Put "Impact" in the 
Impact Assessment Act

Now's Canada's chance to protect future generations with strong laws for reviewing pipelines, dams and mines


Make your call to Minister McKenna today

Right now in Ottawa the environment committee is making critical, lasting decisions about how the federal government will review pipelines, mines, dams and other projects that impact the environment.

The Impact Assessment Act introduced as part of Bill C-69 – is meant to restore public trust in the environmental review process. But, it doesn't go far enough to protect the lands, waters and air that Canadians cherish.

Let's tell Minister McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, that we need an Impact Assessment Act that goes the distance.

Here are some talking points for your call.

Introduce yourself as a voter who wants an Impact Assessment Act that will go further to protect the environment and our grandchildren. 

Tell Minister McKenna:

  • All potentially harmful development projects must go through an impact assessment, not just the worst-of-the-worst.
  • We need to achieve sustainability for the environment and for the well-being of all Canadians. 
  • The new law must uphold the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • The government shouldn't be able to forego environmental assessments at its own discretion.
  • Canadians, "like me" want assurance that our feedback on projects is taken seriously and can actually influence decisions.

"Today, we are scrambling to help caribou populations recover across much of the southern boreal region in Canada because we failed to consider cumulative impacts before it was too late. We need a new approach – one that looks at the big picture."

Read the story 

Under current laws, decisions to build new roads, mines, transmission lines or dams in Ontario’s northern boreal forest will not take into account the combined impact of multiple developments on one of the world’s greatest intact forest regions. Scientists have made it clear that we need a regionally focused approach to making decisions about if and when new mines or other developments should be built in this region to ensure ecosystem and community health, but there is simply the usual piecemeal project-focused planning processes underway today.

The federal government’s proposed new Impact Assessment Act suggests using regional and strategic (issue focused) assessments to address this major planning oversight, but it provides no pathway for actually requiring development projects to conform to their findings. And whether or not such an assessment gets conducted in the first place is entirely up to the Minister. So even in areas that are globally important or where a new development could represent a “turning point” in transforming an entire region, such as in Ontario’s Far North, a much-needed regional scale assessment will not be mandatory.

Getting it Right in Ontario’s Globally Important Far North

Tell Ottawa they've got it right when the 
Impact Assessment Act:


Makes sustainability a “bottom line” condition for assessments 

Right now the federal government is making critical decisions about the fate of key laws that protect Canada's environment: the Impact Assessment Act, Canadian Energy Regulator Act, the Canadian Navigable Waters Act and the Fisheries Act. 

For the next few weeks, the government is listening to Canadians about what we want for Canada's future. You can help make sure there are strong laws in place that protect our land, air and water; keep future generations healthy; and make it possible for Canada to respond to climate change and meet Paris Agreement commitments. 

Copyright  © 2018. All rights reserved. Photos: Sang Trinh / CC BY-2 / flickr; Garth Lenz; Icons: Retinaicons, Alberto Miranda, A. Maslennikov, Z. Najdenovski, Vectors Market, Freepik

Environmental laws Canadians can be proud of

In areas further south, short-sighted piecemeal planning has already led to an uncertain future for species such as caribou that have seen intact habitat areas carved up into smaller and smaller pieces by one development decision after another. Today, we are scrambling to help caribou populations recover across much of the southern boreal region in Canada because we failed to consider cumulative impacts before it was too late.

We need a new approach – one that looks at the big picture of what it will take to preserve vulnerable species and ecosystems while providing truly sustainable opportunities for the remote indigenous communities before governments start handing out permits for individual projects. A stronger federal law that requires regional and strategic assessments in globally important situations like this can help ensure we embrace modern planning approaches for this area and can help ensure species like caribou do not find themselves with nowhere left to stand.

Assesses all potentially harmful projects

Upholds the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Ensures bigger-picture regional and strategic assessments happen and that assessment results are applied to decision making

Requires meaningful public participation

Makes all project decisions transparent and accountable

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, 344 Bloor Street West, Suite 204, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3A7 

Doesn’t permit government to forego assessments at its own discretion