the heading “Regional Assessments and Strategic Assessments”. That would impose a clear responsibility on federal authorities to carry out the regulatory duties, powers, or functions with respect to the approved projects to ensure effective implementation of the follow-up programs. It would ensure transparency of the results provided through a central federal registry.

It would require the federal authorities to actually perform their duties and functions. We dealt with this before on enforcement. That was why I raised the question about what exactly the impact assessment agency would do. You do an environmental impact assessment and then you need to go back to the regulatory authorities who are charged in their mandate legislation to actually give licences or give approvals and so forth. This would require that they take into consideration the recommendations and the directions under the impact assessment and actually deliver the responsibilities and then make it known on the central registry that they have taken those actions.

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Shall the amendment carry?

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

I would like a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 8; yeas 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

On amendment PV-71, Ms. May.

By the way, this vote will apply to PV-72.1 and PV-76, which is a substantial one.

May 22nd, 2018 / 1:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

It amends to ensure that under this proposed section, decisions that are made reflect back on “conditions and circumstances” established “by regulations made under section 112.1”, which currently doesn't exist in the bill. The conditions and regulations in proposed new section 112.1 are in my amendment PV-76.

I don't know whether you want me to describe PV-76 at this point or not, but it is to backfill for important rules of procedural fairness; to ensure that the minister makes regulations for the rules of practice and procedure for review panel hearings and that those be based on rules of procedural fairness and natural justice and emphasize flexibility and informality.

We've heard that some people want to make sure that this is not too court-like, but we've also heard from many witnesses that the great black hole as to what the content of public participation will be is a significant problem with this act.

I take the point and I'm grateful for the earlier Liberal amendment that modifies public participation rights earlier in the act and says that they must be meaningful, but this is basically a definition of meaningful. This is what any administrative lawyer would say is the bare minimum of meaningful engagement of public participation rights.

As well, it is setting out in regulation the detailed criteria and process to be followed to determine which designated project contributes to sustainability, and the conditions and circumstances in which regional assessments or strategic assessments must be conducted. It refers to the classes of projects on federal lands or outside of Canada in respect of which the agency would conduct a streamlined assessment based on the purposes of the act.

PV-76 imports to the act a substantive, meaningful improvement by injecting a new section 112.1 on page 59, as you can see if you're going back and forth in the act to see where it would come. It would come as the minister is making regulations. Right now, there are powers that the minister can exercise later for making regulations. That's very typical in an act, and it touches on issues of public participation, particularly in terms of participant funding programs, but it doesn't set out that the minister will by regulation set out the rules of practice and procedure for the impact assessment process.

I think this is an extremely valuable amendment and one I hope will carry. Again, however, if you carry PV-71 without amendment PV-76, you have a bill that doesn't make sense, because there is no proposed section 112.1.

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

They are all pulled together, so the vote will apply to all of them, because you're right: if you have one without the other, it doesn't make sense. Amendment PV-76 is a substantial amendment. The consequential ones are PV-71 and PV-72.1.

1:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Thank you, Madam Chair. That's the best way to explain it. Amendment PV-76 is the substantial one, and the earlier ones that fall in order are those that are consequential. As it happens, however, they fall earlier in the act, although later in any common-sense analysis.

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Amendment PV-76 I think comes after my amendment NDP-56.

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

It does.

It's okay. Yours are different ones. We're fine.

(Amendment negatived: nays 8; yeas 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

That applied to PV-71, PV-72.1, and PV-76.

Now we're moving on to PV-72.

1:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

I'm so sad from that last vote because, honest to goodness, I can't understand why anyone would call public participation meaningful and be unwilling to define what it means.

But I'll move to PV-72. This amendment is changing text on page 51 at line 26 to insert a new proposed section 93.1 so that when we refer to “regional assessments”—and this is from West Coast Environmental Law's brief—it adds a definition of “regional assessment” to specify the assessments have the effect of including historical, existing, and future activities as well as looking at alternative development and different scenarios for any region. When looking at a regional assessment, requirements for regional assessments identify ecological limits and include cumulative effects.

My amendment, which would insert itself at line 26 on page 51 is, in fact, a new proposed section, which would be 93.1, so that, when we refer to “regional assessments” in section 92, we have some guidance for a comprehensive understanding of what “regional assessments” mean.

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

I see where it fits.

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

I would like a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 8; yeas 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])